Nosferatu is a Prince of Persia-style platform game developed and published by SETA Corporation for the Super Nintendo in 1994. As SNES games go, it’s a pretty obscure title that not many people got to play at the time, but is worth unearthing and playing now if you like this type of game.
You play a young man named Kyle who must escape from his cell in Dracula’s castle, to rescue his girlfriend, Erin, and the main protagonist has a number of moves at his disposal. He can walk, run, crouch and jump, and can perform a number of other moves by going into combat mode. Pressing the Y button initiates combat mode, and in that you can punch, kick, and string together combos for more effective attacks. A number of other important moves can be performed by using combinations, including a slide kick (run, then press down and then press attack), which is needed to get under low gaps; a shoulder charge (run then attack); shake off monsters (left and right and attack), and even a roundhouse kick (run then press up and attack). The number of moves available to the character is surprising and you should probably read a guide and practise using them before earnestly starting your quest because Nosferatu is a fairly challenging game and all the levels have time limits.
As you explore you’ll find chests containing pieces of crystal, some of which add to your life meter. Collecting three red crystal pieces gives you one more notch on your life bar. You’ll also encounter various monsters and traps on your journey. Traps are a major problem – especially if you don’t know they’re there. Monsters must either be avoided or fought and many of them are based on horror film staples such as zombies, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monster, and mummies. There’s even a ‘Beholder‘, which I believe is a Dungeons & Dragons monster. When fighting monsters there’s usually a tactic that can be used to defeat them, like ducking before a Frankenstein’s monster attacks (which allows you to pummel him afterwards, before backing off). If you get knocked over, or jumped on, by a monster then you’ll lose crystal fragments, which lowers your health, and if your health reach zero it’s game over. You only get one life in this game so care is needed when in combat. Extra special care is needed during boss fights, which you get at the end of each stage.
Playing Nosferatu does take some getting used to. There’s also no password or save function, but you can continue from the last level you died on every time. You must still complete the game in one sitting, though, which will frustrate some. If you’re playing the game in an emulator, though, quicksaves will help greatly.
Graphically, Nosferatu looks good and the animation is excellent. The presentation overall is atmospheric and suitably horror-like. Gameplay is difficult and the controls are a little laggy at times, so the game can be a little frustrating. It’s not a bad game, though. Nosferatu is certainly better than SETA‘s SNES travesty, The Wizard of Oz, but it won’t appeal to everyone.
More: Nosferatu on Wikipedia