It’s hilarious to watch the hordes of black armored enemies storm towards the player in Ninety-Nine Nights 2 (N32). The seemingly sped up animation makes their legs resemble a Looney Tunes episode, speeding forward with incredible urgency to take down their generally lone foe. Then they stop.
You almost have to see it to believe it. After running across the entire stage, they stop dead cold before actually making an assault. It’s not like Dynasty Warriors where the masses of soldiers take up a defensive stance and slowly circle. No, these geniuses literally stop, like the ultimate example of natural selection ever created by man.
The game is never meant to be difficult. No one really wants to replay sections of something this monotonous twice anyway. It’s meant to be a rush, the various player characters animated the same way with fast-moving pistons for legs. Still, stopping cold and just holding up a serrated sword is not tense or very threatening.
Thankfully, N32 does have variety, including heavily armored creatures who charge after their runs, possibly showing off to the lesser beings how its done. The world of Orphea is filled with wizards, a Lord of the Night, orcs, and elves, squeaking by a potential lawsuit from the Tolkien estate, if just barely.
It’s as uninspired as it sounds, but the real downer of this sequel is not the darker visual tone, but the level design. Instead of sprawling battlefields, N32 confines everything to rigid stages, cramped between walls that make up the maze-like structures. Enemies pepper the landscape in solid groups that run towards the player like schools of fish. It’s as uninteresting to play as it is to look at.
Combat itself is fine, at least in bursts. Galen, the first available character, attacks with broad swipes, although the frenzied animation, lighting bursts, and glowing trails make it difficult to figure that out. The end result is where the satisfaction lies anyway, copious amounts of bodies slashed to pieces flailing about before they hit the ground. Everything is accentuated by blood splatter on the virtual camera, the easily blocked view something that will likely be responsible for more death than the Lord of the Night followers themselves.
While it generally remains flat, N32 makes the radically miscalculated decision to insert required platforming into the fray, raising the battle upward under infuriating conditions. Winged creatures fling projectiles endlessly, making even the first jump across a series of elevated slabs nearly impossible. The less said for the attack on the winding stairs later the better.
Everything can be leveled up short of the jumping, the one thing that needs it more than anything for those that stick with Galen. An assortment of attacks are available, two magic-like modifiers assigned to the bumpers to ensure maximum mayhem. Seeing the sheer number of helpless demons lifted into the air by one assault is enormously gratifying, and hopefully clearing the gene pool of the morons who won’t even try and defend themselves for any future sequels.
Ninety-Nine Nights 2 is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Violence.
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