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Nightmare Creatures (Nintendo 64) artwork

Nightmare Creatures (Nintendo 64) review


"Let the darkness consume you as red drifts into the black night. "



Let the darkness consume you as red drifts into the black night.

The streets of London are empty on this cold night -- quiet and melancholy, a lazy groan splits the air as a jet of red splatters on a nearby window. The thud of bodies break the silence with the addition of a blood-curdling scream.

...

Five seconds later, the air is still once more. So silent that any passerby rushing through would not notice a thing out of the ordinary...

...

Lo and behold, something crawls out of a nearby hole. A lazily walking zombie creature is stumbling along a blood-splattered pathway. A second scream breaks the silence once more. Finding its prey, the zombie takes to the chase. Suddenly, a gunshot is heard -- stupidly, the creature turns around... and ceases to exist.

The creatures of the London streets are about to meet their match.

A virus had struck the city of London. Supposedly created by a madman by the name of Adam Crowley, it is a biological weapon with incredible power. Once infected, a human will undergo a hideous transformation into a monster. Possibilities can include towering blue behemoths, blood-thirsty werewolves, or insect-oid creatures wielding razor sharp appendages that slice through flesh like a knife through butter. Once the transformation is complete, they become the Nightmare Creatures.

You are one of two people of whom's only purpose is to kill this Adam Crowley to save the world. Wielding a deadly staff or a sleek rapier, the two of them have very little to use against an infected force outnumbering them about twenty to one. To defeat the heathens, your characters will have to hack their way through them through use use of strikes or kicks. Luckily, each character has a number of weapon combo attacks that can be used to your advantage. As you progress through levels, the button combinations will appear across the bottom of the screen. Each level has its own attack that can be learned (take it you actually pay attention). Mastering them plays a big role in defeating creatures that constantly increase in numbers as the game progresses.

Successfully breaking through monsters will be a toughie. Even the first level will pose a few problems to even the hardcore player. In the midst of battle, weapon combinations will be increasingly harder to pull off. The more effective ones require pressing a large number of buttons simultaneously. With precision, it can be achieved, but with a gigantic monster slashing and hacking away in your general direction, opening up a block to perform a combo will make you vulnerable. If the combination attack fails to pull itself off, you are just about as good as dead. Nightmare Creatures needs luck to win out. When monsters pull up next to you, just pray that you can slash through them without getting any return attack to knock your character off their feet.

If taking on spider-like creatures and gigantic tentacle monsters wasn't a difficulty in itself, try to work your way around the virus as well. The infection may be apparent throughout the London streets, but there is one effective combatant. The human brain is capable of releasing a mind-drug known as adrenaline. While Crowley had done his best to make it unavoidable, keeping a stock of adrenaline in your brain to feed off to the virus in the streets will combat it for quite a bit of time. The blue meter on the left side of the screen represents your current meter. The less action you partake in (a.k.a. kicking monster butt), the smaller it will become. You can continue to run around without killing stuff, but once the meter runs out, your character will fall to the virus without an effective drug to immunize yourself. To survive, you need to kill.

London will be the first to fall if a hero doesn't prevail.

Nightmare Creatures is in no way a happy game. The mood and lack of noise becomes suspenseful with a zombie jumping out at nearly every corner. The silence after battles becomes so intense that you might actually begin to shake as you round the next hallway. Taking place at night, the sky is black and the surrounding scenery is gray. Even the trees and bushes are a dark shade of grayish black. The only light given off comes from the occasional lamp in the pathway. Windows are boarded up and doors sealed indefinitely. Those still alive slowly decay in their own homes trapped by their own fear.

Hidden throughout the environment in those boarded up windows and such are items that can be used against the monsters. By smashing a window or breaking through a bush, you might find a pistol of which can be used to take down the infected from afar. Likewise, you might be able to find some health packs or maybe even an extra life. You can clear a room by throwing a stick of dynamite picked up previously or freeze surrounding units with a flick of the wrist. One particular item in the shape of a skull can "warp" monsters' intentions causing two or more of them to actually fight each other while you slip forward.

In addition, weapon upgrades are apparent through the various levels until you reach the "master" weapon. Depending on the character chosen, you can upgrade from a simple rapier to a razor sharp sword. For the staff, switch from two pointy ends to deadly axes on each side. With each weapon the damage dealt doubles and triples which in turn, makes clearing a room much less of a burden. However, these upgrades won't just waltz up to your character. Instead, to get them, finding them is required first. Most of the time, you will need to go out of your way to open a gate or clear a room full of enemies in order to pick new weapons up. One particular instance actually requires that you run through a pathway of fire to reach the target. Unsurprisingly, to pick that up, a sacrifice of one life is required.

Welcome to darkness.

Fight through areas of London from the sleepy town of Chelsea to Westminster Abbey itself. Along the way, you will be sure to venture through graveyards, gigantic spider webs, a sewer monster, and even the London Zoo in which a behemoth of a creature will engage you to the last blood. In the end, the final fight with the creature, Adam Crowley, will commence.

Most gamers will likely be unnerved by Nightmare Creature's dark atmosphere. The lack of light will shroud hiding monsters in corners and dark alleyways. Walking through a seemingly empty pathway just to have a big and blue Dockers monster smash you into the wall will provide quite a fright. Nightmare Creatures succeeds in providing an actually scary game that isn't your standard Resident Evil. Play at your own risk.

Rating: 9/10

masterzero99's avatar
Community review by masterzero99 (February 03, 2005)

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