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DEVELOPER: VR1   |   PUBLISHER: Microsoft Game Studios   |   RELEASE: 01/21/2002

Being one of the first titles announced for the XBox console, NightCaster had quite a bit of hype surrounding it. Everyone assumed it was going to be the first RPG for the system, then after a small delay the game finally makes it’s way onto our beloved green console. Does it deliver everything that it promised or does it wind up swimming with the fishes? Only the Z-man knows the answer for sure.

For starters the game has a very interesting concept to the game play. You move your character around just like any normal 3D action/adventure game with the left analog stick. You can use the A button to attack with your staff as well. The neat aspect comes when you move the right analog stick and the orb at the end of your staff moves around in 3D. Note you still have full control of your character while moving the orb. You can aim the orb and use it to cast spells wherever the orb is targeted.

This adds the ingenuity to the title and gives it original flavor. The combat system is very in depth using this setup and will take some time to master. The best tactic is to read every book along the adventure to better familiarize yourself with the control scheme and get used to it as it is vital to your survival.

In the visuals department NightCaster delivers another mixed XBox bag, sometimes it is absolutely gorgeous and other times downright drab. The level designs are very uninspired and remind me of a poorly developed PC game. Not to mention that the game’s path is very VERY linear. You can interact with characters along the way and even kick their ass if need be, which is fun for a total of five seconds by the way.

The music is very unsuited to this title. It doesn’t fit the gloomy ambience of this game at all. Sometimes I feel like the game is trying to be something it is not with such a different score. The voices are also poorly done, your orb has a voice and she is as Irish as they come. Grab your knickers laddies as the celts are in town agin’ aruuugah! AHEM, anyways the voice actiong could have been much better.

Overall I recommend a rent on NC as it definitely needs some tweaking before becoming an Xbox classic. Along side titles such as Halo, DOA3, and PGR this game does NOT shine. Perhaps next time we can see more of that innovative thinking that has made the greenly lit console so great thus far.

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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