Nightmare Creatures © 1998 Activision, Incorporated.
Horrifying creatures and stomach-turning battles are hidden behind every dark corner in Nightmare Creatures, a chilling adventure from the demented folks at Activision.
The first thing that will strike you (besides a bloodthirsty zombie) is the game's phenomonal graphics. The character graphics are crisp and the animation sequences are fluid. Buildings and terrain are textured realistically, and the overall gloomy atmosphere will keep you feeling uneasy throughout the entire game.
The N64 is not known for an eerie library of gruesome games, but Nightmare Creatures and Konami's Castlevania have changed that reputation forever. Although gore for gore's sake is not necessarily unheard of in the gaming industry, Nightmare Creatures provides an engrossing story line that a distorted method to the violent madness.
The developers coordinated the story of this game with a true historic event: London's Great Fire of 1834. The premise is that a secret organization called the Brotherhood of Hecate rediscovered the lost key to the darkest regions of man's unholiest fears. This act produced a rip in the supernatural fabric, which mutated the Earth's creatures and unleashed demons from other planes of existence.
Luckily for London, two warriors were brave enough to face the grotesque creatures and confront the leader of the Brotherhood. One was a noble staff-wielding monk named Ignatius and the other was a female master of swordsmanship known as Nadia.
The storyline becomes more involved as you progress through the 16 different shadowy levels of the game. Activision created these areas by using actual maps and blueprints of London, so the visual impact evokes the feeling of the city in 1834. Activision's attention to detail is evident in the ornate archways and crumbling cobblestones found throughout the levels.
The game does not support two player action, but you can choose either Ignatius or Nadia to take on the Brotherhood. The game mixes combat elements of tournament fighting games with the exploratory nature of 3D adventure titles.
Between the two heroes, there are 28 different combos, hits and special weapons to use against the ugly groups of bloodthirsty baddies. Special weapons like pistols, burst guns, fire bombs, mines, and confusion spells are hidden in barrels and secret areas of the game.
You will have to figure out a strategy for each different type of enemy, because these mutated demons are not dumb. The creatures have excellent AI, so they will not simply allow you to hack them to pieces. They block your attacks, back up at inopportune moments, and seem to wait for the perfect opening to attack.
Using special weapons like the pistol will immediately put an end to most creatures (some, however, can still attack with their heads missing), but hand-to-hand combat requires patience and use of the block button.
The enemies were designed with multipoint collision detection for each body region (arms, head, legs and torso), which allows them to chase you even if they've lost the use of a limb or two. Evil creatures range from the obligatory army of zombies to wildly creative enemies that are truly repulsive.
The camera does a good job of providing artistic views of the beautifully designed environments, but sometimes its position makes it difficult to easily fight the enemies. Animation sequences take place when certain tasks are performed, and these frightening displays improve the cinematography and general tone of the game.
If you get queasy with the sight of blood or spook easily, then you may want to steer clear of this title. If you love pure horror and butcher-shop brutality, then Nightmare Creatures will be an excellent addition to your game collection.
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