Good Old Reviews
Nosferatu: Wrath of Malachi - Decent Diamond, Lots of Rough

Stew Shearer | 9 May 2015 08:00
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The game can, at times, also be easy to manipulate, both in large and small ways. Take the aforementioned leapy demons. Your natural reaction when encountering one will most likely be to gun it down with a musket blast. However, if you're willing to experiment a little bit, you'll soon find that your basic punch (a.k.a. the attack you never use in any other game) is almost embarrassingly effective against them. Your fists are so fast that the poor buggers won't have a chance to defend themselves. You can literally pummel them to death like Apollo Creed coming out of retirement.

Far larger than that little cheat however, is the way it's possible to exploit the randomization system. You see, it isn't just your relatives that get randomly placed. The positioning of ammunition, health kits, and enemies is also something that's procedurally generated. Unlike the locations of the Patterson's, however, these smaller pieces of the game's greater puzzle are re-shuffled every single time you load a save file. Now just think for a minute about what that means. On the one hand, this does work to help establish the game's aura of unpredictability. On the other, it's way too easy to turn it toward your advantage.

Let's say, for instance, that you're low on health and come to a room with a treasure chest. In any other game this would be a moment of minor suspense. Will it have the medkit I need? Will this be my salvation? Or will it contain another item that's useless to me right now? In Nosferatu, all you have to do is save your game before you open the chest and then you can just keep reloading your game until it contains the item you need. You can do the same with your enemies. While some rooms will have set monsters that you'll have to fight, many others will be populated randomly. If you're in a bad spot you can exploit the randomizing reloads to shuffle your opponents until you meet something you're better suited. It goes without say that this can also demolish the game's already sparse difficulty.

Not that the game doesn't try to do things to make up for it. Wrath of Malachi will often try to make things harder by falling back on jerky maneuvers like spawning enemies directly behind you. I can recall so many occasions where I'd search a room from top to bottom, turn my back on a corner I'd literally just finished looking at and suddenly find myself under attack by a monster that wasn't there before. Granted, it was pretty startling when that happened, so I guess that it technically made the game scarier. That said, it never stopped feeling cheap when that happened.

In the end, your satisfaction withNosferatu: Wrath of Malachi, will really hinge on your ability to deal with problems like that. While it definitely has enjoyable things about it, its overall experience is fraught with niggling issues that can detract from its fun. For my part, I definitely bumped up against Wrath of Malachi's rough edges on several occasions. That said, the game is brief enough (you can finish it in under five hours) and my enjoyment of its premise great enough that I was able to get past that and have a good time. I can't guarantee that you'll feel the same way. That said, if you like horror games it's definitely worth giving a try, especially when it's only $5.99 at GOG.

Next week I'm going to forego my usual editorial and dive into another review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2! In the mean time, feel free to PM me any questions, suggestions or comments you might have!

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