Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

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danyboy
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Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby danyboy » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:30 am

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Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder, which is the first of a series of three games, is a panoramic first person 3D adventure/horror thriller game which takes place in an imaginary "Lovecraftian" place called Wellsmoth. The story of the game was written with the help of the impressions of the great writer H.P. Lovecraft’s works. So players will encounter a dark and frightening world to interact with, and sinister characters to speak with or beware of. Thus, the game’s environment and characters were designed appropriately for the series' main objective, which is to give fear, psychological pressure and most important of all, a Lovecraftian feeling to the gamer. This Lovecraftian environment is enriched with a deep and immersing story, cinematics and music.

The Story:

As police detective Howard E. Loreid, players are tasked to solve the murder of Clark Field, a wealthy man involved in the occult. At the top of your list of suspects is Loath Nolder, a highly respected private investigator who mysteriously abandoned his last case for reasons unknown. Rumor had it that he ventured to several exotic places around the world. It remains a great mystery as to why Loath Nolder disappeared so suddenly, resurfacing five years later and resuming his investigations just as abruptly as he had left them. Why does this venerated P.I. now sit on the other side of the law?

This seemingly routine investigation takes a dramatic twist as strange and terrifying happenings begin to plague your psyche. You experience lucid horrifying dreams and are tormented by paranormal happenings. Why do days pass instead of hours when you sleep? What’s real and what’s not? As you pursue fugitive murder suspect Loath Nolder, you must face dire truths hidden deep within a haunting darkness and the recesses of your mind.

Introduction:

Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder is a horror adventure game. As police detective Howard E. Loreid you soon learn the task ahead of you is much more complicated that you first thought it would be. It will drain all of your energy and at some point will make you think you are losing your mind. Your task is to help Detective Loreid find out who killed Clark Field and learn more about the secret cult in which Mr. Field was involved. You will travel between dreams and reality, and sometimes it will be hard to know which one is reality and which one is not.

Puzzles:

The game has a nice bunch of puzzles; some of them are very easy and others quite challenging. You will find inventory based puzzles and a few mechanical ones that will challenge you well enough. There will be plenty of clues in the gameplay to help you solve the puzzles.

Also in the game, you will need to find important details in the things you will be reading. If, like me, when there is too much to read you have the tendency to skip some parts, be aware that you can’t do that in Darkness Within or you won’t get some of the clues you need to move forward. You have a pen and will need to underline passages in the documents to receive the clues. I underlined many things which I thought were important, but ended up not being necessary to proceed in the game.

There is one place in the game where if you don’t answer a question correctly, the game ends. Lucky for us, we get a second chance to do it right.

One thing that bothered me a lot is that when you pick up a document, you need to underline the important parts and sometimes it isn’t very obvious. Then after underlining every part of a document, you find out there was nothing important to notice. Note that the story of the game is built around the things you need to read, and most of it is very interesting and will help you to move forward.

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Graphics and Gameplay:

In Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder you can choose from three levels of difficulty that will allow the game to trigger clues and other goodies that will help you during the gameplay. If you choose the hardest level, you won’t get any automatic clues, and you will really be on your own figuring out what to do next. This level is very challenging. In the medium difficulty level, you will also be figuring things out on your own, but you will get some clues from time to time. In the easy mode, you will get hints as soon as you find new clues.

Darkness Within is a first person point and click adventure game. The main menu can be accessed by pressing ESCAPE. The inventory system is very complicated, and it took me a long time to get used to all the functions. But when I got used to it, it was easier, but no less complicated, to use.

You access the inventory by pressing the right mouse button. You can find the items you pick up on the far right (see image below). There is a spyglass icon which will allow you to examine something further or spin it to see every side of the item. There is also a brain icon (Howard’s mind). If you click on it, you will see a list of clues you collected during the gameplay and be able to refer back to them whenever you want. You can also use that option to think about an object or combine objects, words, and phrases from the list to get new clues. You can also replay some dialogue by selecting the one you want from the menu on the left side of the inventory menu.

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You can easily travel from one place to another in this game. When you exit a location through a door or road, a map opens and you click on a small image of the destination you want to go to.

At first the graphics were very dark. I went into the options and changed the gamma correction from default to high, and then I was able to play without any more problems. There is a little bit of pixel hunting, but not enough to drive you from the game. The developer went to great effort to make the backgrounds more than real. The scenery is beautiful and well done.

Interesting facts about the game:

- Playable without the cd

- ALT/TAB friendly

- 50 save games can be made and you can overwrite them if you want.

- 360 degree panning

- 5 Easter Eggs can be found during the gameplay

Music and Sounds:

Music was good and it fit most of the situations in the game, building the scary factor and making you relax before being put into a scary situation. The sounds were very realistic too. Sound of echos, walking, birds, etc. added a lot to the creepy factor.

Dialogue:

There isn’t a lot of talking in the game. Most of the time you read Howard’s thoughts, make a few phone calls and exchange a few words with other characters. The voices fit the characters like a glove.

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Bugs and/or Patches:

I did install the second patch, even though I didn’t experience any problems. You can find links to both patch one and patch two here:

Darkness Within: In Pursuit Of Loath Nolder Patches

Computer Specifications:

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows® 2000 / XP / Vista™
CPU: 1 GHz Intel® Pentium® processor or AMD® Athlon™ processor
RAM: 256 MB (512 MB Recommended for Windows Vista™)
Video: 128 MB DirectX® 9.0c compatible or better video card (nVidia GeForce™ 3 Ti 200)
PC CD-ROM: 4x (or PC DVD-ROM drive)
Sound: DirectX® 9.0c compatible sound card
Available Hard Disk Space: 1.1 GB
DirectX®: 9.0c
Other: Mouse, Keyboard and Sound Speakers

Recommended System Requirements:

OS: Windows® 2000 / XP / Vista™
CPU: 1.4 GHz Intel® Pentium® processor or AMD® Athlon™ processor
RAM: 512 MB (1 GB Recommended for Windows Vista™)
Video: 128 MB DirectX® 9.0c compatible or better video card (nVidia GeForce™ 6 / ATI® Radeon® 9600 Pro / comparable) and Pixel/Vertex Shader 2.0 support
PC CD-ROM: 4x (or PC DVD-ROM drive)
Sound: DirectX® 9.0c compatible sound card (Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ series sound card recommended)
Available Hard Disk Space: 1.1 GB
DirectX®: 9.0c
Other: Mouse, Keyboard and 5.1 or 4.1 Surround Sound Speakers

My computer specifications:

Windows XP SP2
RAM: 1024 MB
Sound: Onboard Sound Controller
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache
CPU: Intel Pentium 4, 3.00 GHz Processor
Disk Space : 19.3 GB
DirectX 9.0c

Closing Statement:

The main plot was quite interesting. Some ideas and possibilities could have been explored a little more in the game and some questions were left unanswered at the end of the game. Shade, light, darkness, music and sounds were well used to create a creepy atmosphere. I enjoyed playing the game late at night. The chill factor was so overwhelming that I started wondering about my own sanity! I wasn’t even hearing the sounds in my house the same way after playing the game. The game was different and interesting and had enough mystery to keep me going further. If you like a creepy atmosphere that will keep you sitting on the edge of your chair for most of your gameplay, then I recommend this game to you.

¨The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its content.¨ H.P. Lovecraft.

Official Websites:

Darkness Within: In Pursuit Of Loath Nolder

Lighthouse Interactive


Daniel (aka danyboy)

Thanks Draclvr, Ghostlady, LadyK, Hawka, Angelfire and all of those who helped me with this review.
I want to break free from your lies
You're so self satisfied,
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Stella
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Re: Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby Stella » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:43 am

OH! I wasn't aware this was part 1 with 2 more games to follow. Thanks for the info and great review. :)
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danyboy
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Re: Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby danyboy » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:20 am

Thanks Stella!

CU

danyboy :)
I want to break free from your lies
You're so self satisfied,
I don't need you
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Re: Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby LadyKestrel » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:27 pm

Nice review, DB! :thumleft:
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Re: Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby Sophie » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:10 pm

Thank you DB & Co helpers. Once again another great review. :)
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danyboy
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Re: Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby danyboy » Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:09 pm

Thanks Sophie and LadyK!

CU

danyboy :)
I want to break free from your lies
You're so self satisfied,
I don't need you
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draclvr
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Re: Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby draclvr » Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:19 pm

I have to say this game didn't particularly appeal to me when I first heard about it, but after reading danyboy's review, I must admit it now sounds intriguing.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.
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danyboy
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Re: Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder Review

Postby danyboy » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:08 pm

Thanks drac!

CU

danyboy :)
I want to break free from your lies
You're so self satisfied,
I don't need you

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