Thursday, February 02, 2023

Deluxe Nostram


Into the Wonderful

This takes me back and I remember playing the original Nostram thanks to a magazine cover disk. It was a good platformer but some screens were too fiddly as I recall so I didn't get very far. Well, it was a freebie so I shouldn't complain too much! Deluxe Nostram is the sequel and kinda the same game albeit more polished and with better controls.

Released in 1993 by Powerfist, it was programmed in STOS by Daniel Walton with graphics by Ian Wilkinson. The game map is ginormous with an incredible amount of rooms to pillage and that potential, as an adventurer, is something I value. The documentation has a line that I thought was brilliant: "THE GREATEST ADVENTURE YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE". Well, that's surely a bold statement and one that only made me excited for great things. (Yeah, I'm easily pleased)

Wait, this sounds too good to be true? Who knows, maybe, but let's crack on and check out two screenshots...



Oi, you with the helmet head, this is the starting screen where your adventure begins.

Ah, a doorway and it looks wide open too. Don't be fooled, a key is still oddly required...


Don't fall asleep

Today's muscular hero is an adventurer in a castle tower of considerable rooms and bizarre monsters. Our objective is to collect five crystals scattered throughout the castle in order to escape and regain the Wings Of Flight. During the journey, there are obstacles, trinkets to collect and locked doors granting access to mysteriously hidden places.

Any platformer demands effortless, instinctive controls that are responsive and precise. Deluxe Nostram nails this especially as the jump mechanic was improved for the latest release so our warrior is very agile. However, numerous screens are void of monsters or dangerous obstacles which means little reason to exercise these controls. Which is very odd!

So that makes this a rather strange game as I expected content similar to any generic platformer. Nope, Deluxe Nostram presents more of an exploration adventure with a few basic puzzles along the way. But it's mostly just us wandering about looking for keys and crystals if I'm brutally honest. Weird right? Are you still interested?

Nevertheless, it's this explorational element that appeals to me as it's possible to visit most of the screens without resorting to a cheat - because there's little to endanger you. It's silly, but I admit to enjoying going through the entire game rather than worrying about defeating impossibly tough screens. Although, I doubt many reading this will feel the same way?

What, you're still here? That's good! Okay, let's take a look at more purple and orange screenshots...



A weird purple monster walking against the purple background. Hmm...

One of the more bizarre enemies you will come across. I'd say kill it before thinking of moving on...


Aesthetics

Graphically, this is <cough> very familiar thanks to a look and design all too godlike, albeit less sophisticated. I do appreciate the overall display because it's clean and concise so works well. However, there isn't enough variation so everything begins to look quite samey and a little boring after a while. I was also weary of seeing the same colour scheme!

The audio is less than favourable because there is no music and the effects are limited to hitting monsters or collecting stuff. Basically, it's silent and that's a massive shame as a chiptune would have been most welcome.

Fancy a gander at even more gaudy purple and orange screenshots? No? Well, I'm in charge, so tough luck...


One of the most stupid screens as it's impossible to pass the two blades without losing energy!

See that crystal over there? You need that but how will you get it? Make a map!


The CryptO'pinion?

Deluxe Nostram isn't the best platformer I've played but, it's far from the worst. The castle is huge and well-design but sadly, there are too many rooms with little to do. Ie, no moving platforms, slides, acid pools or even roaming monsters! As a platformer, it fails to engage the player and I fear that fact might dishearten a lot of potential players.

To be honest, that factor was actually a nice change, as it enabled me to travel through the castle and that's probably why I enjoyed mapping it? Deluxe Nostram is for those who enjoy exploration so I doubt it will appeal to any generic platformer fan? This is a weird one, I will definitely be interested to know what you guys think in the comments below.

The floppy can be downloaded but PP has adapted a better version that you can grab by clicking here.


The Maps!

Here are the thumbnails for each of the four levels. As you can see, they are all complete but I wasn't able to exit and finish the game as the door (top/left of map 3) loops back (in error) to map 4. And that is the same as the door on the second floor, so I can only assume it's a bug seeing both doors lead to the same place. Yes, I am gutted by this!!


On map 1, the door on the first level takes you to the dungeon level (which is map 2).
On map 1, the door on the fifth level takes you to map 3 (bottom/left door there).
On map 1, the door on the third level is used as an entrance only.
On map 3, the door on the first level takes you to the entrance door mentioned above.
On map 3, the door on the second level takes you to map 4.
On map 3, the door on the fourth level also takes you to map 4 (perhaps a bug?)



[Map 1] This is where we begin our adventure...


[Map 2] The Dungeon, a tiny level that (erm) looks nothing like a dungeon!


[Map 3] Possibly the best level of them all, albeit still with few monsters to contend with!


[Map 4] Presents another place to explore. See what I did there? You would if you had played it... ;)