Noctropolis is a big, beautiful mess of a game. The creators at Flashpoint Productions made a massive epic set in an original comic book world, and it totally sucks. It’s a tremendous mismatch of talent and ambition, and I love it.
The soundtrack is one of the only parts of Noctropolis that keeps pace with its grand vision. The composer, Ron Saltmarsh, intended the music to play on a Roland MT-32 synthesizer rather than the standard, chintzy DOS MIDI output. Few computers at the time supported that hardware, and even fewer do today. Either way, the title track, “Darksheer Theme,” will knock your boots off.
I am always surprised when an orchestral MIDI piece – especially one from 18 years ago – packs a wallop like this one does. “Darksheer Theme” captures the massive scope, bravado, and heroism that Noctropolis was trying so hard to accomplish. This piece plays over a slow-moving panorama of the city of Noctropolis, and it is positively spine-chilling. Could you imagine if the entire game had been as good, as tense, or as epic as the theme? Hats off to Ron Saltmarsh for delivering the goods.
I used this image in my first test post because I needed something that was 640×480 to test the site width. Thanks NASA!
According to the “Hello World” post that WordPress made, I started The Obscuritory four years ago today!
I started this blog on a lark because of my increasing interest in CD-ROM games at the time, and I honestly just expected it’d fizzle out after I lost interest. And it did, at least twice. I rebooted this blog several times before I finally figured out a style that worked for me and that people enjoyed reading, and it was worth putting in the effort.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge how sporadic the updates are, but having The Obscuritory as outlet for me to talk about old, forgotten games has been exciting and liberating. I really did not think I would follow through on it, but here we are. Thanks for reading if you have!
William Soleau has had a steady output of shareware puzzle games since 1991. Quality of some of the games aside (see Ladder Man), this is an accomplishment in tenacity. If nothing else, Soleau Software is prolific.
Maze Mission Adventure Game may be one of his earliest; the game predates the Soleau Software brand. It’s clearly the work of a developer getting their bears. It’s riddled with typos and sits comfortably about five years behind graphics technology at at the time. But it’s pretty good. The game never progresses or goes anywhere, but it captures the fun of exploring and getting lost. » Read more about Maze Mission Adventure Game
Even people who have never read an Asimov story know of his famed Three Laws of Robotics, so ubiquitous that it would be redundant to list them. Asimov’s robots took on life and popularity beyond his novels and short stories, which eventually led the author to commission a series of books based on his famous motifs. The Robot City series acted almost like a perfunctory exercise in testing the Laws of Robotics in extreme circumstances, but it at least did so in the dressings of a murder mystery.
The game adaptation of Robot City is inherently more interesting. The game mines a surprising level of narrative intrigue out of the Three Laws, chiefly because you can interact with the robots rather than just reading about their reactions. In the process, Robot City nearly perfects the art of the dialogue puzzle. So let’s never speak of the devastatingly slow exploration sequences tucked in-between the puzzles.