London, 1834. Monster sightings have been reported, along with news of people mutating into ungodly creatures, and the dead are waking from their graves and walking amongst the living. The entire city is in a panic and vulnerable to the ghastly schemes of Adam Crowley, a mad scientist who unleashed this hell with the secrets of an unholy manuscript. The only two people who can stand up to this horror are the staff-wielding priest Ignatius and the young swordswoman, Nadia.--From Wikipedia
You're thrown in the fire instantly and instructed to kill monsters and bathe yourself in their blood. There is an adrenaline bar which refills whenever you kill a monster; if it dries up, you will begin to lose health. There are about twenty levels in the game, the main objective in each one being to chase Adam Crowley from point A to point B, killing as many abominations and collecting as many items as you can on the way. Some of the items are nice alternatives to your staff (or swords if you're playing Nadia) for ending nightmare creatures' lives (pistols, dynamite, mines, etc.), while others replenish your own life (health orbs). In some levels, weapon upgrades can be found to make monster-chopping easier.
>Enemies are numerous, both in number and variety. These include slow zombies that must be cut in half to be eliminated, nasty gargoyles that are hard to catch, huge Dockers that look like the Hulk in angry form, enormous six-legged spiders that dwell in the back alleys, fire-blowing hellhounds, and many others. They all have one goal, to make your present days on Earth a living hell. They also have enough brain power to take a tactical approach to fighting, so you'll have to put in a little sweat to beat them all. Three bosses (plus Adam Crowley as the final boss) are present in the game, and they are creatively forged but still pretty easy to defeat (except Crowley).
The controls are easy to handle. The arrow keys control your movement, while other keys are used to strike, kick, block, and jump. There are also keys for swapping or activating items. Your character rotates painfully slowly, which can cause problems in combat. The biggest problem with the controls concerns jumping, which is so awkward as to make the simplest jump over water potentially fatal to your character.
The graphics are very good, almost impressive. From Ignatius and Nadia to the evil creatures, from foggy London streets to underground caves, from explosions to congelations, everything is a salve to the eye. The sounds are creepy, and I mean that in a good way. Each creature you encounter sounds as mean as it looks, and snarls, barks, moans, growls, and roars at you as it tries desperately to put you out of your misery.
I very much enjoyed this great action-packed game. Follow my footsteps, dear reader.
If the game is displayed wrong, you need to download the Windows registry fix available at the top in the "extras" section, and run it. (Unfortunately this needs administrator privileges, as this game was made for Windows 95.)
Nightmare Creatures is a great horror action/adventure game in the same vein as Resident Evil, but with much more emphasis on action than puzzles. Aside from some annoying quirks, such as the lack of proper save game feature (a remnant of the Sony Playstation version, which was the original for this PC port), the game is a very enjoyable action fest with more depth than many FPS titles. Brett Todd of The Games Domain sums up the good and bad about this fun game very well in his review:
"Blending spectacular 3D- accelerated graphics, smooth flowing action, and an immersive back story, this game is one of the best that I've played in some time. The atmosphere of gothic horror is perfectly captured with a flawless blend of evocative visuals and moody sound, and the game is a worthy heir of such classics as the first Alone in the Dark and the early Castlevania titles for the old Nintendo.
The story behind Nightmare Creatures is simple, but very engaging if you have any interest in gothic horror. It all begins way back in 1666, when a devil worshipping cult called the Brotherhood of Hecate was conducting sinister experiments in London. In order to take over the city, and then the world, the Brothers tried to develop a potion that would turn them into supermen. [But] instead of creating the master race, the Brotherhood cranked out a bunch of, well, nightmare creatures instead. Fast forward to 1834, when evil doings again envelop London. Citizens start turning into monsters. The dead walk. Nobody knows what to do until an old book is dropped off at the home of Ignatius Blackward, a priest and occult expert. He soon discovers that the tome is the secret diary of Pepys, which records all the nasty doings of the Brotherhood. Knowing he needs help, Iggy then mails the diary to an expert immunologist (in 1834!) named Dr. Jean F. Showing up with his hot daughter Nadia in tow, the good doctor is promptly murdered and the book stolen. At the funeral, Iggy and Nadia are approached by a man who gives them a note reading: "Know about Adam Crowley, Brotherhood of Hecate --- HVHJ". On Oct. 17, 1834, the two of you head out to an address listed on the note, hoping to have a word with Mr. Crowley and maybe kick a little monster ass along the way.
When everything is set up to your liking, all that remains is choosing between Ignatius and Nadia before hitting the streets of London. Choosing between the two is really a matter of personal preference, as they aren't all that different in gameplay. Ignatius is bigger and stronger, but Nadia is much quicker and more agile. Their attacks reflect this appropriately, with the big priest being better at wading into the fray with his longstaff, and the smaller gymnast excelling at staying on the fringes until she leaps in with sword or feet flying. Special attacks individual to each character also show these differences. Both regular and special moves can be performed with various button combinations and none are of the impossible variety.
A wide selection of power-ups can be found throughout Nightmare Creatures. Some are hidden in conveniently marked boxes, while others are tucked behind windows, and others still will pop out after you kill off a monster. These range from health bonuses to a variety of useful weapons. Single shot Guns are good for taking out most individual enemies, while the Multi-Gun, which fires a round in all directions, is great when you're being gooned by a crowd. Other items there for the picking include Firebombs, Dynamite, and Repulsive Smoke, which repels monsters. Everything remains in your inventory until you use it, so you can stockpile useful trinkets like those Multi-Guns.
Even with [some] adventure-type elements, Nightmare Creatures is really all about combat. While this game may be following in the footsteps of Tomb Raider, the influence of pure fighting titles like Virtua Fighter is very recognizable as well. All of the game's levels feature a menagerie of beasties that have to be kicked, bludgeoned, and stabbed into submission before you can resume your hunt for Crowley. The sheer number of creatures is very impressive, and all thirteen feature very different methods of attack. Common enemies like Zombies just stagger forward and flail away, while Werewolves leap around you and slash with their claws. The Hulk-like Dockers pack a wicked roundhouse punch and will also smash the ground, sometimes bringing the ceiling down on you. This impressive amount of variety means that Nightmare Creatures never gets repetitive even though the majority of game time is spent walloping one bad guy or another. To really succeed --- particularly in the later levels --- you need to handle each one differently. If you just wade in every time, and try to take out a Docker the same as you would a Spider, you're going to spend more time loading saved games than actually playing. There are also special boss monsters, such as a giant multi- headed snake and a yeti, that have to be outsmarted every few levels as well.
I have no hesitation recommending Nightmare Creatures to anyone interested in arcade action of the Tomb Raider sort. The lack of a true save game feature, the occasionally erratic controls, and that adrenaline time limit keeps this one out of the awards category, but I do hope that people will still give it a try. For atmosphere, gameplay, and eye candy, this one is hard to beat."
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