previews\ Sep 18, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi - PC - Preview

Beware the things that go bump in the night.

It was supposed to be a joyful time, one of celebration as your family gathers in a gothic castle to see your sister wed the son of a powerful count. But you are a day late in arriving, and as the coach wends its way through the twisting country lanes toward the Transylvania castle, you are shaken with a sense of dread.

To put it in modern terms - no duh!

Let’s look at the checklist - count, castle, Transylvania. Yep, sounds like the setting for some vampire action.

Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi is a combination first-person shooter and survival-horror game in which players are tasked with the formidable task of finding and rescuing family members hiding in a castle that is full of danger. You do in armed only with your fists and an overabundance of bravado. Along the way you will find health packs, and an assortment of weaponry to use against the evil horde massed against you.

iGames and Idol FX are teaming up to bring gamers a solid role-playing PC experience in Nosferatu. This game is slated for release in early October. was invited for a tour of the castle and, armed with a pack full of wooden stakes and covered in crucifixes, ventured into the forbidding territory.

The game borrows from a few stock elements to provide the shock value, but also has some nice innovations for varied and challenging gameplay.

The monsters all appear with little warning. Dropping from ceilings, or popping up from different angles and coming at you with a rush, you have to on your toes each step of the way, and not fumbling with inventory items. These mobs hit hard and fast.

A nice twist is that the architecture of the castle and the location of your family members changes each time you play. And because of the variety of the mobs, you will have to use your wits to identify what each is in order to use the appropriate weapon on them.

Weaponry ranges from cane swords, fists, old-fashioned muzzle-loading muskets, crucifixes, holy water and that old standby, the wooden stake. You collect these items in arcade fashion, by walking over them. Some are contained in trunks or suitcases that you must open. Doors require keys that are found in different locations. Health packs are used immediately and come in a variety of sizes and potency.

Graphically, this game is very well done. The castle looks wonderful and the animation of solid. Lightning occasionally obliterates all visual elements, and is more a solid white light than an illuminating flash, but other effects are very well done. The game does have a few clipping problems, not nothing of consequence at this point.

There are a few anomalies in terms of setting. In the courtyard, it is dark, with lightning occasionally blinding you. Enter the East Wing and you encounter an area that looks like it housed prisoners of some sort. There is a continuous stretch of barred passage along one wall, with windows and what appears to be sunlight streaming through those windows. What makes one think that is sunlight? Well, there was a book hovering in space that supplied a hint about killing vampires and using sunlight to do so.

The sound elements are solid. From the eerie music, to creaking doors and the whisper of voices beyond the edge of sight, the audio does a superb job of supporting the notion of horror.

Control elements are rather straightforward and simple, and should not take players long to get a good feel for movement and fighting.

Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi is very well done. There are the standard jolts and the game has a nice creepy edge while varying the environments enough each outing to keep players on their toes. The story itself may not be overly refreshing, but the game play enlivens it and makes for an enjoyable journey the realms of the undead.

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