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Nightcaster

Nightcaster by Microsoft Nightcaster
by Microsoft

Platform: Xbox
ESRB Rating: Teen
ASIN: B00005Q5CX

Check price @ amazon.com


Features:
• 3rd-person action/adventure
• Intense spell combat and exploration
• 40 spectacular spells
• Detailed character evolution
• For 1 player

Amazon.com Review: NightCaster is a third-person role-playing game with a heavy emphasis on action. With amazing magical battles and endless monster generators, NightCaster plays like the love child of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Gauntlet.

The malevolent NightCaster has cloaked the world in never-ending night, and monsters stalk the land in increasing numbers. You play as the young boy Arran, who has been chosen by a mysterious orb to stop the encroaching evil. Arran spends the next several years learning magic, and when he returns to his home as a young man, he sees that evil has almost overtaken everything. Now he must use his hard-earned powers to fight back the evil, and put an end to the NightCaster!

In NightCaster, monsters are the name of the game--you fight hordes of them to gain new magical spells. There are four schools of magic: water, fire, light, and darkness. You can choose to specialize in one school, which will give you increased attack power in that school. Magic affects the various creatures differently, however, and you learn by trial and error which attacks are the most effective. Throughout the game, you unlock more powerful magic as you complete quests, and your character actually ages as the game progresses! By the end of the game, you are an old--and very powerful--wizard.

The coolest thing in NightCaster by far is Arran's magical staff. On its tip sits an orb that's the focus of your magical power. Those familiar with Navi and the Z-Targeting system from Zelda 64 will love this--with your right thumb pad, you can have the orb fly off the staff to scout (and illuminate) areas around you. Unlike with the Z-Targeting system, you can control where the sphere goes at all times. Indispensable in battle, the orb can be used as a target for your magical attacks.

This game's good, but it has some flaws. NightCaster gives you the ability to switch between first- and third-person views, but you automatically switch back to third-person when you enter a fight, rendering a first-player perspective useless. Also, while the game's talking tutorial is helpful, the voice sounds like TV psychic Miss Cleo. Initially I found it funny, but over time it had me banging my head against the wall. Lastly, the monster design is lacking--the monsters look like cute little potato bugs, or those snap-together plastic toys toddlers love. The truly scary thing about them is how cuddly evil can appear to be.

Bottom line: NightCaster is a fun third-person action-RPG romp, the perfect quick fix for hack 'n' slash cravings. --Bryan Karsh

Pros:
One kickin' magical staff
Character ages throughout game

Cons:
Tutorial voice from hell

Amazon.com Product Description: NightCaster is a third-person, single-player action-adventure game featuring intense spell combat and exploration. Players take the role of Arran, a novice wizard whose magical power grows as he ages throughout his quest to collect spells and rid the world of eternal night. The game features more than 40 spectacular 3-D spells from four different schools of magic: Light, Dark, Fire, and Water. Players can choose at any time between brute force and crafty tactics. Using the dual analog controls, players can control Arran's movements separately from the orb and use it as a targeting device to cast spells. This enables a more fast and furious gameplay experience.

Players will experience Arran's evolution from young novice to powerful elder mage. As Arran ages, he acquires new spells, growing ever more powerful. The game's beautifully detailed 3-D world is vast and varied, from the depths of the Buried City to the shimmering halls of the Ice Fortress. Each environment is replete with dynamic lighting and shading and particle effects. Further enhanced by Direct Music, the environments become an even more immersive experience than ever imagined. Players can interact with friends and other non-player characters as the story takes them across the land. Triumphs will result in permanent changes to the game world.

Customer Reviews:
If you like The Lord Of The Rings or Harry Potter.........., September 30, 2002
Reviewer: A 9-year old gamer
This Game is full of spells and i love it.
The light ones are soooo flasshy.
the other ones are cool, I like how the enemy don't chase you to the end of the level or not it'll be devestating. I like the orbs swettish accent. The houses look rather nice. But the hard point is you can't just save your progress, you need to find a nifty mushroom ring mostly guarded by enemies. If you love magic like me rent see if it tilts you then buy it if you like it.

a younger crowd, September 5, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Houston, TX
This Game to me was just a simple platform with annoying gameplay. I think younger children might enjoy this game completely, but for anyone over 10 years old, I just don't see how there could be any appeal. Graphic weren't spectactular, and I thought the storyline was very lacking, gameplay and camera were awkward. Let's just say I'm glad I rented it first

Just like hunter the reconing, August 28, 2002
Reviewer: Uriel from Renton, WA USA
Boring! This game has nothing to rave over and alot to dispise. Rent it before buying, or you will be disappointed in losing 50 bucks.

overall a good game, August 26, 2002
Reviewer: Martha A. Taylor from Washington, DC United States
This a good game but the only thing that I didn't like about this game was the consistant presents of the same creatures. You fight and kill the same creatures for the majority of the game which can be annoying at times.

Not what I originally expected, but very good overall, July 16, 2002
Reviewer: adrian_m from New England, United States
When I bought Nightcaster..., I was expecting some type of Gauntlet game built to take advantage of the advanced XBOX hardware. Well, my expectations were partially correct...this is a pure action/Gauntlet type of game, but it doesn't quite play the same way and this is both good and bad, but in the end, the game turned out pretty good for the price.

You're given a great deal of freedom and your tasks usually involve wiping out enemies and enemy generators (a la Gauntlet) and occassionally you get to take part in small quest-like tasks. Where Nightcaster differs from Gauntlet is the attack system. Although you have a wand you can use as a rather ineffective melee weapon, you will ultimately live and die by the mana-based spellbook system. Four classifications of spells are yours and you cast them using the orb which you control with a separate aiming thumbstick, thereby allowing independent moving/firing movement similar to robotron. A unique system, but much different than what I expected when I bought the game.

Any downsides to this? Yes there are plenty. You have to choose your spells correctly for the area or situation you're in as certain spell classes are stronger/weaker or ineffective on certain enemies. The enemies are quite fast and you'll often find yourself retreating like crazy and switching spells on the fly in order to take them out. The save point system is just like Resident Evil and that... Enemies frequently "fade out" even though they are relatively close to you, only to reappear behind you for no apparent reason. And the camera system is rather constricting since you can never seem to move it to just the right angle. There are other problems, but I feel the game is quite good despite the issues and you'll find yourself enjoying it if you give it a chance.

This is a first generation XBOX product so you have to overlook some of the shortcomings. From a technical standpoint, the game is done well and you'll find yourself pushing on to finish the it. Should you buy it? Given the low price, I'd say yes.

Incredibly Story Line a Controls a little tricky, June 3, 2002
Reviewer: dangard from Seattle, WA USA
The first few times I sat down to play this game I got a bit frustrated and didn't play for long. It was tough to get used to the game play style of the game. But finally one time I really s at down and got the hang of it and the game got awesome. I love the story! The visuals are stunning and the spell look incredibly. You'll be itchoing to find th enxt spell or level up for a current spell. Imsut say the light spels are my fav. One key to game play is getting the hang of quickly switching between spells. Once you get used to the controls you'll find them nicely laid out.

My only other criticism is that because of how the spells work the final boss is rather easy to defeat.

But all in all I really enjoyed the game. You nee dto tottaly explore each level beacsue themor eyou power up the more fun the game becomes. The story kept me enthralled and coming back for more. The bosses in general we're challenging and increased nicley in difficulty.

In the few erros I did have trouble with I found myself only getting determined to kill the badies rather than getting bored. Another thing to keep in mind is that their are limited saving locations so you've got to know when to save and when to "save" the saving point for later.

All in all I LOVED this game and highly recommend it. I hpe VR1 continues the Nighcaster story as it left me itching for more as well.

THE XBOX VERSION OF LEGEND OF ZELDA-I WANT A SEQUEL!, May 24, 2002
Reviewer: jbest48 from SMITHFIELD, NC USA
THE GAME MOVES A LITTLE SLOW BUT IF YOU PUT THE TIME IN YOU'LL LIKE THE GAME(WELL, I LIKE IT.). THIS GAME IS MAKING MY MOUTH WATER FOR ELDER SCROLLS:MORROWIND. THE STORY REMINDS ME OF ZELDA. I HOPE VR1 DOES NOT FORGET NIGHT CASTER BECAUSE I REALLY LIKE IT AND IT LEFT ME WANTING MORE. ALSO IF YOU RUSH THROUGH NIGHT CASTER YOU WILL NOT BEAT IT, YOU'LL MISS A LOT, AND IT WILL GET OLD. THIS IS A COMBINATION OF ZELDA AND GAUNTLET LEGENDS AND I THINK IT IS VERY GOOD BECAUSE VR1 TOOK GAUNTLET LEGENDS AND GAVE ALL THAT BORING, SAME REPEATING FIGHTING A REAL PURPOSE. FOR FAST ACTION & CHALLENGING GAMEPLAY, I'D BUY IT.

Rent it, don't buy it, May 2, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Boston, MA USA
If you were expecting this to be some kind of mature RPG, well, too bad, it isn't. You're typical hack and slash kind of game: you have a pretty big, some-what impressive looking level in front of you, countless monster spawn points, and your job is to just cast and cast and cast until you find the right way to get through. As far as all the complaining I'm seeing about the saves, this system makes perfect sense in the context of the game. Let's get a definite number straight here on the spells: 4 schools, 4 spells per school, 3 levels per spell; 48 total possibilities. I agree with the fact that there should be schools in it, and it should have an effect on the damage to the monsters, but they could've made it less obvious what monsters would be damaged by what; I felt very underestimated when I saw little red things running at me, and had to be told that the spells highlighted in red wouldn't damage them. It's not a bad game...the spell effects are very nice, particularly on the glyph/rune spells. Unless you're a little kid though, I wouldn't reccomend buying it.

Overall mediocre game..., April 20, 2002
Reviewer: david aslanian from Chino Valley, AZ
Pretty graphics, repetitive gameplay, horrible voice-acting, and under average storyline makes this one a renter- I would strongly recommend NOT outright buying it.

Awesome Game, April 20, 2002
Reviewer: XboxRULES!
I really liked this game because It was different. It is sortof like Diablo without the blood, and when I get a new spell I get really excited.Overall this game is awesome and I think they made it really well.


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