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  ‘Ninety-Nine Nights’ [Xbox 360]  
Posted 2006-08-21 by Tony Walsh
‘Ninety-Nine Nights’ [Xbox 360]
Her Achilles Heel is her cleavage, obviously.
A glance at the packaging for Ninety-Nine Nights might lead you to believe that the fantasy action game tells an epic tale of the conflict between light and dark. At the very least, the fantasy action game part is true. And I suppose mass-murder qualifies as epic-scale conflict. But after rummaging through the billions of gallons of entrails left in the wake of my Temple Knights, I still couldn't find any sign of a coherent storyline. Ninety-Nine Nights is a shooter without guns, a button-masher with a role-playing game inventory. If mindless slaughter is enough to entertain you (and frankly, sometimes it's enough to entertain me), the $49.99 USD retail price is worth every penny.

Ninety-Nine Nights is my first Xbox 360 game (thanks, High Road), and I'm mightily impressed by its capacity to throw hundreds of highly-detailed humanoids upon the edge of my blades, each creature with an apparently-useful set of AI instructions. In one afternoon I was able to sample the cruel, genocidal talents of the game's starting character Imphyy, and those of her idealistic brother Aspharr (pronounced ASSfar). The idea is that you'll play each of the seven characters (unlocked as you progress) to fully unravel the storyline of Ninety-Nine Nights from varying points of view. What I unravelled over the better part of an afternoon left a lot to be desired, to the extent that I wondered why most bits of the story were included at all.

Probably the most disappointing aspect of the game is the utter lack of strategy involved, despite the ability to command a left and right flank of combatants. Unlike the comparable Xbox series Kingdom Under Fire (developed by Ninety-Nine Nights co-developer Phantagram), you don't have fine control over your troops. They can be instructed to wait or attack, but not move to a particular spot. Like the story, it's pointless to implement something so badly as to be render it useless. Game play essentially boils down to picking one or two attack combos and repeating thousands of times until a level is complete. The lack of uninteresting game mechanics gives 'Ninety-Nine Nights' very limited appeal, something that might have been alleviated slightly by buddying up with a friend or two, but there are no multiplayer options. On the flipside, I think Ninety-Nine Nights is a great murder-simulator.
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Comment posted by n0wak
August 22, 2006 @ 8:54 pm
and I'm mightily impressed by its capacity to throw hundreds of highly-detailed humanoids upon the edge of my blades, each creature with an apparently-useful set of AI instructions.

You should play Dead Rising (after all, you DO have a zombies category). It has hundreds of fairly detailed zombies on screen at once. There's AI too, but zombies aren't renowned for their intelligence.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
August 23, 2006 @ 9:13 am
I might consider picking up Dead Rising--a friend of mine is meeting me for breakfast tomorrow to tell me all about it. Aside from the price-tag, the only other disincentive to buying the game is the micro-sized on-screen text--HD is apparently a requirement for this title.
Comment posted by n0wak
August 23, 2006 @ 2:20 pm
I have a 27 inch standard tv. It IS definitely small, but it doesn't bother me. Your results (and eyes) may vary.
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