LGR – Night Hunter – DOS PC Game Review
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LGR – Night Hunter – DOS PC Game Review

September 28, 2019

[typing] You know, it’s that time of year again, at least around here. The time of year where I want to dive into something just a little bit creepy. Maybe a little off-putting. Kinda spooky. You know, like old games from companies that are nowadays absolutely giant publishing houses. Games like… Night Hunter, developed by Ubisoft Entertainment Software and distributed by Electronic Arts in 1988, originally for the Atari ST and then for IBM PC compatibles as seen here. And later seeing release on the Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Mmm, yeah… That’s some pretty eye-catching
Nosferatu-inspired box art. I can really feel it awakening the Dracula in me. “Awaken the Dracula in you!” “Thirty spine-chilling levels and 100 horrifying scenes!” “Possibility to save 10 different parts of the game.” Aw, man, that’s some real possibility right there! I wasn’t quite sold on it until I read that. Inside the box, you get the game on four 5¼-inch double-density floppy disks, a warranty card jointly supplied
by EA and Ubisoft together, which is just bizarre to think about nowadays, and a black-and-white manual, talking about multiple versions of the game, as well as some broad information on the backstory and overall bloodsucking objective. You also get this orange registration card which I think is awesome because… I don’t know. I just like crispy registration cards. And when they’re orange, that makes me happy. You might think that also makes
me a bit strange, but whatever. Compared to someone with a balloon fetish, it’s really not that bad. Night Hunter for DOS begins with
some nocturnal-looking graphics mode and joystick selection screens, followed by a snazzy showing off of 16-color graphics and PC speaker music, all of which is rather adorable in that ’80s DOS game kind of way. ♪♪ Then you get a menu that lets you
load a saved game by pressing L, or start a new game by pressing A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, M, N, O, P… [fades out] Right Shift, Left Shift, Tab or Space. And now, prepare to awaken the Dracula in you by waking up as Dracula and wandering around his cozy little coffin room. And if you have not read up
on the control scheme by now, you might be stuck in here
for a moment, but that’s okay. At least you can laboriously polish your sword while rats run around petrified. Once you’re through diddling around, it’s time to pick up that conspicuous yellow key, unlock the door, and go searching for fresh blood and possibly hand lotion. Night Hunter is a side-scrolling platformer, without the side-scrolling or any complex platforming, so, uh… hmm… Okay, let’s try that again.
Night Hunter is a game. It has hunting and nighttime in it, and it’s one of the earlier games where you play the villain instead of the hero, and I have to say, that’s pretty friggin’ metal. The basic gist is that you’re Count Dracula, of the Bram Stoker-inspired variety, and as such, you’re in search of necks to feed on and medallions to take over the world with. Of course, you’ve also got
jerks like Professor Van Helsing and his vampire-hating
groupies out to ruin your day– er, night. So, naturally, the only way to get
past them and get what you want is to collect a bunch of keys and useless inventory items. Yeah, Night Hunter is one big fetch quest, divided up into several looping areas with increasing difficulty and
an element of randomness. You walk around left and right, keeping a sharp eye out for five keys that allow you to open the
various doors in each level, and one of three objects: a scroll, a bottle, and a cross. While all these seem a bit strange, that last one is especially so, seeing as religious symbols repel vampires. No idea what Dracula needs with a cross, but hey, maybe it’s a Transylvanian version of exposure therapy. I’m not gonna judge. Anyway, other than the
occasional irritatingly-hidden item, this game of “find the random loot” isn’t much of a challenge, at least on its own, because what DOES bring the pain is the amount of enemies on-screen
and what they can do to you. Most of them you can feed on
and kill, if you get close enough, but keep in mind that
if you’re close enough to feed, they’re probably close enough to stab you. You’ve got witches, axemen, archers, priests, and even freakishly strong birds that’ll snatch you up and carry you around until they get bored and let go. And because birds are jerks, they’ll usually drop you into a pond, or a river, which results in a watery grave, since you skipped out on swimming lessons to plan that whole world domination thing. There are also cheap insta-death
pitfalls that totally suck and hardly look like anything until it’s too late, and this is one place where the
transformation abilities come into play. If you’ve got enough ambiguous magic juice saved up, you can transform into a bat that lets you move around more quickly and cross otherwise uncrossable areas, although you can’t deal any damage this way. You can also transform into a werewolf, effectively giving you armor, increased strength, and enough hair to cause a phobia of honey and chewing gum. But any time you’re hit with anything, you transform back into plain Jane Count Dracky, so usually, you’ll just stay low and move as carefully as possible, since you typically can’t get hit when crouching. Saving your game only happens at the end of each level, and seeing as you only have a handful of lives, getting cocky will usually lead to an archer using your flesh as a pin cushion or a bird whisking you away to the land
of yelling at your computer monitor and smashing your keyboard. Not only that, but you can only perform your pitiful prized pilfering at night, which makes a ton of sense, seeing as the game isn’t
“Day Prey,” it’s “Night Hunter.” And if you stay up too long, you turn to ash and leave quite the mess behind. But if you’d prefer not to look like a smoker’s trash can, you can always enter the crypt on each level and sleep until the moon rises once again. Once you reach the end of a certain level, you’ll run into Van Helsing himself, and chances are he’ll just kill you because Hugh Jackman is the man. But if you make it past him, good for you! Here, have more collecting! And ducking! And annoying birds! Suffice to say, Night Hunter
is astoundingly repetitious. And next to the annoyingly cheap deaths, that’s probably its biggest downfall. Sure it helps that the
placement of items and enemies are randomized to a degree, and the sporadic change of scenery is nice, but the non-stop collecting and dodging and running away from angry mobs gets tiresome. And the fact the game relies
on screen-by-screen gameplay does have an effect on
the playability of the game, although that was addressed
in the later Amiga version. In fact, all sorts of things were fixed and
added by the time that version came around, as well as enhancements
to graphics and sound as you would expect on
such an awesome machine. But the monotony remains,
and that’s kind of unfortunate, because I really do love
the idea of playing Dracula. Traipsing around dark locales, chomping on dudes, then
watching them turn into skeletons never really gets old. And I love seeing early games from companies that are absolute
powerhouses today, like Ubisoft. Sadly, I can’t say it’s a game
that’s held up objectively well in terms of lasting appeal and playability, but that didn’t stop ME from getting into it. I played Night Hunter, I accepted it for what it was, and I LIKED it. Eh, then again, I also like to sniff
orange computer game registration cards, so take from that what you will. ♪♪ And if you would like some more
reviews on old games that you can sniff, then you’re in the right place! You can look at a bunch of them
that I have made previously– there’s a couple on the screen
right here that you can click on– or you can just go to my channel and browse, as well as subscribe to my channel and browse, as they come along your
subscription feed here on YouTube. Unless you’re not on YouTube. In that case, it would also be helpful to follow and interact on Twitter and Facebook, because that’s where all the
updates happen in the meantime. And you can also support the show on Patreon, which not only allows for rambles
like this to exist even more so, but also give you some cool perks like being able to see episodes early
and getting signed floppy disks and other things. So that’s an option, too. Either way, thank you very much for watching.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Hey, don't kink shame LGR. And there's so many ways I can think of getting off with manilla envelopes being worse than rubbing your bits with balloons of various makes and shapes. And vice versa.

    No fetish is completely comfortable to think about if you think about them too much.

  2. I see you're aware of the cancelled c64 port with its unbelievable soundtrack, since you play a track from it at the end there. And I think I can hear some very low volume tracks from the game while you talk?

  3. All this made me think was of a sequel called Assassin's Creed: Dracula which would tie the whole origin story to the main… You get my point.

  4. If this was made today, ubisoft probably made it an open world action adventure game with rpg elements. As EA is the publisher, it would be made with the Frostbite engine n would have huge microtransanction elements. U could play as tge vampires from twilight for 10 bucks. The game would probably released too early with host of game breaking bugs as EA needed to put it in their quaterly report.

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