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Crime feeds upon itself like rats fighting over cheese.
Nightshade Part 1: The Claws of Sutekh, more commonly known simply as Nightshade, is a game for the NES released in 1991 -- the very end of that system's life. For plenty of reasons, the game was not successful and faded into obscurity. Yet, in recent years (thanks to internet and particularly The Happy Video Game Nerd), it has became something of a Cult Classic.
The game chronicles the rise of Badass Normal vigilante "Nightshade". Armed with only a hat and trenchcoat, some shades (at night), and his fists, he's out to clean up crime-ridden Metro City, now swarming with gangsters since the death of its former super-hero, Vortex. Nightshade's main priority is trying to track down the Diabolical Mastermind who's controlling them, Sutekh.
Very tongue in cheek and only taking itself seriously when necessary, Nightshade combines two very different kind of game-play: Point-and-click adventure with a (rather unpolished) fighting system. Don't be fooled though, Nightshade is really, really hard. You'll die, many times, which leads to something particularly original in the game: Your continues play out in the form of Death Traps that you have to escape from. If you manage to escape, you get to live for another day, if you don't... well. This doesn't mean you have infinite continues though; after a few traps, you'll be placed in an inescapable one.
- 555: The glyphs in Sutekh's hideout actually say, "Are you reading this? Then so are your customers! Contact Sutekh at 555-EVIL"
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: King Rat's lair.
- Always Night
- Air Vent Passageway: "I bet I could quietly remove this grate and sneak in undetected." *CRASH! BANG! Tinkle...*
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Lord Muck.
- Auto Doc: Vortex left one behind in his Home Base. (Watch out, it only works a few times.)
- Badass Arm-Fold: Sutekh.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Goliath, as well as the English gang.
- Bald of Evil: The thugs.
- Beard of Evil: Suthekh unmasked.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: Nightshade has a Monty Python sense of humor toward the superhero genre. This is established on the very first screen. ("For no readily explainable reason, there is a candle burning here.")
- Big Red Button: The first lever in the game is labeled "Self-Destruct Mechanism! Do not touch!"
- Boring but Practical: It's easy to forget you have a crowbar and screwdriver, but they're useful for prying open grates and switchboxes.
- Boss Rush: Unless you had the foresight to cover the four artifacts with domes, the game throws all four crime bosses at you in the final hallway before Sutekh.
- Blondes Are Evil: The ninjas.
- Bookcase Passage: The library conceals two of these.
- Bouncer: Thugs guard the entrances to the club, so you'll need to find another way in.
"Durr, no entry, sir. Or madam."
- Brain Uploading: Vortex anticipated his death, so he uploaded his brain into the computer.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Typical Oriental waitress, with note-books, aprons, and shuriken pouches."
- Brown Note: Nightshade doesn't grasp how awful his whistling sounds, but it gets the bats off your back.
- Bullfight Boss: Goliath sees stars when he crashes into the walls.
- Burning Building Rescue: A minigame has Nightshade climbing up a burning building to rescue a pretty girl.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Sutekh. "Now I shall leave you to your doom while I go and brew more evil!'
- Cane Fu: The fight with Lord Muck.
- The Cape: Vortex.
- The Cowl: Nightshade. Watch out, crime.
- Cat Up a Tree: A quick way to net some popularity. You need catnip to coax down Tibbles; otherwise it'll shred you.
- Chekhov's Exhibit: The museum and art gallery hold two of the treasures Sutekh seeks.
- The Chosen Zero: Nightshade's real identity is Mark Gray, an encyclopedia researcher.
- Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Lord Muck. However, this is when he's most vulnerable.
- Continuing Is Painful: Continuing the game is a puzzle in itself. If Nightshade gets knocked out, the villain ties him up in a trap, and you have to figure out how to escape before Nightshade gets killed. This is virtually a guaranteed Game Over the first few times.
- Controllable Helplessness: Even ropes can't hold the mighty Nightshade.
- Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing: A variant in the start of the game, as you use a Conveniently Placed Candle to burn ropes holding you to a chair. Played totally straight in one of the death traps, where you use a piece of frayed metal to free yourself.
- Creepy Cemetery: Suekh's hideout on the north side of town.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Vortex is shown hanging from manacles in the opening cinematic.
- Death Trap: Each time you lose, Sutekh tosses you into another slow-moving and overly-elaborate trap.
- Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Complete with fuse. Hiding behind a wall protects Nightshade from the blast, as the bomb is of shoddy quality.
- Conveyor Belt O' Doom: If you get caught by Sutekh early on in the game (by running out of life), you get strapped to one of these. It's possible to free yourself, but if you make a mistake, the belt speeds up, leading you to a rather messy death.
- The Walls Are Closing In: A hydraulic press lined with Spikes of Doom. Again, Sutekh's odd affinity for candles gets the better of him here.
- Fed to the Beast: Nightshade must get free before Sutekh's Right-Hand Attack Dog eats him.
- Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: A pulley system threatens to drop a 700 lb. weight onto Nightshade.
- Locked in a Freezer: You're boned. There's no escaping this one.
- Gas Chamber: We eventually learn this was Vortex's cause of death. Nightshade will succumb to it, too, if you forget to turn off the valve.
- Dialog During Gameplay
- Dramatic Unmask: The headline announcing Sutekh's arrest. (Though he's still in full costume during his trial, and even in jail.)
- Drinking on Duty: Upstanding Nightshade refuses to enter the bar.
- Dual-Wielding: Sutekh wields a pair of Khopesh swords, and is pretty handy with them.
- Dumb Muscle: Thugs have a feeble grasp on the English language.
- Evil Overlooker: Sutekh on the box art -- as well as the prologue and game over screen.
- Exposition Fairy: An elderly fan of Vortex (he's wearing flair which says "Vortex is my chum") hangs around the first screen and dispenses advice.
- Expy: Vortex riffs on Batman, right down to the cave and black roadster.
- The Faceless: Nightshade.
- Failed Attempt At Drama:
Sutekh: Farewell, Lampshade!
Sutekh: Oh, sorry.
- Failure Hero: The instant Nightshade finishes his hard-boiled monologue, he is tied to a chair in a dingy sewer.
- Fight Woosh
- Final Boss Preview: "So, pathetic meddler! Your career is over before it has begun! Now there is no one to stop me in my reign of evil!"
- First-Person Smartass: Nightshade loses his patience with examining commonplace things.
"Oh, so you need it in writing? Well, it's a D-O-G."
- Four Is Death: The city is held by a tetralogy of crime lords who report directly to Sutekh: King Rat, Goliath, Lord Muck, and the Ninja Mistress.
- Friend to All Living Things: Scattering food for animals is key to winning, and will save your bacon in one instance.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Sutekh's real identity is Waldo Schmeer.
- Game Over Man: Sutekh. "Metro City is mine!"
- Gang of Hats: British gents in in bowler hats, mutant rats, bald thugs, and all-female ninjas.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Sandleford telling you to "bug off."
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Nightshade doesn't have any gadgets, or powers -- just his fists.
- The English gents insist on fighting by Queensberry Rules.
- Gotta Catch Em All: Your goal is to enter Sutekh's hideout by collecting five scarabs. A secondary objective is to find four Egyptian artifacts before Sutekh steals them.
- Grimy Water: The sewer has rivers of toxic waste for you to avoid.
- Guide Dang It
- He Knows Too Much: Sandleford is evidently in deep trouble, as he's holed up on the edge of town with a ninja practicing punches outside his door.
- Heal Thyself: There is only one first-aid kit, so be careful with it.
- Heroes Love Dogs: Nightshade positively melts whenever you examine dogs (even if they're trying to kill him). He does not get along with cats.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Everyone is pretty rude to Nightshade, at least in the beginning. You need to earn "Popularity" by performing heroic deeds.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: The least effective method of healing, but at least it's there.
- Hypocritical Humor: When you examine the old lady NPCs, Nightshade waxes poetic about old people being the "pillars of society. It's people like this I wage my war on crime for. And you can't even see the glue."
- It's All Upstairs From Here: A modest example would be Goliath's penthouse. There's no way in, so Nightshade must leap onto the elevator and climb the sides of the building to the roof.
- Joe Sent Me: Make friends with the nut vendor and he'll refer you to his brother, who guards the back door to a club.
"Goodness gracious! You look like the sort of person who's recently spoken to my brother! Why don't you go through this back door?"
- Joke Item: The curio shop sells a fake Staff of Ra.
- The box labeled "Contents: Herrings, Red".
- Just You and Me And My Guards: Sutekh sics mummies and statues on you during the final boss battle.
- Medium Awareness: After relating his story, Profesor Sandleford rudely throws you out. "--And take those darn subtitles with you!"
- Mob War: With Vortex gone, the gangs were descending into all-out warfare until Sutekh united them.
- Mr. Exposition: Professor Sandleford.
- Mummy: The mummy attacks Nightshade if you try to touch his diamond.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Nightshade is frequently mocked by being called "Lampshade".
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Each of the crime bosses (exempting King Rat) hides out in a restaurant or club. The ninjas also run a clothing boutique.
- Living Statue: The statues of Sutekh come to life when you pass by.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Sutekh dresses up like the jackal-headed God of Chaos (alternatively spelled "Set").
- Nintendo Hard: Not the least because it's an "all the way in one long play" game, highly unusual in a point-and-click adventure.
- Not So Different: Suthekh is eventually revealed to be just some geek in a costume, like Nightshade.
- Nutty Squirrel: "Overthrow the government! Let us rise up and... er... squeak?"
"If there's one thing I hate, it's anarchic squirrels."
- Obligatory Joke: Nightshade exclaims, "Knick nack paddywhack!" when you distract the dog with a bone.
- Oh My Gods: Great quivering enigmas with a side salad and a light tartare sauce!
- Older Sidekick: In another nod to Batman, Vortex has an old man working for him.
- Phone Booth: Acts as a secret elevator to Vortex's HQ.
- Power Copying: Assembling the Staff of Ra will give Nightshade a projectile weapon like Sutekh's.
- Private Eye Monologue: Nightshade has a lot of enthusiasm for superhero lingo, though he can never get it quite right.
- The Professor: Professor Sandleford.
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Sutekh used to work for Professor Sandleford -- that is, until he was caught pilfering a number of artifacts.
- Schmuck Bait: "You've discovered the secret lair of Sutekh. For a free sample of what's waiting in the next room, just press the eye!"
"I hate it when that happens."
- Sentry Gun: Goliath has sentry guns mounted on the sides of his tower.
- Shout-Out: "Abnormal Irradiated Samurai Rats!"
- Shown Their Work: A statue of Nepotakh, lord of the Nile and guardian of the stomach. ("No kidding, look it up!")
- Sigil Spam: Since Sutekh took over, the whole town is wallpapered with hieroglyphics and Egyptian decor.
- You can spot Vortex's presents via the scrawled "V"s on certain bricks and signposts.
- Smoke Out: Ninjas use this trick to teleport around.
- Spandex, Latex, or Leather: Nightshade constantly catches flak for his outfit. "And get yourself some proper tights!"
- The ninjas are clad in steel-gray catsuits.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Nightshade can talk to cats after you read certain graffiti. Inexplicably, he can speak to squirrels, rats, and seagulls inherently.
"Nightshade had a long and meaningful conversation with the rat. Both feel they have been enriched by the experience."
- A Spot of Tea: Confronting Lord Muck in the Pyramid Club. "Oh dear, this always happens at tea time."
- Stillborn Franchise: The "Part One" and subtitle imply that this was meant to be part of a larger franchise, though it could be yet another gag.
- Stock Femur Bone: Justified Trope for being an actual human femur. A Dinosaur Doggie Bone can be taken from the mounted dinosaur at the museum.
- Spooky Painting: A portrait of some random guy whose expression changes each time you see it. The sequence goes from "happy" to "The Scream".
- The second of such portraits is actually a Concealing Canvas.
- Surprise Creepy: Vortex's corpse is still chained up in the sewers. It's amazing that Nintendo didn't catch this one.
- Taking Up the Mantle: Nightshade pledges to carry on where Vortex failed. For some reason, Vortex foresaw this and left behind numerous hints and power-ups.
- Thememobile: Vortex's car. (Sadly, you can't drive it.)
- Tin Tyrant: Sutekh.
- Tradesnark: Protecting the streets from The Cloying Grasp of Evil™.
- "Sutekh: Beware the Staff of Ra. (Ominous Warnings Ltd.)"
- Trouble Entendre: The clothing store girl offers to read Nightshade's horoscope: "You will assaulted by a ninja with, like, incredible dress sense."
- Likewise, the waitress warn against going into the back room, or else "breakages may occur."
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: "It's just a horribly beweaponed girl in a skin-tight martial arts costume. Nothing unusual."
- Valley Girl: In a clever reversal, all of the dimwitted blondes in this game are actually ninjas.
"Oh wow! It's like, so totally awesome to be, like, relating with you at this moment."
- Weaponized Headgear: The Brits use bowler hats as shurikens.
- We Will Meet Again: In the ending, your adversary vows that "the claws of Sutekh will rise again!"
- Weird Moon
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Sutekh reveals his Evil Plan: To make wooden nickels legal tender! Oh, the humanity!
Nightshade: Not so fast, you twisted fiend!
- Wheel-O-Feet: Goliath, when he charges.
- World of Ham
- A Worldwide Punomenon: "Curio's Killed the Cat".
- Nightshade examining the grate in his cell.
- You All Look Familiar: Most of the NPC characters share the same portraits.
"Go forth, young Nightcart!"