|You know you're in for a treat when the pre-rendered loading screens|
are full of pixellation.
Before I delve into the nitty-gritty of why Nightmare Creatures II is so bad, it's worth noting that the game was developed by Kalisto Entertainment - the same team responsible for 4 Wheel Thunder. This is perplexing because the aforementioned Midway-published arcade racer is one of the best games on the Dreamcast, and features some truly outstanding visuals and presentation; yet Nightmare Creatures is one of the most depressingly broken games not only on the Dreamcast, but on any system I've ever owned. What's possibly even more interesting than the massive gulf in quality between these two games is the story of Kalisto Entertainment's rise to popularity, subsequent bankruptcy and all the shady goings on behind the scenes that resulted in several court cases against the senior management. It's well worth reading up on, if that's your bag...but for now, we'll leave the courts of Bordeaux behind and get back to Nightmare Creatures II.
|Kalisto's other Dreamcast game. Notice any differences?|
|This illustrates the texture filter option.|
"We were wondering why Konami were procrastinating in sending us a copy of Nightmare Creatures II and now we know. In a word, it's diabolical. The graphics are impossibly bad for a Dreamcast game, as it's only mildly better than the PlayStation version. Likewise, the gameplay and control are atrocious, making it virtually unplayable, and no game should make you go through such a painful process. This is a nightmare in every sense. Avoid it at all costs"
- Alex Warren, Dreamcast Magazine
Another issue is the combat itself, where you are encouraged to use combinations of axe swings and kicks, but the collision detection is so ropey and the animation so choppy it's hard to tell if you're actually making contact with your adversary. There is a pseudo training arena labelled as 'therapy' that can be selected from the main menu, but all it consists of is a single room where the same two enemies try to attack you ad infinitum. It's a helpful way to learn how few moves you have at your disposal and how the 'fatality' mechanic works (basically press A and X together once your enemy is low on health to activate a decapitation animation), but it becomes apparent after the 6th wave of identical enemies that there's nothing more to this mode.
Going back to the actual fighting though, the only way to actually win these encounters is to just keep hammering the attack buttons and hope you come out on top. On the occasions that you meet multiple enemies, only the one you automatically lock on to will fight you and the others will just stand there in the background waiting their turn...so that's a plus. Having to engage multiple foes with this terrible system would be even more unwieldy if the AI wasn't so poor, so you can at least take solace in that. The major, crippling downside of this automatic lock on system is that once it engages, you can't escape so running away from a fight if you're low on health simply isn't an option.
|One of the many enemies whose scale shifts at will.|
|The lightbulbs look nice.|