There are so many reboots, remakes, and re-imaginings of games, and somehow I still have a list of IPs that I think could use some attention. No matter who holds the rights or how well the last title sold, someone is sitting on a goldmine, or just keeping me from an experience—that I at least think—I really need to play. So today, I’m here to plead my case for a new Nightmare Creatures.
This is one of the few games I bought sight unseen. I had just been paid and walked into the local Babbage’s, eager for something new to play. One of the clerks I knew suggested this gothic-horror-beat ‘em up about Adam Crowley raising zombies. Perfect for fifteen year old me. Still buzzing on the Resident Evil vibe, I knew this was one I had to take a chance on. Doubt set in briefly, checking out the manual as I headed home, but it was unfounded. All it took was that amazing opening cutscene to know that I wouldn’t regret the cash spent or time put in.
“And should no one stop him, this city will be consumed by a horde of… NIGHTMARE CREATURES!”
The original game excels in its presentation. Great sound design and monster noises in the music, mixed with hard rock riffs that rip through my soul during the boss fights make a perfect blend for the title. I love the monster sprites, how dark and foreboding some of them seem, while still being gross. Also, a few of those jump scares got me the first time through, because I played with the lights off, as one should. Atmosphere is the key factor that the developers nailed and made it possible to overlook the games flaws. Seriously, even playing this the other night, as dated as the game is, Nightmare Creatures still just works. This was at a time that studios were still working out kinks with early 3D titles, and that shows, but I appreciate what they accomplished here.
There have only been two entries for the series that I’m aware of, as well as a movie adaptation that seemed to have some steam behind it, but did not make it too far into pre-production. I would actually like to know more about why, as the idea seems perfect for a dark action thriller. I own the second game on the Dreamcast, but honestly could never get to the halfway point. That one just didn’t do it for me, although one day I need to sit down and finish that entry, like it or not. I’ll hopefully figure out why it fell short or turn around on part two all together.
What I did enjoy recently was sitting down to play Bloodborne. Yes, I know, I’m behind. See, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Dark Souls titles but Geek and some others kept telling me that it was a bit different and more my speed. For the most part, they were right. As I went through this dark and twisted period piece, it hit me what game Bloodborne had me craving. I know I’m nowhere near the first person to address this connection, but it’s too strong to ignore. The game feels like a spiritual successor to Nightmare Creatures in all of the right ways. It’s a lurid romp with a cane as a weapon like Ignatius’ stick, pistols and magic, in a world that feels more alive than dead, even considering the surroundings. All of the right pieces are there for an apt successor, but I would actually love to see a new installment from the IP, maybe even done by some of the original creators, taking their more modern cues from something like Bloodborne, and show us why the series was laid to rest too early.
Here is what we need to do. The original game was a bit challenging, and I don’t need this new journey to be quite as hard as the Souls games, but something in between would be nice. One thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was that adrenaline meter, how it would take away the player’s life if something demonic wasn’t slaughtered relatively soon. I don’t recall if that is ever explained in the story, perhaps a virus or something, but that type of mechanic can be so annoying if not handled well and in my opinion encourages bad gameplay, so let’s just keep it out like part two did. Boss encounters could be better, but please keep their thrash metal themes and I like that there are at least two playable characters that feel like they fight differently. I know this is primarily a melee heavy system, but perhaps even a new character that relies a little more on single shot guns or even thrown weapons would offer more variety, if that doesn’t over complicate things. Combat needs to be a bit more involved, but everything else seems like a natural update for a new game that has a larger scope and scale, as long as that camera is fixed.
The story is easy enough, Adam Crowley is still alive, or one of his experiments finally activated, maybe even change the bad guy up to one of the Peeps brothers mentioned in the opening, but the truth is that as long as something brings the zombies out, players will want to kill them. I almost think I would like something that is a little more Dynasty Warriors with the number of enemies to wade through, or maybe a splash of Dead Rising weapon mechanics where we can find items to improve on our stuff, kind of like how it was in the first game, but more involved.
I’m hoping this can become a reality. The first game sold quite well and was reviewed favorably for the most part, while the second wasn’t received as kindly and floundered on store shelves longer. I had heard a rumor about Ubisoft buying the rights to the franchise and a scrapped Nightmare Creatures 3, but in this case a reboot could work just as well as a straight up sequel considering the time. Otherwise, this seems like wasted potential of a franchise that was once very cool and left its mark with the little bit it was given. If anyone reading this needs convincing, go grab the first one for the original PlayStation and see what the hype is about. Trust me.