Anyone remember Nightmare Creatures on PS1? Seems hard to believe now that these graphics were great looking in 1997!
Nightmare Creatures is a simple game. You just run around beating up monsters and that’s all there is to it. It’s so simplistic that it could almost be described as a beat-em-up, with maybe a little dash of fighting game mechanics thrown in there. You pick one of two characters and have to bash your way through 15 levels of monster mayhem and don’t even worry about the story because it barely exists.
While there are three levels of weapon upgrades to be found, you’re still just using the same weapon the entire time. The only thing that really changes is that the game kindly hands you a new combo to use on every level. This stops things from being intolerably repetitive, but let’s face it, you’re still basically just doing the same thing over and over again throughout the whole game.
On the other hand, level design can be a bit confusing and clunky, and the boss fights are all style and no substance. Interesting consumable sub-weapons and some cool monster designs (relatively speaking) spice things up a little bit, but at its heart Nightmare Creatures is just a really simplistic game. So much so that it can never really be called an essential title.
I have a weird nostalgic itch for it myself, and I had fun revisiting it after all these years, but I don’t think I’d really recommend it to anyone else. Even for serious horror fans it doesn’t have a whole lot to offer. There are much better crusty old horror games you could be playing.
Then there’s Nightmare Creatures 2. I never got around to this one back in the day so this was a new experience for me. The game is pretty similar to the first one, except it’s 100 years later and you’re now playing as some guy who sounds like a distinguished British gentleman, but looks like the result of Marilyn Manson fucking a mummy.
The graphics got a bit of an upgrade and they seemed to sort of try to improve the combat by adding a kind of cinematic auto-camera that kicks in when you enter combat with an enemy, making things feel a little more personal and fighting-game-ish. They didn’t seem to have put much thought into the combat beyond that though, as things are somehow even more repetitive and clunky here than in the first one. You can just spam the same two basic three button combos through the whole game. The basic enemies can just be effortlessly stun-locked to death with them, while the more advanced ones seem tougher, but you soon realize that they all have the same basic pattern, you just block until they stop to do an arbitrary vulnerable pose and then strike, then you repeat that until you win. It gets old pretty quickly.
Maybe things would be more interesting if I had had more combos? I don’t know since the game doesn’t tell you a single one this time. I just figured out the two basic ones through trial and error and stuck with them. The enemies, while relatively cool looking, are too dumb and repetitive to be enjoyable, and the game seems to delight in shoving unnecessary introductory cutscenes down your throat. Remember that little cutscene in the beginning of Resident Evil where you run into a zombie for the first time? Imagine if they did that like 12 more times throughout the game for the same zombie enemy. That’s pretty much what Nightmare Creatures 2 does.
There are also super edgy fatality moves you can use when a creature’s almost dead, at least when the game decides to let you use them. Sometimes you try to press the buttons for a fatality and the game suddenly just gets really laggy and just kind of hangs there until you give up and stop trying the fatality buttons, so you have to just do a regular kill. You’re not missing out on much though, as it’s basically just the same overly long animation where you chop at a clearly already dead enemy on the ground over and over again for far too long and with no reward at all, so why even bother?
Other “interesting” fact: the cover and ads for the game make a big deal of the game having “music by Rob Zombie”, though in reality they’ve just pasted one of his songs over the attract mode video and a few snippets of the same song over some very clearly half-assed in-game cutscenes that occur between levels. The actual soundtrack of the game consists of the same barely-existent ambient spooky song playing over and over and over again the entire time. It’s pretty damn boring in the sound department.
In short, I would not recommend Nightmare Creatures 2 to anyone. Not even people who liked the first game. It’s a mess and I highly doubt that I’ll ever touch it again.