Deep in the heart of 'Victorian London something awful is lurking, something nightmarish!
Picture if you will, London at night in the 19th Century. Weak light from the oil-fuelled street lamps casts strange shadows across the uneven cobbled surface of the narrow street. A solitary figure flits from shadow to shadow, his face shrouded in darkness. At the entrance to an alley he pauses, looks around to make sure that no-one has spotted him, and slips just inside to wait, the faint lamp light glittering softly on the knife in his hand. However, this cutpurse will have no luck tonight. Quite the opposite in fact.
Behind the thief, from the darkest shadows of the alleyway, a huge shape stirs. A long, distended arm reaches out silently and before the thief can utter a single scream, massive claws close around his throat, snapping his neck. With barely a sound, the man's body is dragged back into the darkest shadows...
This is what Nightmare Creatures should have been. An atmospheric, terrifyingly scary adventure set in the dark streets of Victorian London. The title conjures up all sorts of hideous images of horrific goings on, with the promise of spine-tingling suspense.
Unfortunately, what Nightmare Creatures actually delivers is a substandard scrolling beat-'em-up.
Rather than make the most of the potentially heart-pounding setting with loads of hideous surprises the developers, Kalisto have instead gone for a simplistic gameplay style which soon becomes boring. If you've played Resident Evil 2 or the Saturn then you'll know how it constantly surprises you, blending ingenious puzzles with sudden shocks to give you a real 'horror' experience. With Nightmare Creatures you have to make your way through a more-or-less linear map, repeatedly pounding a variety of malevolent but dull creatures.
Scary As A Cheese Sandwich!
Obviously a bit of thought has gone into the game. A convoluted plotline runs throughout the adventure in an attempt to give some semblance of a point to your violent excursions. It seems that for some considerable time a secret society has been experimenting with genetic viruses in an attempt to create a form of superhuman - just like Resident Evill Unfortunately; their attempts instead resulted in a virulent agent which turns people into mindless monsters - just like Resident Evill As a result, two intrepid adventurers - one male and one female - have got the task of trying to find the person or persons behind the virus and stopping it at its source -just like Resident Evill! Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
The only clue that our heroes have to the cause of the trouble is a name, Adam Crowley, and so they set off through London to track him down. Basically Nightmare Creatures is a prolonged chase. After each level the hero or heroine receives a clue or a glimpse of Crowley, but of course they don't actually meet him until the very end of the game.
Nightmare On Nintendo Street
Presumably the plan behind Nightmare Creatures was to focus on the beat-'em-up aspect, because what few puzzles there are very simple ones - usually along the lines of just flicking a switch or two. With this in mind, the two main characters in the game have a vast array of fighting moves with which to take on the multitude of monsters that they encounter. Some moves are fairly simple, others involve more complex controller button equations.
Sadly though, the majority of these moves are pretty much redundant. If the monsters in the game had more than one or two attacks then it might be different and real fights might actually be possible. However, the monsters simply come at you with the same repetitive attack and the best way to beat them is by repeatedly hammering the strike or kick button. If you make the effort to try any of the more complex moves, you just get knocked over. About the only concession the monsters make towards real combat is when they dodge you, but soon this too becomes repetitive and annoying.
In addition to their basic weapon, your character can collect guns, explosives and various magical items, some of which freeze or burn rampaging monsters. Whilst novel at first, these objects don't really add to the gameplay that much, the best thing being that they allow you to kill the monsters a little faster, thus decreasing the amount of time you have to spend being bored!
Death By Boredom!
Every few levels you encounter a boss monster. These range from ridiculously difficult to ridiculously easy. Strangely enough, the first boss you encounter is actually the most difficult to defeat, although this is primarily due to the awful responsiveness of the controls.
In addition to lousy controls - and in fact a contributing factor to them-another pain is the awful camera. It is totally autonomous and totally annoying. The view pans around in all directions seemingly at random, and as the controls change function depending on your character's orientation to the camera this can make both moving and fighting extremely difficult. You're running one way, for example, only to have the camera pan around and suddenly you're going in a completely different direction.
Nightmare Creatures could have been a tremendously atmospheric game. In fact if you changed the music (which isn't very spooky at all), the gameplay. the puzzles, the controls, the camera angles and plot, it might be. This game may very well be your worst nightmare turned into reality, but only if your nightmares involve paying money for awful N64 games.
2nd rating opinion
While it is good to see а PlayStation game getting the N64 makeover, it is a shame Activision have done it with such a lack of effort The game is just as monotonous as the original PSX title and no obvious improvements have been made. You'll have plenty of nightmares if you buy this tosh!
Nightmare Creatures DownloadsNightmare Creatures download
The longtime game company, Activision, has finally made the jump to the Nintendo bandwagon. While there may not be much of a bandwagon left, it is nice to see a fresh game publisher for any system. The first game that they have released is Nightmare Creatures. This game is a conversion of the PlayStation game of the same title that was released over a year ago. This is the first of a number of PSX ports that we will see from Activision. Is this a bad thing? Depends on your point of view.
Since the story of the game and the gameplay itself has not changed one bit from the PlayStation version, I will not spend hours re-writing this information but instead I will highlight the differences between the two versions of the game. So clickhere and read the PlayStation review to get the story and gameplay down and then come on back and I will tell you the differences.
Before I even get into the game itself, I need to say thanks to both Activision and Nintendo for not screwing this game up by censoring it. There is nothing terribly bad about the game except for the violence and gore but it is about time Nintendo let a game come out that didn't involve a cute character of some sort. This is the type of game that the N64 is sorely lacking and I think that the older gamers out there will really appreciate the fact that the game received a Mature rating and earned every bit of it. There would have been a real problem if the game was called Nightmare Creatures and you were killing giant flowers or something instead of monsters (hey, I would not have put it past Nintendo).
Okay, on with the game itself. One of the things that I said I really liked about the PSX version of the game was the cool monsters. As you can see by my above paragraph, all of these monsters were in this version of the game. There is no denying the fact that the developers have created a world full of creatures that would scare just about anyone.
One of my complaints in my PSX review was the difficulty level of the game. I had a pretty difficult time playing through the game. Even on the easy setting, the game was still a chore. Activision must have heard the cries from the public on this because they have done a couple of things to make the game a little easier for those who want it. First off, the easy setting is actually quite a bit easier. I think that gamers that may not be quite as skilled should still find easy challenging yet not impossible. The second thing they have done to ease the difficulty is they have added an option to turn off the adrenaline meter if you choose. This option alone makes all of the difference in the world. You can now spend the time carefully inspecting every nook and cranny without worrying about your adrenaline meter running out on you.
Another of my complaints was that the game had a tendency to be cheap and unfair at times. You could get behind a monster and hit away only to have it block every shot. This is something that the developers must think is realistic because it does the same thing in this version. I was really disappointed that it was not corrected. You be the judge: Do you think that it is realistic to be completely behind something, hitting and kicking only to have every blow blocked? How can something facing the other direction block your shots? I just don't get it.
My last complaint with the PSX version was the camera control. It was very difficult at times to get a decent camera angle and there were other times (usually in the middle of a battle) that the automatic view was useless. The worst part is you have no manual control over the camera. You are stuck with the automatic angle that the game gives you. I though that since this was a major complaint with almost everyone on the PSX version that the developers would have spent some time trying to correct the problem. Unfortunately they did not and it is still a problem in this version.
Not bad yet not great. I think they did a great job with the graphics on the PSX version at the time it was released (over a year ago) but they look very similar on the N64 version. It is a year later and a more powerful system but the look is very similar. You will not suffer from some of the slow down issues that were in the PSX version and it does look like things may be a tiny amount more detailed but it is nothing that will blow you away. Either they did a great job and were way ahead of the times graphically with the PSX version or the N64 version is nothing special.
This is basically the same game as the PSX version. If you already own it, there is really no reason to spend the money on this game. I did give it a higher score than the PSX version because I think that there is nothing else like this game on the N64 so it gets some N64 originality points. If you only have an N64 and you are looking for a game that does not star a mascot, sports player or plumber, I suggest checking the game out. It does have some problems but if you can look past them, you should enjoy this game.
It is a foggy night on the streets of London. The squeak of rats scurrying about is suddenly overpowered by the screech and cry of a wolf exploding out of waiting, to attack you under the illumination of gas streetlights. This is the world of Nightmare Creatures. It centers on the pursuit of one Adam Crowley, a demented scientist who plots to take control of the city of London by releasing a bizarre plague that causes the inhabitants to mutate into hideous monsters under his command. The player can choose to hunt this villain down as Father Ignatius Blackward, a religious man with hefty black boots and a staff, or as Nadia F., a fencer, gymnast, and Lara Croft wannabe (but with more clothing). Standing in their way are legions of beasts ranging from traditional werewolves and zombies, to weird giant octopi, and rats, culminating in gargoyles and hellhounds.
When I first heard of Activision and Kalisto's Nightmare Creatures, I was intrigued by the idea of a gothic action adventure set in Victorian London. With the glut of 3D games on the market seemingly more obsessed with the variety of weapons available to characters than story and mood, I thought this game could be something different. Unfortunately, a good concept does not always translate into a good game. After a thrilling start of creepy noises and scary monsters, it slowly dissolved into a rather run-of-the-mill kick-and-punch fest.
The monsters provide the focal point of gameplay. Although there is some problem solving, such as moving switches or toppling posts, it is mainly a straightforward action game where you duke it out with the creatures, only stopping long enough to worry about your health and adrenaline levels. I would like to have seen more done with the interesting Victorian settings they created, especially in terms of more non-combat puzzles. Often I felt I wanted to wander off down some dark passageway or open one of the doors along the back streets, only to have it act like a brick wall. Despite the detail of the scenery, I would not advise stopping to admire it, as the game has a built-in incentive to keep hacking, kicking, and punching the monsters without stop -- Ignatius and Nadia are both infected with Crowley's plague, so if they stop fighting, their adrenaline levels drop and the plague begins to drain away their health. Each character is allowed to do some interesting kicks and swings, such as the Scottish Backhand or the Bloody Ballerina. Some of these combinations produce rather spectacular leaps and flourishes of sword and staff that separate heads, arms and legs from the monsters. In the end, however, repeatedly hitting the control key or the space bar gets rather old after a while.
This leads to one of the most disappointing aspects of the game: the controls. It took me some time to get used to the odd set of keys required, such as Left-Control for Strike (the manual just says "Ctrl") and Number Pad 0 for Jump. I also had to discover, on my own, that the Strike command would also pick up objects, because they decided to bury that information in the section of the manual on Power Ups (items) and not the basic list of Game Controls. To make matters worse, I also tried to change the default setting for Jump from the Numeric Keypad 0 to something else, and the game decided that I had entered some sort of joypad key. I had to reinstall the game to restore the controls to a state where I could use them. In addition, the camera perspective compounded the interface problems, as some times you would have a view from behind you character's back and other times a frontal view of your character. As you entered areas, you would have to turn your character around and head back the other direction before the view switched back to a forward looking view. This is particularly annoying when there are monsters behind your character! Sometimes I'd have to attack blindly until the camera angle changed enough to finally see my character properly in relation to the attacking monsters. All in all, the controls for the game are adequate at best, while being occasionally frustrating.
The monsters in Nightmare Creatures get top billing for a reason, as they are one of the most interesting visual elements in the game. The designers took full advantage of the macabre effect of applying skins to polygonal shapes. In addition to their horrifying appearance, the bloody dismemberment of the monsters' bodies helps to effectively set the mood of the game. Separating a zombie's head from his torso and his legs from the rest of the body in one fell swoop is a common occurrence and nifty to look at, but I was particularly impressed when a four-armed beast kept coming at my character even after I had lopped off two arms.
The Victorian London buildings, streets, carriages, sewers, and streetlights are well done, especially rendered in a muted color palette of ochre greens, muddy reds, and drab grays. To truly appreciate the graphics you will need a 3dfx card and a fast system. If you attempt to play with full acceleration on a system lacking the necessary hardware you will pay the consequences in battle where speed is very important. On the downside, some of the animations, such as the destruction of wooden crates that contain useful items, were rather disappointing, lacking the cinematic look of the rest of the game.
At times the music and background noises combine to create truly scary moments in this game. After playing several hours, I was still startled by the crate-exploding entrance of yet another zombie, as it moaned toward my character. Unfortunately, this highly effective use of sound is not consistent throughout the game. There are certain points where the music becomes rather repetitive and others when it sounds like a refugee from the late '80s heavy metal scene.
The manual consists of a simple CD-ROM insert booklet that adequately covers the basics of the game. It details the different key combinations of each character and includes a catalog of the helpful items, such as guns and healing orbs, which are hidden in wooden crates throughout the streets and sewers of London. Despite some brief background information, I was disappointed that they did not include more atmospheric materials, perhaps a newspaper explaining the situation.
Enemy AI and Difficulty
Nightmare Creatures has two levels of difficulty -- easy and hard. The major difference between the two is the number of healing orbs that are found on each level. On the hard setting, the monsters tend to be slightly less likely to lapse into stupid combat tactics, as they move and dodge more effectively, attack in numbers when possible, and retreat when obviously at a disadvantage.
Required: Windows 95, Pentium (133 MHz or higher recommended), 16 MB RAM, 1 MB SVG video card, 16-bit sound card, 2X CD-ROM drive, 20 MB of uncompressed hard disk space, mouse.
Reviewed On: Pentium II-266, 64 MB RAM, 20X CD-ROM drive, Matrox Millennium (4 MB), Integrated Yamaha sound card and Pentium-133, 32 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM drive, Sierra Screamin' 3D, SoundBlaster 32.
Nightmare Creatures offers some truly horrifying monsters and lush scenery, but fails to effectively sustain or capitalize on the macabre mood the graphics and the soundtrack created when the game begins. Gameplay focuses too much on combat, ignoring the potential of other avenues of adventures in its evocative Victorian London setting. The most disappointing aspect of the game is its rather awkward controls, which make some of the more basic actions, such a jumping or turning around, a complete nightmare. It also lacks multiplayer support. However, if you are looking for pure arcade-style hack and slash fun, such as spin-kicking a zombie into two pieces, this might be a game you want to check out.
Let me set the scene. An evil band of thugs called the Brotherhood of Hecate have been rumored to be attempting to create a race of stronger and more powerful humans. The research process included mixing many different diseases together to create the super humans. As with every good horror story, the experiments backfired and instead of creating super humans, they created monsters. They had no alternative but to release the monsters into the streets of London to infect the citizens whom they would have control over. The plan might have worked if it were not for Samuel Pepys, one of the members of the Brotherhood. He saw the terror and havoc that was being unleashed by the brotherhood and decided it was up to him to stop it. Samuel set fire to the warehouse that contained all of the information, research and members of the Brotherhood. This was the end of the line.
Set the calendar 170 years later (1834). A plague is spreading trough the London streets, causing mutations of the citizens. A book is left at the doorsteps of an expert in occult. The book was translated to become the writings of Samuel Pepys. It turns out he had kept a detailed journal, including the formula to create the mutated monsters. He mailed this formula to a friend who worked in immunology. Upon receipt of the formula, the doctor set out to London to discover the origin. His daughter came on the trip to help find the solution. Before anything can happen, the doctor is murdered and the diary is stolen. At his funeral, a man hands a note to the daughter that makes reference to Adam Crowley of the Brotherhood with an address at the bottom. The note is from the occult expert. It is decided that one of you will set out to find Adam Crowley, avenge the death of the doctor and rid the streets of the growing population of the monsters.
Quite a story, eh? I usually don't devote that much space to the story line of a game but since this one is so cool, I though it was worth going over. Anyway, Nightmare Creatures is a battle through 16 levels of zombies, creatures and beasts. If you are faint of heart or squeamish, you may as well take this game back to the store because I have not seen anything this graphically disturbing since Blood Omen: The Legacy of Kain.
So that sure is a neat story--but if you wanted a story, you would rent a movie or buy a book, right? You are looking for a game and want to know if you have found one worth your while. The answer to that question is a resounding it depends. I will try and drop out all of the information so you can make the call on whether this game is up your alley or not.
Nightmare Creatures is a difficult game to describe. Playing the game could be considered a cross between a 3D fighting game and a 3D action adventure title. I know this sounds a bit weird but it is actually a great idea. Instead of how most action adventure games limit you to mostly weapons or an occasional punch or kick, this game gives you a full arsenal of punches, kicks, combo attacks as well as different weapons. This added a whole new feeling and deminsion to this type of game. So, instead of running back and shooting your enemies, you must face them head on and defeat them with your fighting skills.
Just because physical combat is such a large part of the game, it does not mean that you will not find your fair share of weapons along your way. You will find guns, multi shot guns, mines, potions and dynamite (my personal favorite). This means that if you have a particularly tough enemy, you can always take a few steps back, whip out your gun and pop a cap in its ass. Ignatius, the master of occult, carries a staff at all times that makes for a lethal weapon. Nadia, the doctor's daughter, caries a small sword type weapon with her which is also good for chopping zombies in half (more on this later).
A good deal of the gameplay is exploration. You will fight more than your share of baddies but in between, you will find many items in boxes, behind doors and by breaking out windows. There are also areas hidden behind bushes and other objects that you must chop down or kick out of the way before you can access them. You must be very careful on your exploration because you have what is called an adrenaline meter. This is different from your life meter. The adrenaline meter is a gauge for the amount of adrenaline in your system. The only thing that is keeping the player from transforming into a mutated monster is the adrenaline flow in the blood stream. If a player goes to long without fighting, this level will start to go down until your player is killed. How do you in think you replenish your adrenaline meter? Easy, just kill a monster and it fills back up. The tough part, if you are exploring, ends up being trying to find a monster that you have not already chopped in half (once again, more on this later).
I keep saying "more on this later" and later has arrived. The coolest thing about this game is the monsters you will battle and encounter. I think I will go out on a limb here and say that there is no game out there that will rival the mutants you go up against in this game. Sure, you have your standard zombies but where the game really shines is the other monsters. You will get to fight werewolves, flying demons, three-armed slicing monsters, a giant rock-like dude, huge insects, an octopus looking freak, giant flying winged women, giant rats, a huge spider, faceless men, gargoyles and finally Hellhounds. Now that is one cast of ugly characters. Each of these bad guys is mean in its own right. All of them look awesome and are vicious.
The thing that is even better than the sheer amount of different enemies is the different deaths you can inflict. You can just keep kicking monsters until they end up in a pool of their own blood. You can shoot them to get the job done quickly. These are all fine but what is really cool is when you use your sword or staff and cut a zombie clean in half. The top part flies off in one direction while the bottom goes another. On other monsters, you can isolate a particular area, like the arm and keep attacking. Eventually, the arm will sever and fall to the ground while the monster is still attacking. My favorite was throwing dynamite because you would almost always sever some limbs but not kill the enemy. Sure this is sickening but it is Activision's subtle way of reminding us that if we play with dynamite, we may end up blowing off body parts.
If you would have stopped reading at the above paragraph, you should be questioning the overall score I gave the game. Everything sound great and who would not love this game? Unfortunately, this game has a few flaws. Most notably, the difficulty. I always say that this is the year of the sequel. I guess if your game is not a sequel, you have to make it incredibly hard. From the first screen in the first level to the very end, you will be pulling out your hair in frustration because the game is so damn hard. I will say that once I started using the block button more, it became a little easier but it was still a pain. If you set the difficulty to easy, you stand a small chance. If you play on hard, good luck! I know I have said this before but I need to say it again. I am all for a challenge but don't make it impossible. I think that some people may give up on the game before they really get into the good parts because it is so hard.
Another thing that bothered me about this game was that it was cheap and unfair. I hate games that are not fair. Let me give you a perfect example. I was fighting against one of the three-armed dudes and he was kicking the crap out of me (very common occurrence). Somehow, I managed to get behind him so I had an open shot at his back. I started laying blows on his back as he was trying to run from me. Guess what? He blocked every one. How in the hell could he block those hits when he was facing the opposite direction? And the best part of the whole thing is that when my back is to a monster and they attack, even if I hit the block button, he will hit me every time. This was not fair and very frustrating. The monsters were tough enough and did not need any advantage.
The last thing that bothered me about this game was the awkward camera angles. There were times that I did not know which direction to push the controller to move. The camera would also get stuck behind the corner of a wall or building making it impossible to see where you were or where the monster was that was proceeding to kick your ass. Once again, this made the game even more difficult and it really did not need help in that department.
The graphics were quite well done. In a few cases, they were a bit dark but on the whole, I was very impressed. The enemies all looked super cool, especially when they were chopped in half or had their arms blown off by dynamite. The environments were all scary but were easy to follow and differentiate between objects.
This could have been a game of the year candidate. It is definitely one of the most original games you will play and it is worth a rental just to see the cool monsters. I was disappointed in the difficulty and camera angle problems because it took away from the fun a bit. It was frustrating that the monsters could block with their backs but you couldn't. All in all, if you are up for a serious challenge and love horror stuff, you will really enjoy this game. If horror is not your thing and tough games just make you mad, you still need to rent it just to see the zombie get chopped in half. That never gets old.