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Embark on a quest to destroy The NightStone, following an epic tale that  seamlessly blends Role-Playing, Action and Strategy. Play as either  Barbarian, Sorceress or Amazon as you seek to cleanse the land of evil,  using skill, wit and courage.
  • Evade fiendish enemies as they track you by sight, sound and smell!
  • Choose your own path through over thirty sprawling adventures.
  • Quest with companions, or take on your enemies in an action-packed multi-player battle to the death!
  • Challenge your friends as you take on the roll of Dungeonmaster with the built-in NightStone Adventure Editor.
~ from the back of the box

When you have a genre-defining game, it takes a lot to similar titles to escape from its shadows. Why play GeneWars when you have WarCraft II? Why play Defcon 6 when you have Doom II? Why play NightStone when you have Diablo II? There is something to be said for those underdogs vying for recognition - you can still enjoy averageness sometimes after all – but they can easily get lost under the weight of their better known (and let’s face it, just plain better) rivals. I’ve already covered GeneWars and Defcon 5 at the Collection Chamber, but how does NightStone, the little hack-n-slash RPG from 2001 fare?

First releasing a year-and-a-half after Diablo II in November 2001, (and almost 2 years post for the US), NightStone would still live under its shadow. Reviews at the time compared it unfavourably to that masterpiece which would only seal its critical failure.  They bemoaned the sprite-based isometric visual representation, the lack of depth in its game mechanics and an overall simplistic design. When you into account that it was developed by a new development team hailing from Spain, these types of expectations just seem unreasonable. You can’t compare New Horizons Studios only title to a product from one of the juggernauts in PC gaming.

The Heavy Objects inventory screen. Looks like I'm not stong enough for that axe (left).
Using a magic spell from the Light Objects inventory screen. Right-click to use it (right).

At the beginning of the game, you get to switch between three playable characters, each working through their own campaign. They are scantily-clad fantasy stereotypes with a muscly Barbarian wielding melee weapons, a big-breasted Sorceress with her magical prowess and an Amazon archer with side-boob. Each have been chosen by the WhiteStone to rid the land of evil minions corrupted by the NightStone. It’s not like all this backstory is much of a focus in the game itself. The stages each have little intros that are only really there state your objectives, and it may be several levels before you get to speak to an non-playable character, though I must say their character is rather lacking.

The stages themselves are also rather basic. The maps may seem large, but once you reach the end point you realise only ten minutes have passed. Five if you’re really thrifty. The objectives can range from kill everything on the map, to finding a specific item or just reach the exit. To attack, you just left click on an enemy and hope that the strike hits. They are constantly moving, so a steady mouse hand is a must but I often resolved myself to clicking furiously until I won. You can hold the right button to block, but there’s no real point to it. Single enemies can be downed before they can get a drop on you while multiple enemies come from all sides making the shield worthless. It anything, their best equipped to take advantage of their stat increases.

Along with the Barbarian, the Sorceress (left) and Amazon (right) have their own campaigns.
As the use ranged weapon, an increased resolution allows you to enemies form a further distance.

There are four stats to take note of, each referring to a specific function. Strength refers to how heavy you hit, Resistance is your health and defence, Skill dictates what weapons you can wield while Power details you magical capabilities. All weapons, armour and shields have limits to them, requiring a certain level in one or more of these stats in order to be equipped. If you get a good one you can’t quite use yet, there are five extra spaces in you heavy objects inventory to hold on to them until you’re ready. They do carry over between stages for each character so it is worthwhile, but you should be warned that they are breakable. Even so, I suspect you’ll find an upgrade before you one breaks anyway.

Your light objects consists of potions, scrolls, magic items and the like. The three coloured potions refer to the three innate resources at your disposal; health, stamina and magic. They do function exactly how you’d expect, though I do find it’s easy to forget how low each are resulting in an oblivious game over screen. It could also be because the inventory system is rather cumbersome. The menus pop up in real time, with the gameplay continuing as you manoeuvre through the screens. You’ll be jostling through looking for that imperative health potion only to get there too late and die. You can map four of them in the quick-select area on the bottom right, but even so the entirely mouse-based system is a little too slow for what the game asks of you. As such, I found myself avoiding using it completely during fights, healing myself afterwards. This would mean that magic attacks residing in spell scrolls would be off limits removing some of the more spectacular assaults at my disposal.

Al this clicking is by far the game’s biggest downfall, especially when using a range attack which are the main offensives for the two female characters. A character is by clicking at their destination. A character also attacks by clicking on their target. If you miss a moving target, your avatar will see that as a move command and traipse straight into danger. Beyond walking, you can also run and sneak. With a standard walking speed so slow I want to run everywhere by holding Ctrl. Alas, the constantly diminishing stamina bar won’t let me but at least it will slowly replenish over time. If you want to play a little tactically, holding Alt will let you sneak, but this isn’t always worth the time to perform let alone succeed at.

The game's level editor (left) and adventure creator (right) allow your imaginations to run wild.
Both of these, and the means to play the results, are in run in seperate programs.

I do like the graphical style, even if it way considered dated next to Diablo II or even the similarly named Darkstone, but I still found enough to entice me into the game world. It helps that there is a robust level and campaign editor built in, and it’s remarkably user-friendly. The cave, forest and castle environments each have many interesting tiles associated with them, while treasure chests and breakable barrels can be placed with abandon. From here, you can also get a better look at the varied enemy sprites too. Had the game itself been more popular, I could easily image numerous fan-made packs doing the rounds in the early internet.

NightStone is a simple game. If anything that is its strength. Unlike other RPGs on the market, it is a short play through, short enough for its negatives not to grate too finely. It is best played in bursts with nothing of note to worry about or remember in between plays. For those looking for a meaty package, stay clear, but for some simple yet slightly awkward fun, NightStone deserves a little better than it got.

To download the PC game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses dgVoodoo to run on modern systems. Registry keys will be added to the Windows registry during install. A real or virtual CD drive may be required to play. Manual, Map Editor, Adventure Creator and Adventure Player included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 192 Mb.  Install Size: 358 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


NightStone is © New Horizons Studios
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. Never heard of this one, so will give it a try. I will be interested in seeing your review for the game later.

  2. Never heard of it either

  3. Same here, first time I see this game. Really curious about the review.

  4. The Review is coming along. Time got the better of me. Most likely some time tomorrow

  5. I vaguely remember this game, specifically the cover itself, probably from pc catalogue on the page of half price pc games

  6. Virus Total indicates as a Trojan. https://www.virustotal.com/gui/file/e5fa3979412e42991739e161e4a2a4f06ed95f51b2a6b90fb29a17d92b95241e?nocache=1

    1. There is a note about false positives and why they occur in the FAQ. That website detects a "Trojan.Generic", meaning it sees possible behaviors but not a specific known virus. Follow the link in the to read up on it, though I understand if you decide not to use this installer.