Reviewed on PC

OMINOUS HORIZONS: A Paladin's Calling

Reviewed By: Tim Emmerich

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: N-Lightning
Price Range: $25-35
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Teen

Genre: Action/Adventure
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (nothing offensive)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 4 of 5
   (barely present)
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Even Better than Catechumen

For Christians, this game is astounding! Similar to God's call for you to walk in the light, “Ominous Horizons” calls a young man to a great quest. To right a wrong dealt by evil. Someone has broken into Gutenberg's shop and stolen the Bible master for the printing press!

Box art for 'Ominous Horizons' Of course, they damaged the press as well. It turns out this little thief (Nemesis) is working for the prince of thieves, Satan. To make matters worse, they've literally scattered the Bible across the world. Further, they've set up defenses for each part of the Bible, utilizing local animals and people as well as other evil forces. And so tells the opening cinematic.

While the quest sounds bleak, put your faith in God. By recovering the Bible, Gutenberg's faith will be restored and he will repair the printing press. The priest will provide you with the sword of the spirit. Along the way, you can find angels that will enhance the capability of the sword. There are two other weapons that can be obtained: the crossbow and staff. These are also unique as they can be equipped with different ammunition.

Specifically, the crossbow has four different kinds of bolts and the staff has three varieties. Be frugal with this ammo as it is limited but your sword isn't, it recharges quickly.

Screenshot from 'Ominous Horizons' There is a training area that will acquaint you with control of your character. It will cover running, jumping, climbing, swimming, shooting at stationary and moving targets, and avoiding obstacles. Upon completion of the training, you are awarded the Cross of Hope. It is a necklace with a cross that protects your faith from evil. It also serves as your “faith meter” in the lower left part of the screen during the game. If you get hit by evil, it is depleted some while picking up the scriptures will increase it. This is similar to other game's life meters.

You could start the quest now, but instead look around town. One piece of the armor is hidden somewhere in Mainz. Plus, if you find the basement key for the tavern owner, he rewards you with a spirit cross. There are four varieties of crosses that can be used to give you special abilities when you need them the most.

Rated 'Exceptional' by Shepherd Staff Shepherd's Staff rates “Ominous Horizons” as exceptional.

Once you are ready to begin, go into the church's basement. The priest has opened a portal that will transport you to the first location, Mesa Verde in North America. Here you will navigate the old buildings and find your way to the caverns underneath. There you will be taunted by the Nemesis, that little thief that stole the Bible. Then your faith and strength will be tested as you battle bats, sand golems and the legendary Thunderbird to try and recover the segment of the Bible that is hidden here. Once you accomplish that, you can return via another portal that opens up.

There are six more parts of the Bible to recover, so don't celebrate yet. There are lots more places to explore and some locations have portals to other areas. During your quest, you will visit: Egypt, Scottish Highlands, Japan, Mayan Temple, Haunted House, and the "Underworld". Plus, look for side-quests that can net you some goodies. For instance, within Mesa Verde, help the Indian locate his tribe's artifact and he will reward you.

Even though “Ominous” plays like a first person shooter, there are several adventure elements mixed in. Such as interacting with in-game characters, choosing to follow side-quests, and collecting of items. In fact, there are spots that you may stop and ask "Is this an Indiana Jones movie?".

The default control are a combination of the mouse and keyboard. The game even takes advantage of a scroll wheel if your computer mouse has one. Further, a joystick can be used. All of this can easily be reconfigured, changing a key to the function you prefer. This includes the volume level for music and sound.

Attention to detail is a strength of "Ominous Horizons". The scene props are detailed and appropriate. Some areas could've used more. The paintings or other wall decorations are well-done, especially so considering the age of the 3D engine. I want to emphasize this point. In Mesa Verde, you are surrounded by drab colors and underground tunnels. In Egypt, the colorful murals on the walls are beautifully done, look authentic and at times, made me stop just to admire them.

Other design details that are knitted together nicely is the Nemesis being in town at the tavern prior to the start of your travels. He is apparently distraught with his deeds. However, once you travel, he is there along the way to taunt you.

Perhaps the best contribution that helps immerse you into the game is the excellent music! It really helps to convey the mood. The various sound effects contribute their part to the experience. The immersion is so real at times, you may get goose bumps!

Where can players and parents object?
Some may not like combat, even if it is fighting evil forces. Readers of the Word will realize spiritual battles are occurring all the time. Physical battles took place in the Bible.

If your child will be playing “shooting” games anyway, I recommend they play the games from N-Lightning. They will get some exposure to scriptures and the warm feeling of triumphing over evil. Or even praying as they try to defeat a particularly tough foe.

The beginning town has a tavern, but you don't do any drinking. N'Lightning would not have been true to history without a tavern in the 1400s in Germany! You, as the player, are not required to drink. There are very few patrons and none are boisterous drunks.

Go and buy it
In summary, most players will find “Ominous Horizons” a fun and challenging game. If it isn't challenging enough, be sure to increase the difficulty level when starting a new game. Christians will enjoy playing this quest to overcome evil and spread the good news! Consider buying this game and supporting a Christian game development company. At a bare minimum, download the demo and give it a try.

Year of Release—2001

Positive—I know that you can't always judge a game by it's demo but here is my take on it. Visually the game is quite attractive. The characters look good and I especially like the Star Gate affect of the arrival and departure of the enemy's. The design was well thought out and it looked good overall. Game play is a bit odd as you don't know when you have “defeated” an enemy that you are facing. They do the Star Gate affect and then a purple sparkling happens and they disappear. The one thing that made me stop playing is the fact that the player seems as though he is 8 feet tall in a 9 foot room. When you jump the feeling is not as “real” as a quake, half-life, or unreal type FPS. I do love the fact that there are Christian game creators out there working hard to put out high quality work such as this game. If the jumping issue weren't such a bother to me this would definitely be a title for my shelf. One other thing is the lack of multiplayer. Most games survive because of longevity. Without multiplayer option [I just don't know how much longevity this title has]… My Ratings: [4/3]
   —Rhasan Wafer, age 25

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

Christian Spotlight Guide2Games is part of Christian Answers. Copyright © Films for Christ. • “Christian Spotlight’s Guide to Games” and “Guide2Games” are service marks of Films for Christ.

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