For all you McGuiver wannabes: Nightlong is here

Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy
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Don’t remember McGuiver? The guy that could break out of any situation with the mere everyday items around him? You might want to check into some of the cable rerun networks to find out just how fantastic this guy was. However, if you like to solve problems, and enjoy a good graphic adventure, perhaps Nightlong, Union City Conspiracy is for you!

Nightlong was nominated for a GiN Award this year. And although it did not win, the game is nonetheless impressive.

Set in the near future, you take on the persona of Joshua Reev, a close personal friend and former associate of Hugh Martens, the current Governor of Union City. You two worked together in the Military Service for International Control, where you were one of their best agents. Hugh is calling you back to help solve a problem he is having with someone attacking Genesis Cryogenetic Enterprises, a company that supported his bid to become governor. Seems that the previous person hired for the job, Simon Ruby, hasn’t been heard from in some time now. Your cover is that you have stolen some important information from Genesis Cryogenetic Enterprises and are looking for someone to sell it to. This information is all conveyed to you via the opening graphical sequence of the game and then Hugh’s air car (which looks and flies really neat by the way), sets down on the rooftop of Simon Ruby’s apartment and you get out. Here starts the adventure to discover what is happening at Genesis Cryogenetic Enterprises.

The game has an excellent engine that runs smoothly and transitions quickly from one scene to the next. The graphics are of high quality and provide a vivid backdrop for this absorbing graphical adventure. The interface is quite intuitive. Take the cursor down to the bottom of the screen and the inventory pops up. You will have to remember a few other keys but this becomes second nature very quickly. F1 or ESC takes you to the options screen, where you can change settings or save and load games. F2 is the save hot key while F3 is the load hot key. That is it. With this information you are now ready to explore the world presented in Nightlong, Union City Conspiracy.

Getting the various items in your inventory to interact with each other and/or the environment involves a simple right click on the item and another right click on the item or object, either on screen or in your inventory and viola, you know the results. Sometimes you will get a message that the items have successfully interacted and sometimes ( many times for me hehe ) you get the message that says that the attempt failed. Take the very beginning of the game as a prime example of play. You walk into the lobby and try to enter the elevator, breaking the control box open in the process. Hmm, seems like the fuse is shot, but you now have a broken fuse in your inventory. If you picked up the gum wrapper from the floor of the roof-top parking lot, it is in your inventory and if you right click on the gum wrapper then right click on the broken fuse, you get a working fuse that can be put back into the elevator control box and get it functional, so you can get down to Simon Ruby’s apartment.

As with any graphical adventure, it is extremely important to scan every new area entered with the cursor to find objects that you can interact with. Like that silly little gum wrapper on the floor of the roof-top parking lot, you have to be sure to grab everything not nailed down. Without that you can’t fix the fuse and get on with the exploration of Simon Ruby’s apartment.

The cursor will change shape and make it obvious that the object it is over is something that can be interacted with. This means the object can either be picked up and put into your inventory for future use, or something you can open or use in some other way.

The environment is also very detailed so do not be too casual with your exploration. For example, in the entry area of the apartment, where the elevator is, there is also a set of mailboxes. If you move the cursor over them you get a message that indicates they are important. Trying the key you received earlier from Hugh Martens to open them will not work until you try it on the individual box that has Simon Ruby’s name on it. Then it opens to reveal more necessary information for your adventures.

Since those that like this kind of detective work usually don’t like a lot of help along the way I will not go any further into this game then I have already. The rest is for you to discover while solving the mysteries of Nightlong, Union City Conspiracy! But this game is a worthwhile addition to any would be sleuth’s game collection.

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