Nightmare Creatures II is Bloody Good

Nightmare Creatures II
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Nightmare Creatures 2 is a single player action slasher game. Adam Crowley, an evil sorcerer, is on the verge of merging with an entity of horrific power. It’s a power that will give him immortality, and entitle him to reign supreme over a new hell on earth. Herbert Wallace was once a prisoner of Crowley’s and subjected to the sorcerer’s torture and experimentation. Well, it’s time for some payback.

Players control Herbert as he exacts his revenge on the evil Crowley, and, saves the world. The player guides Herbert through asylums, sewers, catacombs and castles on his quest for retribution. On the way you’ll encounter horrifying creatures under Crowley’s command. There are boss monsters at the end of each level as well. With your trusty axe, you will battle zombies, demon dogs, chainsaw-wielding maniacs and a multitude of other monsters, each one more terrifying than the last. Some of the creatures give me the impression that Marilyn Manson is a major sperm donor in hell.

The game is played in two ways: exploration mode and combat mode. Exploration mode is the primary mode of game play. In this mode, players search through each level picking up weapon items ( poison, guns, fire…etc. ) health vials, and keys, dynamite, and bolt cutters to keep them progressing in the game.

When confronted with a monster the game goes into combat mode. The combat mode is set up like most fighting games, with health status bars and movement limited to the fight area. Players can move forward, backward (depending on the area you are fighting in ), and left and right to circle the opponent. This is the part of the game that warrants the M ( mature ) parental rating it has.

An axe is your primary weapon. It’s pretty graphic. The blood flows in rivers. I didn’t think monsters even had that much blood in them. There are axe combos to lob off an arm or head, and the weapon items are pretty gory as well. My personal favorite is the Jar of Flies item. When used, a swarm of flies enters the monster’s body until it explodes into nothing but blood and guts.

If that isn’t enough violence to quell your bloodlust, there are also fatality moves. There is a different fatality animation for almost every creature in the game.

The fighting controls are fairly easy to grasp. The combos are three button hits, but I did find a nice six button combo easily. The fatality moves are simple two button moves. By this I do not mean to imply that the monsters were weak. They will put up a good fight. I got a chainsaw or butcher’s knife in my belly quite a few times.

The animations in the opening scene and between gameplay areas combine with graphics during game play to make a nice effect, though it is about the norm for the PSX format. The background scenery is quite good. Every scene encountered looks as if its been home to some horrible genocide.

Nightmare Creatures 2 features a soundtrack by Rob Zombie, which fits nicely into this genre of game. Another nice feature in this game is the Therapy mode. Therapy mode is a fight training mode where the player is given unlimited health to combat monsters that keep regenerating. It’s a good starting point for players to get acquainted with the controls and to get some aggression out by hacking off some zombie’s limbs, though I have never heard of this type of therapy before.

Now, I have some minor complaints. First, you can’t carry the health items, you just use them. So when you’re low on life after a battle, you have to backtrack through half the level to pick up a health item you left twenty minutes ago. I spent a ridiculous amount of time retracing my steps looking for the health vial that I left behind, because I didn’t need it at the moment I found it.

Second, the story was a little confusing: characters are mentioned with no explanation or reason that they are there. Also, the main character is locked in an asylum with his axe. I’m sorry, I’m a stickler for some story logic.

Third and last, I had a few glitches while playing. My character froze and sometimes monsters froze. Thankfully, I did not lose too much ground because the ability to save the game is pretty frequent.

While I found Nightmare Creatures 2 an entertaining horror game, this disc is not for your eight-year-old nephew Billy. There is a option on the menu screen to tone down the violence but, it just switches off the blood. You’re still controlling a character who is lobbing off heads with an axe, but with none of that annoying blood getting in your eyes. My idea of a lesser violence setting is to have the character swing a whiffle ball bat or a feather duster and say, "I’m sorry," every time he clunks a zombie on the head with it. But that’s just my opinion.

However, this game is for a mature audience looking for a gruesome bloodfest, and it delivers. I give Nightmare Creatures 2, 3 1/2 GiN Gems. I based my rating on Resident Evil 2, a game I thoroughly enjoyed. Nightmare is Resident Evils little brother. They got the right idea, it just isn’t executed as well. I have not solved this game yet, and I have some aggression to work out, so I’m going back in. Heads will roll.

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