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Video Game / Noctropolis

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Noctropolis is a 1994 Adventure Game with a twist. Rather than being a daring adventurer in a fantasy kingdom or a clever astronaut in deep space, you play a Superhero.

Peter Grey's world has come crashing down with the failure of his book store and his wife's infidelity. His only solace is the monthly adventures of Darksheer, the grim avenger of the night who protects an eternally darkened city called Noctropolis. But he's about to lose that too, as the latest issue ends with Darksheer capturing the last of Noctropolis's supervillain community and hanging up his cape.

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But then Peter finds out he's the winner of the "I Want to be Darksheer!" contest and receives a new issue showing a new villain named Flux breaking the worst members of Darksheer's Rogues Gallery out of jail, as well as a magical coin that teleports Peter to Noctropolis itself. After bumbling through a beginning adventure he assumes Darksheer's mantle, but is he up to the job of saving the city from the forces of evil?

The game was released to little fanfare, with physical copies long out of print for years. Fortunately it was finally re-released digitally by Nightdive Studios on January 21, 2016 on GOG.com and Steam thanks. The re-release features widescreen support and an enhanced soundtrack.


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This game provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Ending: The game ends on the triumphant note of no less than primordial beings telling Peter he's a worthy inheritor of the Darksheer name. It totally ignores how the previous Darksheer went evil from a soul-destroying addiction to liquidark, and that by warring on the forces of evil with the same tools there's no reason the same won't eventually happen to Peter even if he does turn out to be a worthy successor.
  • Ascended Fanboy / Summon Everyman Hero: The everyman comic book fan is called to save the world of a comic book.
  • Captain Ersatz: This game seems to take a lot of inspiration from Batman.
  • Captive Audience: Shortly after becoming the new Darksheer, Peter will encounter Tophat who is holding an audience at the local opera house hostage to force him to do her bidding.
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  • The Dark Age of Comic Books: A rather blatant attempt to cash in on it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Darksheer's devices are fueled by a substance that's basically liquid darkness, created by a brotherhood who wished to use the substance for good. Nearly every encounter with a villain in the game also ends with Peter grievously wounded and needing to hurry back to the lair and use it to heal himself.
  • Dream Weaver / Dream Walker: Drealmer not only has the power to create and manipulate dreams but inhabit them as well. It's how he's able to kill his victims.
  • Faux Action Girl: Darksheer's sidekick Stiletto doesn't win a single fight in the entire game. Although she does get to finish off Master Macabre by stabbing him with one of his own scalpels.
  • Fingore: Stiletto gets one of her fingers chopped off by Master Macabre.
  • Green Thumb: This trope is not only the alias of Dr. Horace Bartholomew but also the best way to describe his special abilities where plants are concerned.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Stiletto's main form of aid; talking guys into helping the duo or distracting them, both by showing off her costume's boob window.
  • Illuminati: Yes, they are in the game albeit in a very, very minor role. You find out about their existence late in the game, when players meet Whisperman. He provides a great deal of backstory which reveals that the secret society of the Brotherhood of Darkness, who crafted Liquiddark and subsequently Darksheer, are the Illuminati in the universe of Noctropolis.
    • What's more, it is revealed in the game's climax that its revealed by Flux that they are still active. Besides having monitored and influencing his activities while he was Darksheer implying greatly they are very still heavy handed in the behind-the-scenes workings of Noctropolis.
  • Instant Expert: Even though no indication whatsoever is given that Peter had any such skills beforehand, he's able to hold his own against Stiletto in a fight when she tests his mettle. Guess reading comic books taught him to kick butt.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The tallest building in the city, Sunspire Tower, is the game's final location.
  • Light Is Not Good: It turns out the Big Bad who broke out the other villains is the original Darksheer, who now has a light-motif and changed his name to Lumisheer. To top it off, he also plans to use light to turn himself into a powerful, dominating being.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: One of the earliest examples consists of: To enter a cathedral guarded by a lethal flying gargoyle, the player must A) locate the couple pixels representative of the only loose bar in the iron-wrought fence, B) open utility panel of a nearby streetlight, C) attach fifty-pounds worth of cable to connect the fence post to an arbitrary lead, and d.) throw the bar, like a spear, some 20 yards so that it lands upon the fountain on which the beast occasionally perches so that it is electrocuted the following time it does. This puzzle was one of the first in the game and significantly simpler that later examples.
    • If nothing else the game is slightly more merciful than others in this genre because if you have all the right items to solve the current puzzle and try to use one of them on the correct screen, Peter will just implement whatever solution the designers had in mind no matter how strange. There's no having to combine the three items in some inane way first or click all over the screen trying to find the one spot where the game recognizes you making the correct input.
  • The Night That Never Ends: An unspecified cataclysm decades ago caused persistent thick clouds to cover the sky above Noctropolis.
  • No Name Given: The first Dark Sheer is never referred by his real name, only as the "original Dark Sheer" or the "first Dark Sheer".
  • Non-Action Guy: Despite supposedly being a worthy successor of the Darksheer mantle, it turns out the main villain's plan actually hinges on Peter completely failing at catching villains, getting his ass handed to him in every encounter and repeatedly having to hurry back to the lair and subject himself to a healing bath in magical liquid darkness. It works like a charm.
  • Pixel Hunt: And in parts of the game where you're under a strict time limit to escape from the area and get back to your lair or you'll die, too.
  • Stripperific: Stiletto.
  • This Loser Is You: Peter.
  • Timed Mission: Every single encounter with a villain ends with Peter mortally wounded and needing to solve some puzzles to escape the area so he can return to Darksheer's lair to heal himself before he dies.
  • Totally Radical: The game's developers seemed to be trying to write a game in the style of a gritty 90's comic book, without having actually read any gritty 90's comic books, or just a few of the worse ones. Their attempts to write edgy dialogue sound silly even by 90's comic standards.
  • Unwinnable by Design: A cruel case. You cannot escape the maze without a glass shard, you need to find earlier, so you have already lost if you're in. Saved right before entering? You cannot get the shard without the help of Stiletto, who is not with you since quite a while.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The first of Darksheer's rogues Peter takes on is the Succubus, a nun who is demonically possessed and impregnates herself via Peter after kidnapping him. Even after the nun is saved this is still presumably true, but you never hear about it again.
    • True of most of the villains, actually: they'll show up, beat Peter within an inch of his life, then just kind of wander away never to be seen again.


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