LTTP: Hellnight aka Dark Messiah ; Konami & Atlus' obscure horror gem

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
#1
Hey everyone, this is Dusk Golem aka AestheticGamer. I have posted on NeoGAF since 2011, and have decided to resign. I have enjoyed posting about horror games here for years, but I no longer wish to support the site and will be leaving for good. I will still be around the internet, I go by AestheticGamer on YouTube, I make games on Steam as Yai Gameworks, and I plan to go by Dusk Golem on other forums. I'll be joining an off-set of the GAF community leaving to try other ventures like ResetEra (Official Twitter for that here: https://twitter.com/reseteraforum ). I hope some of you who read this may consider it, and I plan to try to expose more people to horror games in the years to come. Just not here.

I hope you all are having a good day, and know I always loved the community, and in the end it's the community I'm going to stick with, not the site itself. If you want to follow me, my official Twitter is here: https://twitter.com/AestheticGamer1
 
#2
What a fantastic thread! I loved reading your description of the game's mechanics.

I have a bit of a trauma with horror games, so I tend to stay away from the really scary ones, but I still enjoy reading about the design of the most unique ones.

The way the monster works is absolutely genius. Despite the technical limitations of the time, it goes to show that creativity isn't bound by the times.


By the way, I can't help but smile at the fact that this is an ATLUS game that was released in Europe, but not in North America :p
 
#3
I started this a little while back and enjoyed it. Im not sure if its the type i can just jump back into and remember what i was doing. All i remember is that it was pretty intriguing. And that i got naomi killed ;_;

How long is it?
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
#4
Hey everyone, this is Dusk Golem aka AestheticGamer. I have posted on NeoGAF since 2011, and have decided to resign. I have enjoyed posting about horror games here for years, but I no longer wish to support the site and will be leaving for good. I will still be around the internet, I go by AestheticGamer on YouTube, I make games on Steam as Yai Gameworks, and I plan to go by Dusk Golem on other forums. I'll be joining an off-set of the GAF community leaving to try other ventures like ResetEra (Official Twitter for that here: https://twitter.com/reseteraforum ). I hope some of you who read this may consider it, and I plan to try to expose more people to horror games in the years to come. Just not here.

I hope you all are having a good day, and know I always loved the community, and in the end it's the community I'm going to stick with, not the site itself. If you want to follow me, my official Twitter is here: https://twitter.com/AestheticGamer1
 
#5
The game was made by Dennou Eizou Seisakusho and published by Atlus in Japan, they made another game: deSPIRIA for the Dreamcast which was a weird JRPG.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haFYZ29MrnI

Hellnight is definetly one of the most special horror games I played, it's similar to Enemy Zero in some ways, but the unique enemy and how he evolves is truly what defines this game over other, I still remember how you see thee first transformation and you have to run for your life, but the dude is fast! and you can get tired from running! so when I was opening the door to the exit I wouldn't know if he was gonna catch me or not. One of the most excelirating moments in my gaming life.
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
#6
Hey everyone, this is Dusk Golem aka AestheticGamer. I have posted on NeoGAF since 2011, and have decided to resign. I have enjoyed posting about horror games here for years, but I no longer wish to support the site and will be leaving for good. I will still be around the internet, I go by AestheticGamer on YouTube, I make games on Steam as Yai Gameworks, and I plan to go by Dusk Golem on other forums. I'll be joining an off-set of the GAF community leaving to try other ventures like ResetEra (Official Twitter for that here: https://twitter.com/reseteraforum ). I hope some of you who read this may consider it, and I plan to try to expose more people to horror games in the years to come. Just not here.

I hope you all are having a good day, and know I always loved the community, and in the end it's the community I'm going to stick with, not the site itself. If you want to follow me, my official Twitter is here: https://twitter.com/AestheticGamer1
 
#9
I actually had this game and your op brings back a lot of memories.

The setting was fairly intriguing and frightening yet I also thought that the game was mostly garbage. I don't know how to put it. While the ideas and setting were so unique and interesting, the game to me had 'crappy' written all over it.

Ironically I now want to give it another shot. You're killing me with you horror-topics, good work!
 
#10
So the monster grows dynamically? Like there are systems operating at all times (monster AI + NPC AI)? Or is the monster's change gated by player progress?
 
#12
So the monster grows dynamically? Like there are systems operating at all times (monster AI + NPC AI)? Or is the monster's change gated by player progress?
I guess it was the latter.

Dusk Golem, are there any general tips you could provide? I managed to find a cheap copy and will give this badboy a go next week. I remember that escaping the monster was fairly difficult but that could probalby have been due to my childish incompetence ;)

I watched some videos on youtube and you can definitely tell that Atlus made use of MegaTen assets. This or at least the dungeon crawling looks pretty similar to the first person MegaTens. Graphics and art looks horrible just as I remember them, lol. Can't wait.
 
#13
The monster changes based on player progress.

I picked this up several years ago and managed to be pretty scared. It's very crude and the monster itself isn't terribly scary to look at, but something about it just works. I didn't manage to beat it after it got quite difficult and ended up putting it on hold ... and still haven't picked it up again to this day. Someday. T

It took quite a while for it to appear on ebay for me as well (Japanese ver), so for those on the fence ... you might want to pick it up sooner rather than later.
 
#14
It took quite a while for it to appear on ebay for me as well (Japanese ver), so for those on the fence ... you might want to pick it up sooner rather than later.
This is actually true. I managed to buy a cheap copy (7€) at amazon.de but this is pretty much the only place which offers the game for cheap. ebay has like 2 copies but they are definitely overpriced. IMO I wouldn't pay more than 10€ for this, it's simply not worth it despite its uniqueness.
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
#15
Hey everyone, this is Dusk Golem aka AestheticGamer. I have posted on NeoGAF since 2011, and have decided to resign. I have enjoyed posting about horror games here for years, but I no longer wish to support the site and will be leaving for good. I will still be around the internet, I go by AestheticGamer on YouTube, I make games on Steam as Yai Gameworks, and I plan to go by Dusk Golem on other forums. I'll be joining an off-set of the GAF community leaving to try other ventures like ResetEra (Official Twitter for that here: https://twitter.com/reseteraforum ). I hope some of you who read this may consider it, and I plan to try to expose more people to horror games in the years to come. Just not here.

I hope you all are having a good day, and know I always loved the community, and in the end it's the community I'm going to stick with, not the site itself. If you want to follow me, my official Twitter is here: https://twitter.com/AestheticGamer1
 
#16
It's kind of required taste, but I didn't think anything about it was crappy really. The gameplay is rather simple, but I can't think of anything really bad about the game or any real flaws shoddy elements about it... Except this one segment where this really annoying song plays on loop for a while, since it's in more of a puzzle area. But I also think that simplicity and mixed with how, for example, character art can pop up suddenly while you're explore the first-person segments, can give off some "It had a low budget" vibes, but I also would say I think they used their budgeted feel immensely well and overcame things with interesting implementation.
I think the low-budget feel might have been the reason for my past experience. Additionally I remember that the reviews for the game were terrible with reviewers tearing the game apart. One reviewer gave the game 13%, called it a turd and ridiculed the monster design. With hindsight, this might have impacted my expectations and combined with the low-budget look, I easily wrote it off as trash. I don't even know why I wanted to buy it in spite of these reviews, but there was something about the game that made me want to have it.

I'm more than happy to give this game a second chance and it's cool that you created this OP, although hardly anyone knows the game. There is something intriguing about low-budget games with interesting ideas imo. At least I managed to finish Drakengard 1 which was in the same situation of having a 10 cent budged and a staple of unique ideas. Hellnight can't be worse gameplay-wise.

And thanks for the advice :)
 
#17
It basically did the whole "monster chasing after you in first person" thing before any other games made it popular like they are nowadays. The dev team that made this folded into ATLUS and worked on the mainline SMT remakes on PSX. It's one of the most underrated ATLUS games ever made and really eerie. I miss these kind of FMV horror/adventure games. The music was intentionally supposed to throw people off, since one of them has this mechanical/industrial sound that is constant so you can't even hear the monster's heaving breathing to tell where it is, since the "music" was really just a wave of sound.

And I don't get why people are saying it's garbage either? Maybe if they explained themselves instead of posting drive by shit posting? And the art was good, since it created this atmosphere of being in a dirty underground city with weird characters. The fact that the game is all corridors (like in their SMT games being in dungeons) meant that there's no open spaces to go hide and field of vision is so limited, so you're forever getting the feelings of tension, not knowing where the creature is. The consoles limitations and low budget of the game ended up working in the game's favour, imo. The last areas of the game are incredibly hard though, I mean geez it was harsh.

One of my favourite games on PSX and I like it more than Silent Hill 1 and Resident Evil 1.
 
#20
Sooooo, my copy came in yesterday and I made it pretty far. The mesh consists of three floors and I made it halfway through the second until I stopped. My experience so far has been 'okay'. It's not garbage but not particularly great either.

The layout gets more complicated the more you progress and at the same time, the walking distances become much longer. This coupled with the fact that the game involves some backtracking (feels like padding imo) and that your character has limited stamina renders the game pretty tedious. As a consequence the monster feels more like an annoyance which prevents me from getting to my destination as quickly as possible.

At the same time, the atmosphere is still good and I feel paranoid the whole time. They certainly put their $5 budget to good use. The area where I stopped yesterday seemed to be pretty scary so I'm still interested to see more.

The story so far is still pretty non-existant.
 
#21
Finished it an hour ago.

The last third was surely...something else lol. Didn't see that coming at all and for those wondering, the story takes a strange turn and becomes batshit insane. Definitely interesting albeit a bit silly if you give it too much thought. I really dug the atmosphere though.

Eventually the game remained okayish. I would've appreciated if the monster was more of a threat. OP makes it sound as if the monster was terrifying but to me that was as hardly the case as you can outrun it easily and there's often a saving door around the next corner. The last couple of areas were significantly harder (and annoying as fuck) which caused Naomi to die. Couldn't have given less fucks honestly.

All things considered I enjoyed my time with it but it also got quite tedious because of the backtracking and long ass hallways. However it is certainly a unique game which deserves more attention for what it does. And considering the effort the last area required my ending was a bit of a joke but oh well.

6/10

PS: the game apparently got a spiritual successor which is called deSPIRIA. Looks really fucked up and interesting but it unfortunately stayed Japan exclusive.
 
#22
Just finished this as my third game in a long list of spooky games I plan on playing all month. I liked it!

I've always liked the idea of a monster chasing you but not being able to fight back, but I felt it was always handled poorly in the games I've played e.g. Amnesia, White Day, Haunting Ground. Hellnight's the first game I've played where I felt it was successfully executed.

I also liked the light puzzle solving and maze-like level design. Kinda felt like an old PC game (maybe because it reminded me of Menzoberranzan a little). The last third of the game was really weird, but not necessarily bad. Unfortunately I got the Kamiya ending, the worst ending in the game. Figures.

Thanks for this thread.