Reviewed by Raymond Almeda
The story of Activision's Nightmare Creatures unfolds in London,
circa 1834. A mad scientist has unleashed a plague on the good
citizens that physically changes humans into various ghouls and
monsters. Players take the role of either Ignatius Blackward or
Nadia, and battle through the streets of London in an attempt to
stop the evil scientist.
The graphics of Nightmare Creatures faithfully recreate the atmosphere
of London during the 19th Century (or at least as one might imagine it),
evoking a damp, dark and dirty ambience. Jack the Ripper probably would
have felt right at home in this game's universe. Nightmare Creatures
uses a great variety of textures to avoid that "haven't I seen this wall
before?" sensation. The game also includes many nice graphical details,
such as rainwater running down the middle of the street. While the game
is foggy, the fog is used more for effect than to hide graphical pop-in.
And as you might expect, Nightmare Creatures delivers plenty of blood
and gore to embellish its horror theme.
The audio of Nightmare Creatures only enhances its intimidating atmosphere.
With its very dark, foreboding soundtrack and plenty of disturbing sound
effects, Nightmare Creatures delivers a satisfyingly terrifying audio
experience. The audio sometimes gets a bit repetitive, but the repetition
isn't really that bothersome.
The various polygonal monsters in Nightmare Creatures are gorgeous
(in a gruesome, evil sort of way) and their animation is fairly smooth.
Rather, the monster animation appears to be smooth when compared to
the player's characters. Perhaps Ignatius and Nadia have developed a
few nervous twitches after dealing with all these monsters. On the other
hand, maybe the character animation is just plain awful. (The latter is
far more likely.) The main characters jerk around the screen in a very
disturbing and often frustrating manner.
And speaking of frustrating, the game's awful 3D camera simply compounds
the animation woes. Indeed, the shoddy camera of Nightmare Creatures
will make you want to throw something (I would suggest the controller,
since it is always nearby). Often you will get mangled by a monster
without even realizing it, simply because the camera has you looking the
other way. While Nightmare Creatures is not unplayable, it certainly isn't
the experience it could have been. It quickly begins to feel like you are
fighting the game's hideous controls, rather than the hideous creatures onscreen.
Further detracting from Nightmare Creature's uneven gameplay are the
game's unintuitive controls. While the analog stick is supported, the game
responds in an extremely "un-analog" manner. The slightest touch of the
analog stick will send your character sprinting, causing the game to
lurch along at an uneven speed. Also, the game requires you to press left
or right to rotate your character, meaning that it takes an extremely long
time to simply turn around. As a result, if an enemy gets behind you, you
can expect to get hit several times before you can turn and actually face
it (assuming that you even know it is there!). This control scheme also
makes fighting multiple enemies at once nearly impossible.
Despite all of these nagging flaws, the gameplay still manages to be fun,
albeit repetitive, which causes one to wonder what Nightmare Creatures
could have been. There is no doubt in this reviewer's mind that, had this
game had the control scheme and smooth animation of say, Zelda, it would
have been great. In its current form, however, Nightmare Creatures simply
can't overcome these serious problems.
Nightmare Creatures is a definite "rent before you buy" game. For horror
buffs, the freaky graphics and spooky audio may be enough to warrant a
purchase. If you are just in it for the gameplay, however, you may want to
look elsewhere. The faulty controls and jerky animation of Nightmare
Creatures are just too nightmarish to overcome.
Overall 7.0 out of 10