Nox: Attack of the Diablo Clones

Score: 82/100

Published on August 3, 2023 By Johny Bonedry


Though not the most original game to enter the market, Nox certainly was one of the most entertaining Diablo clones.


I'll get the obvious out of the way right now. Every magazine and web site is going to say it, and you'll probably see it printed a thousand times. Nox is a Diablo clone. There, I got that out of the way. Of course, the question is not whether or not the game tries to copy Diablo, but whether or not it does a good job, or brings anything new to the table. Die-hard Diablo fans might think otherwise, but in my opinion, without a doubt, this game is entertaining, and in some ways it is an improvement on its inspiration.

I remember not being sure about this one at first. I loved the original so much I wasn't sure the sequel would hold up. I was wrong, as I fell in love right away, mainly because of how it iterated on the original. One of the notable innovations in Donkey Kong Junior is the role reversal. In the original Donkey Kong, players controlled Mario as he ventured to rescue Pauline from the clutches of Donkey Kong. However, in Donkey Kong Junior, players now take control of Donkey Kong's son, the titular character, on a mission to save his captive father from Mario's clutches. This shift in perspective brought a fresh twist to the gameplay and added depth to the Donkey Kong narrative.

One of the first things to note is that Diablo is a three-year-old game. Of course another company can improve on the formula. There have been numerous technological advances in the last three years, particularly in graphics, but Nox's strong suit is not its visuals. It's in its ability to whittle away hours. That's what made Diablo so successful; it was an hour burner. Nox does the same, and it does it with a tongue and cheek style not seen in this genre too often.

It seems that in the land of Nox, there were a group of Necromancers who kept the normal people suppressed through their ability to raise the dead to do their bidding. There were conflicts, and the humans won out, destroying all of the Necromancers, putting their souls into an orb, and casting it to another universe. During this time, an infant Necromancer was found, and it was saved by a warm-hearted human. Years later, the infant has grown up, and she is about to return to the way of her ancestors. She retrieves the orb in a comical opening scene, taking a member of the trailer park elite through the portal with it. This is where you begin, on a quest to defeat the Necromancer in order to return home.

Okay, so the story isn't instantly engaging, but it is entertaining. You choose a class, either a wizard, a warrior, or a conjurer. I like the conjurer the best, because you can cast spells, wield a few weapons, and summon beasts to walk by your side. At an intermediate level, you can convert an enemy monster to your side, and they will hunt for enemies, guard a position, or escort you through a dungeon. There are plenty of times when such extra firepower shifts the outcome of a battle to your favor. I think Westwood could have included a few more classes, but I suspect an expansion pack will offer more. Each class is well defined, however, and the spell effects are superb throughout the game.

After you choose a class, you set out on your first adventure, finding the town master of your class, and you are on your way. The game is easy to get into, with simple controls. It's not too often that I find a game that uses straightforward controls. The game is intuitive in this regard, offering a challenge for experienced players and simple enough to not alienate new gamers.

From a graphics standpoint, I have to say that Nox is a mixed bag. When compared to Diablo, the game stands well above it, with crisp colors and non-grainy graphics. Compared to other games on the market, however, it appears a bit dated, with nothing to stand out visually and make this game a technical marvel. Of course, it doesn't need to be. The graphics work fine (except for when you bump the resolution, and see the graphics shrink in the process) and do not do anything to impede gameplay. That's all you can ask for thesedays.

In order for a game to go toe to toe with Diablo, it has to offer addictive multiplay. Diablo's multiplay was more addictive than crack with no side effects. Nox offers free multiplay through Westwood's server, and you get a list of game types and ping times after the server is queried. You can have team play, deathmatch, capture the flag, and just about any other variation of multiplay available. The best was capture the flag, and though I experienced some slowdown, most of the games were fast enough to be enjoyable. Kudos to Westwood for including this element almost flawlessly. Though it might not as great as Diablo was (mainly because Diablo's multiplay was thrust upon an unsuspecting public) it still is entertaining.

To finish off the other aspects of the game, I'll tell you that the sound is just a notch above good, with great spell sounds and battle effects. I love games with good sound, and Nox satisfies my aural cravings without making me say wow.