dennis;;callmebackdraft;;timemachine;;nox;;rpg;;westwood;;electronic;;arts Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers


By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on June 18, 2018

*Gulp* Well, eeehm, guys; I might have made a small error in all my calculations, most notably in my guess as to how Sadhonker would respond to being locked inside a giant square metallic room that has the tendency to rotate. Who could guess he would fill the darn thing with concrete... Anyhow, I think it is safe to say that we have a little situation going on here at Big Red Timemachine HQ!

My calculational errors combined with the fact that I did not take a couple of tons of concrete into account resulted in the sinking of my beautiful basement. Yes, you've read that correctly; the whole thing sank into the ground! And I don't mean a couple of inches, neither. When Sadhonker left on his last travels, he must have accidentally turned the machine on. My studies have shown that the resulting vibrations shook the ground beneath the now spinning block of concrete, which resulted in sad ground to crack. Not soon thereafter, a huge sinkhole occupied the space in which my beautiful contraption once stood proudly. And when I say huge, I mean huge! I dropped some flares down the hole and even went so far as to shove one of our employees in there, just for good measure. Alas, I was not able to see the light at the bottom nor hear the thud of a body hitting the floor. Hmmm, come to think of it, there was a song made about that...

Anyway, when Sadhonker returned, probably due to the magnetic interference emanating from the sinkhole, the timemachine somehow put him at the bottom of said hole... which is where he remains still. We don't have a rope long enough to get him out, so I am just sitting here on the edge drinking a couple of brewskis, trying to think of a way to get him back out. Now, personally, I wouldn't mind leaving him down there for a bit as payback for destroying my masterpiece but, well, his wife (my boss) is livid... I mean, she even took up firing shotguns and swinging machetes around as a hobby. It would even seem that she is trying to use me for target practice.

Notwithstanding Sadhonker's precarious situation and his wife's new found fondness for sharp weapons, the time has come to leave my dearest of friends alone for a bit, because you are not here to listen to me ramble on and on about these minor setbacks. You guys are here to travel with me into the past and revisit another golden oldie in the world of gaming. And this time our travels will take us to the start of this millennium, otherwise known as the year 2000, and revisit a game called NOX. So let's dial in the numbers and don't forget that this is the backup Big Red Timemachine or, as we like to call it, the Big Red Backup, so it may be a bit of a bumpy ride.

In Nox, we take the role of Jack; a young man who is pulled into a parallel universe. In order for him to return home he has to defeat the sorceress Hecubah. This, of course, is not going to be a case of simply walking up to her and smacking her in the face. Why, I hear you ask? Well, this is mostly due to the fact that Hecubah isn't ruling this universe alone; she commands a vast army of Necromancers. Before we can get to the battling of said Necromancers, we will first have to select a class for Jack. The classes to choose from are: Warrior, Conjurer or Wizard. Each of the classes follows its own storyline, which is largely different from any of the other two storylines. The basic storylines are all quite linear, but have enough in them to differentiate them from one another and give all three of them a unique ending.

Like other games in the genre, Nox uses an isometric perspective that gives the player a good view of whatever situation Jack finds himself in. Now, don't think for one second that you're going to see every danger that awaits our hero in one look. No, dear readers, Nox employed something called "TrueSight"; a Fog of War system that prohibits Jack from seeing areas of the environment that are out of view from his current position. This system, much like the "circle of light", used in the Diablo games, makes the adventure even more thrilling, because you just can't see every threat. of which there are more than enough, believe me!

Nox features a cool single player campaign, which transported us to all kinds of jungle environments as well as creepy dark dungeons. The objective stayed the same, independent of which environment you were currently traversing; explore the hell out of your surroundings, kill all bad guys and help your allies wherever you can! Doing so gives you XP, which you desperately need to upgrade Jack all the way to level 10! As you make your way through treacherous terrain, you would typically find awesome weapons, impressive spells and sturdy armor to help you survive during your quest. These items can be used by equipping them in your character menu or, if you had no use for them, sold to the nearest trader for cold hard cash.

Now, one might surmise that the gameplay is the same, no matter what class you choose, but this couldn't be further from the truth! Apart from a different story, each class also varies greatly in style, at least as far as core gameplay goes. The three classes follow the classic rules of any rpg game out there; the warrior is the strong man of the group. He can swing any weapon around and inflict massive damage, but he doesn't hold with ranged weapons like bows and such, as well as anything magical. The Conjuror, on the other hand, uses exactly the things the Warrior abhors: magic and bows. He is a more versatile character that can also heal himself and his party. Last but certainly not least, the Wizard is a purely magical character that can't use a lot of conventional weapons or armor. Instead of said armaments, the Wizard chooses to use a wide range of mystical spells in order to decimate enemy troops or defend himself. Because the Wizard had only a few hit points, it is wise to stay well out of the way of imminent conflict and attack your enemies from a safe distance whenever possible!

Nox was seen by some reviewers and players as a Diablo copy cat, but still got raving reviews and, mostly due to the fact that the game had its very own style, it still managed to set itself apart from its brother from another moth... development studio. It had a lot of visual effects that looked absolutely top notch at the time and still don't look all that bad nowadays.

Sadly, that is all the time we have for our time travels today (which is kind of weird when you realize that we have an actual time machine, so there should be plenty of time...), it is time to go back to the HQ and see if Sadhonker is still down in the dumps about his current predicament. "SAAAADDDDDHONNNKERRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!", hmm no response, which figures seeing as I couldn't hear anything dropping. How deep is this hole ? And, more importantly, how many bottles of beer would it take to fill it??? I think these are very important questions that deserve to be answered, wouldn't you agree?

I've got it! Let's gather all the beer from the sponsorship deal I arranged (I can't tell you the name of the beer, because that would be advertising, but I can tell you that it is the favorite beer of both Sadhonker and myself, as well as the favorite beer of a guy called Carl. S. Berg). For every one of these bad boys I open, I'll drop one down for Sadhonker... yep, that should work. Here we go; 999 million bottles of beer on the ground, 999 million bottles of beer. Open two up, throw one down; 998.999.999.998 bottles of beer on the ground... Oh, this is going to be so much fun!

Westwood Studios & Electronic Arts