Nightmare Creatures review by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti
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Company LineDOZENS OF LOCAL CITIZENS have been maimed, brutally slain or have disappeared altogether amid fantastical reports that monsters have taken over the city. Hysterical reports of zombies, harpies, werewolves and giant insects effortless ly ripping humans to shreds offer the only explanation for the pools of blood and pulpy stumps that have littered the streets in recent days.
As fantastic as the accounts of frightful monsters might seem, they are not entirely beyond the realm of possibility, according to Nigel Billings, Professor Emeritus of History at Cambridge University. "My research has revealed that beginning in 1660, a secret society calling itself the Brotherhood of Hecate was believed to have conducted experiments in live tissue creation," said Prof. Billings. "Contemporary reports have it that gruesome creatures -- the demon spawn of these experiments gone awry - - killed scores of Englishmen. All traces of these early experiments and monsters, however, were wiped out in the Great Fire of London in 1666."
The game is a mixture of an arena fighting game with complex moves and an adventure game where items must be found and clues deciphered to eventually rid London of the evil menace of monsters and mahem.
There are two levels of difficulty easy and hard. The easy level has on screen hints for fighting moves that may help you defeat specific creatures. Basically the difficulty of the monsters is not varied but you have hints in the easy level.
Buttons and levers open up new areas with new monsters as you progress.
The setting is 1830 gaslight London, where one of two protectors of the city battle hordes of fantastic monsters that have driven most of the city inhabitants and the police underground in terror. The monsters are caused by the Brotherhood of Hecate. In 1660, this Hecate secret society conducted tissue creation experiments, resulting in demon spawn. The monsters had disappeared until the Brotherhood of Hecate is revived in 1830 by Adam Crowley. Now the demon spawn creatures are back and all hell brakes loose.
The city protectors encounter 21 unique monster types, each with its own attack techniques and sophisticated, unpredictable artificial intelligence. Just when they think it's all over, one of four powerful, hulking bosses await them at the end of certain levels, testing absolute weapons and move-mastery.
One cannot but enjoy monster-bashing excitement alongside the burly, powerful priest Ignatius or the agile, seductive Nadia, an American woman. Both are viewed in cinematic, roving-camera third-person perspective that enhances the drama, danger and narrative drive.
There are two main characters, five bosses and 21 monster types in the plot:
Adam Crowley: A mad scientist and decidedly shady character. Rumoured to have kept the flame of the Brotherhood of Hecate alive, but now enlisting the Brothers to achieve his own twisted goals.
Werewolf: Half-man, half-wolf, all death-dealing terror. Skims the cobblestones as it traverses the city at high speed, then stands at full height to devour a tasty human appetizer on its way.
Hellhound: Definitely not man's best friend. Brawny, muscular and has a set of teeth and jaws that can chew right through a cast-iron fence, not to mention a human ribcage or femur. Rumoured to breathe flames as well.
Gargoyle: Much more than just a frightful little building accessory. Has long reach and knife-like claws to make even a godless heathen pray for mercy, while wings make for a speedy getaway.
Docker: Pure, raw animalistic energy in a hulking -- and ugly -- package. Massive arms, huge wingspan and small braincase seriously stack the odds in the pummel-or-be-pummeled festivities sure to ensue.
Per-polygon collision detection enables our heroes to chop enemies piece by piece, making them suffer a slow, painful death. Those foes are persistent, though, so don't walk away from a leg that's still twitching. This is 1830s London in stunning detail, complete with dynamic lighting and transparent fog, rain, snow and explosion effects. You'll explore 16 huge levels of true, go-anywhere 3-D environments filled with danger, intrigue and hair-curling terror -- if you make it. The fog effects are well done in that they add atmosphere without simply making it more difficult to see in an amorphous white haze.
AnimationWith gouraud-shaded, fully texture-mapped graphics, running at around 30 fps and as many as four characters on screen at the same time, you'll have plenty to keep your reflexes jumping.
Music ScoreA haunting score spiked with action-oriented climaxes and stunning cut scenes accentuate and explain the unfolding tale of mystery as players battle to the end with their formidable foes.
Sound EffectsSuperb audio effects such as rain, wind, lightning, heavy footsteps and agonized groans heighten the creepy, dark game experience.
UtilitiesThere is no mouse support so you need to use a game pad to play the game.
Multi-player FeaturesThis is a single player game with no internet, null-modem, network, or modem support. Unfortunately, this game would have been better had it had these facilities.
Compare toThe game resembles Tomb Raider and Virtua Fighter.
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