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Frightmare (Commodore 64) artwork

Frightmare (Commodore 64) review

"A realm of shadows and horrors awaits those who insert the disk containing this game into their system. But will those nightmares follow you after you turn the computer off? "

A realm of shadows and horrors awaits those who insert the disk containing this game into their system. But will those nightmares follow you after you turn the computer off?

Lost in a dream.

Your adventure begins in the middle of...nowhere. Hey, it's your nightmare; You make sense of where you are! In order to wake up, you have to traverse through several rooms. Each new room you pass through advances your "alarm clock" by 6 minutes. Make it to 8:12 AM and you'll get out of this horrid dream. Either that or you can make it worse by shooting enemies and increasing your score(shown by words in the upper-right corner)...or is that making it better? Along the way, you'll meet a host of ghosts, ghouls, and ghasts anxious to keep you in your dream state. Fortunately, there are also several weapons and relics to put them in the back of your mind...for a few seconds, anyway.

Hurts like it's real!

Frightmare starts you off with no weapon and no real defenses(unless you count jumping), which is good as it helps in forcing you to practice with your character early on. Besides, there is no real danger in the first few rooms(as it should be). The enemies, while suitable, are nothing really new(unless you want to count the Swamp Things). The layout of the levels can seem a little chaotic, but it is a dream world, so I guess that makes sense. Lastly, kudos to the people at Cascade Games Ltd. for finally coming with a unique scoring system, involving adjectives and nouns instead of the usual "points"(who didn't like the phrase "morbid trance"?).

Sounds of slumber.

The opening music is mood-setting, anyway, but nothing to get excited about. However, the game itself has no other music(unless you count the two or three second tunes for a couple of the items). The sound-effects, however, are amazingly well-handled. From the gun-shots to the Mystery Bag's annihilation to the sound of time grinding after you use a Clock, nothing was left unchecked. There's even a sound for when you lose your last life. And all are appropriate for each item/event.

And then they pull the sheets off...

The only major flaw in this game is the challenge and the extreme amount of it. It can take several tries before you have a chance at passing just the first few rooms. Furthermore, pattern recognition is a must. The enemies come in the same order, but several move so fast that you will be left saying "Where'd my life go?". Worse yet, you cannot "clear" a room. ALL creatures regenerate within two seconds of their dying. This problem is compounded by limited ammo and carrying capabilities. You may carry up to three items at once, else you have to leave one behind. So, between the two gun types in the game, you can carry a single one-use item PERIOD! Sure, you could stock up on bullets, but bullets become scarce later in the game...or at least well-guarded. Plus, some enemies are UNHARMED by most weapons(yes, that includes your guns), meaning it's a guessing game what to leave and when. Anything else? Try the fact you can only shoot left and right, not down or above despite the high number of flying freaks you'll meet up with. Last, you have a limit of five lives. Given the previous items and facts, you'll likely be out of lives before you can say "morbid trance" the first ten or so times...

Worth unburying?

Though Frightmare is quite the daunting challenge, it still remains an enjoyable game. I do recommend it...but I would also invest in a few rubber or foam joysticks before playing.

MercenaryCobra1's avatar
Community review by MercenaryCobra1 (July 11, 2007)

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