Nerves of Steel
Nerves of Steel is a first-person shooter video game co-developed by Rainmaker Software (the same developers behind Isle of the Dead) and BnB Software. It was published by Merit Studios in 1995 for MS-DOS computers in an attempt to improve its reputation after the disaster of Fortress of Dr.Radiaki. The Atari Jaguar port was planned for the same year, but it was cancelled.
The game sets in the near future in Southeast Asia where the wicked regime of Kim Dung Moon begins pushing its agenda of world-wide indoctrination called the "purification". Moon plans to carry out this plan through a system of elaborate tunnels called the "Iron Triangle". The player must infiltrate this tunnel system and defeat all soldiers and monsters in their path to stop Kim Dung Moon's evil plans.
Why It Sucks
- The entire gameplay is a cheap Wolfenstein 3D rip-off.
- The menu is poorly done. It just consists of the menu with all the options available with some in-game pictures in the background. It is normal in the MS-DOS FPS era, but the designers were so lazy that instead of making some decent artworks or even game captures that can reflex the quality of the game, they decided to take whole screenshots of the game that include the HUD. And even worse, for some reason the "options" menu is located above all the remaining menus, making it look unorthodox.
- Incredibly god-awful graphics that cause eye-bleeding, if you stare at them for too long, most of the wall and floor textures look pretty grainy and are so dark that they look similar to the coal block texture from Minecraft. It's worth mentioning that the game claims of having "animated backgrounds", but these backgrounds have a really ugly color palette and they look really hideous.
- Walking can cause the textures to flicker a lot, you can even start to feel dizzy because of this.
- As if the abysmal graphics of the game weren't enough, the sprites are very poorly-detailed and it's worth to mention that some of the enemy sprites, like the walking or the dying sprites are reskinned from the original DOOM sprites.
- The backgrounds shown after you finish a level are awful and most of the times they will have no relation with the levels, they're just a bunch of random drawings that seem to be made by a young kid.
- Weird perspective that makes some of the weapons and enemies look extremely large. For instance, some enemies are of the same height as a single room.
- The level layout is horrible and it can get unintentionally cryptic at times because of the abuse of fake walls that look the same as the normal solid walls and vice versa, while this could be great for secret areas, the problem is that these walls are placed in zones where the player must cross through to advance further in the game, and by instinct, the players will not try to pass through this apparent fake walls. It's possible that the main reason of why there are so many fake walls is because the developer studio was too lazy or the budget was too low to make a decent door collision detection and the respective animations for opening and closing them, but even these fake walls are so poorly programmed that sometimes you can cause the textures to not load properly, leading you to an infinite void or even clip you out of the stage by accident.
- Speaking of cryptic design, in the first level there is one room where you must open a stone wall, but nothing seems to open it and there aren't any keys or cards nearby. To open this wall, you must shoot two supercomputers placed in one of the walls of the same room, how are you supposed to know that in first instance?
- The collision detection is so poorly-done that you can't walk on the edges of the walls, like if some kind of magnetic force prevented you to do this, it only gets worse in the 45 degree walls or the narrow hallways, because you need to be very precise to move through them and not getting stuck.
- Most of the weapons handle in a very strange way, for example, the fire rate of the pump action shotgun is so insanely fast that it resembles more of a semi-automatic shotgun that moves spastically after one shot is fired, the revolver doesn't make a better job, because its handling feels more like shooting an automatic 9mm pistol rather than a high caliber revolver.
- The controls somehow feel sluggish and very sensitive at the same time, something unacceptable for an FPS game.
- Connecting a mouse will not improve the controls because the game will barely register its movements, which means that the controls will get incredibly unresponsive.
- The game will begin instantly right after you select the difficulty or you get to the next level, meaning that you can get shot after only a few milliseconds you started the game.
- Very little variety of enemies available.
- Terrible AI, most of the enemies won't do anything regardless how many times you shoot them and they also seem to have troubles at navigating through the maps, as they frequently get stuck or walk around like idiots, also, they can't open doors to chase you, exposing even more how incompetent the developers were.
- The game doesn't even has a basic hitscan function, and because of this, most of the times the enemies will have a terrible accuracy and damage and you will feel like they're using airsoft guns instead of real weapons, even at pointblank range.
- Only one boss battle in the entire game, and of course, this battle is really boring and lackluster.
- An abysmal amount of bugs and glitches caused by the poor programming of the game, some of them can even break the whole game or make the things harder than they should be. The cyborg enemies are the worst offenders, because their sprites will often disappear for an irregular time pattern and they will shoot you continuosly, leading to a lot of cheap and unfair deaths.
- The game is very propense to crash, and all of that crashes are attributed to the same thing: a divide by zero fault.
- There is an option to control the player's speed, but it doesn’t work consistently. Sometimes the game will apply the changes instantly and sometimes you might have to reload a save file in order to get them to take effect. And even worse, the game exaggerates too much your character’s speed, making it nearly impossible to run away from an enemy ambush or to walk so fast that you can't even move adequately.
- The teleporters look exactly the same as an ordinary switch and the only way to discover the difference is by trial-and-error, you can only activate a switch or you can teleport to a room full of enemies, which can be desorienting and even dangerous if you're low on ammo and/or health.
- There are some levels that consist of a maze with several rooms that contain a select number of teleporters on each wall and you will have to find your way around, but this is all about trial and error, because these rooms are nearly identical and certain teleporters can send your character back to the beginning of the stage, and if that happens, you can’t double back to choose another teleporter.
- Dull and forgettable soundtrack.
- The ending just consists of an insipid sequel hook, and of course, that sequel was never produced because the studio shut down a few months later.
- The box art looks great.
- Unlike Isle of the Dead, the map here is actually useful (except for the teleporters).
- It's one of the first FPS games that used 45 degree angles for the level design.
- The illumination effects of the candles are kinda impressive for its time.
Nerves of Steel is oftenly considered one of the worst first-person shooter video games of all the times. Most of the reviewers complain majorly about the awkward controls and the horrible graphics. On MobyGames, the game has a rating of 0.9 out of 5, making it one of the lowest rated video games on the site.