Kiss Psycho Circus - Videogame Torture

I've played some great games on a variety of systems so far this year - Resident Evil 5, Gears Of War 2, Left 4 Dead, God Of War, Resident Evil (remake), House Of the Dead Overkill, Tekken: Dark Resurrection, and so on... But in every gamers life comes the need to reconnect with his Dreamcast, and most recently I decided to do this via the unholy game mentioned above.

Thus, I've played/endured a Dreamcast game called Kiss Psycho Circus: the Nightmare Child. And what a fucking nightmare it was...

If you look at the sidebar of the Dreamcast Junkyard, you'll see a section devoted to Tomleecee's Dreamcast reviews. In there, is a review of Kiss Psycho Circus, which says: "This game is appalling. Rubbish graphics, rubbish design, just plain rubbish." I should have heeded the words of our leader, instead I chose to recklessly ignore them.

I'd played it a little way back in the day, and my hazy memory recalled it as being a little bit different to anything I'd seen before. It was, in fact, the first the first FPS I'd ever played. But some sort of software or hardware glitch had cut my playing experience short. Six or so years later, I decided to give it a go for the second time...

So what is this monstrosity all about then? Ostensibly a first person shooter/mythical quest type thing, the game has very tenuous links to the rock legends Kiss. In fact it's got more to do with a comic: "KISS: Psycho Circus chronicles the adventures of an unusual traveling circus. The macabre stories focus on exploring the deepest, darkest corners of the human soul." (according to Image Comics.)

So what's it got to do with the band then? (initially the main selling point for me - who doesn't like spandex and stage make up???)

Well, fuck all really! You might find a jukebox or stereo which will play a Kiss song. As the player, you go around collecting pieces of Kiss costumes... Ace Frehley's platform boots, Gene Simmon's shoulder pads or Peter Criss's cod-piece. There are rumours on the internet that if you put the GD rom in your PC that you'll get a Kiss pinball game - not true. There are also rumours that if you put the GD rom in a CD player, it'll play a few classic Kiss tunes -also not true. You do, however get a very snotty sounding English lady telling you take the disc out of your CD player, as it's only compatable with the Dreamcast (!) which is quite surreal...

The game ends up being a very tedious run through of a middle of the road, dated, FPS. Some of the game's monsters are pretty well designed, some of the landscapes boldly coloured in psychedelic hues, which make it alright to look at for a while, and graphically lies at a kind of cross between Half Life and the more trippy boss levels in NiGHTS. Having said that, why when some publishers were able to come up with graphics as good as Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, Code Veronica or Headhunter, did so many Dreamcast software publishers settle for knocking out games which look average, like Death Crimson OX, or this one?

The game gives you nothing for your dogged completion of levels. No 'easter eggs', interesting cut scenes, hidden mini games or unlockables. If you die you get put back a long way, meaning the necessity of replaying of elements of the game over, and over, and over again. The story is literally one of the most convoluted pieces of bullshit ever, one that I can't be bothered to relate. The cutscenes that are in the game are minimal, there's nothing to collect and the boss battles are never really going to inspire. After literally hours of playing through seventeen, long, long levels, the game just fizzled out with one of the most boring and simple boss fights ever. Nothing memorable at all.

I was hoping for a Dreamcast revelation, a repeat of the joy I found when I played 'SOTB: Gut's Rage' last year, or completing Headhunter earlier this year. But the only joy I had from completing this game is knowing that I beat it, completed it and I'll never have to play this particular piece of crapola again!


Caleb said...

Well you were warned FK.

Tommy pretty much summed it up in his article.

Not really a great game.

I am not a huge KISS fan. I like some of their songs but other bands have stuff that is harder and better.

Certainly there are a number of great other games for the Dreamcast.

The GagaMan(n) said...

I remember a few years back when I was in America There was a Toys R Us selling off bunch of Dreamcast stuff for ridiculous prices: about $5 written on them but when you took them to the till they had a further 70% off. I got some incredible bargains: Sega Marine Fishing, Space Channel 5, Alien Front Online, a controller and a triple pack of Sega sports games all for about $1.50-$2 pop. The one and only game I left behind guessed it..Kiss Psycho Circus. Even for that price just didn't bother after my experience with it on a demo disc. Glad I didn't now, really.

Barry the Nomad said...

Woh, Gagaman! Way to go on those deals! I had a similar experience once, but it was with the Phillip's CD-I. :-/
I remember the Official Dreamcast Magazine (US) was so hyped for this game, that when it came out I believe they quietly issued a 5/10 score and moved on to rave about Shenmue 2.

Tomleecee said...

FK - Nice post. Yep, KISS is a steaming pile of grot

Pixoshiru said...

BTW, every dreamcast game has that audio Cd track telling you to put the cd back in the console. Sometimes, the track was recorded by voice actors from the game, like in skies of Arcadia, where you can hear one of the characters telling that they can hardly save the world from a cd player.