A real nightmare.
Every now and then, people do something they really regret. Maybe it's bad judgement or perhaps bad luck. Then again, it could just be that they had about six too many tequila shots and were too drunk the next morning to realize just how wrong they were. Now, I realize that everyone makes mistakes, but its just plain insanity when an entire development team smokes crack while making a game.
Nightmare Creatures 2 is definitely a nightmare on Dreamcast Street. So many things go wrong in the intro sequence alone, that you'll scream bloody murder before the game even gets under way. Only the bravest of the brave may enter the next portal I am about to open. If you feel you have the courage, take a deep breath and prepare yourself... FOR GAMING HELL!!! (gaming hell is brought to you by Nightmare Creatures 2, must be mature to enter, all rights reserved.)
It was a partly cloudy Friday afternoon. A package arrived for me, a game called Nightmare Creatures 2. I immediately popped it open. The wind began to howl and a train rumbled past. Bad omens. As the Dreamcast powered on and the game began to load, a sense of dread filled my heart. I turned to face the television screen and expected to see dead people. Instead, I saw a bloody axe and then... it happened. The nightmare began.
What I saw before me was a screen full of humongous pixels, badly animated characters, and backgrounds ugly enough to scare the dead. Pixels here and there are so huge and blocky that they might as well belong to an old Atari 2600 game. If the developers were trying to make the game scary, this was the one thing that did it. The only saving grace is the coattail flapping effect and the opening bloody axe. Nightmare Creatures II unanimously wins the Game Revolution award for worst looking Dreamcast game to date.
Speaking of scary, Nightmare Creatures 2 is about as frightening as a newborn puppy with a red ribbon tied around its neck, licking a little girl. The environments are so plain that they would chill your bones like a hot day in Death Valley.
Then we have the creatures. Perhaps the lack of heart thumping terror is due to the rather squarish look of every monster. Then again, it might just be that the character design is horribly flawed. Even the fabled Boogeyman that hides in the closet is scarier than these things.
Maybe what makes the Boogeyman scarier is the fact that he could find his way out of the closet. If you threw the monsters of Nightmare Creatures 2 behind a two-foot high cardboard wall, they would never be able to touch you. Ever. Even with a 20-foot pole. And stilts. These guys must have some fetish for watching their brethren get butchered, since they'll stand by idly and watch you hack a fellow monster into doggy kibble without joining the party. A force of thousands could march against you, only to attack one by one. Good in a Bruce Lee movie, bad in a video game.
Even our anti-hero, Herbert Wallace, does not fare well. Controlling Wallace is a nightmare unto itself. Jumping is a task and even walking can be a problem due to collision detection issues and generally bad programming.
Then there is the cruel act of combat. There are two basic attacks with the axe (vertical and horizontal slash) along with a block and kick. While few combos exist, they can only be executed when the screen prompts you to. Most of the axe-fighting sequences are mere button mashers that jerk the camera around like a rag doll.
When you've finally worn a monster down, a 'fatality' becomes available. This command will send Wallace into a berserk rage, often beheading his foe and chopping it into bite-sized pieces. Executing fatalities is often a hilarious event as all the action in the fight stops so you can chop up the bad guys. Sometimes a monster will be in mid-attack, only to kneel down for you to chop its head off. It's almost as funny as watching a ripe watermelon get smashed by a sledgehammer (Wait...you get to play as Gallagher? - Ed.)
The sound is also something to behold. Not only is music absent for the majority of the game, but the scarce sound effects do absolutely nothing to add to the fear factor. In a game such as this, spooky sound effects or an eerie background track could have helped bring the nightmarish feel out in the open. Instead, we have a very sorry audio experience.
Nightmare Creatures 2 is a game that is exactly as advertised - a nightmare. So many things go wrong that it makes me wonder how the game ever made it to store shelves. All characters and events in this game -- even those based on scary monsters -- are NOT scary. All claims to playability are impersonated...poorly. Avoid like the plague.