Facebook Twitter

‘Nightmare’ sequel’s scares are so-so

SHARE ‘Nightmare’ sequel’s scares are so-so

When last we met Herbert Wallace, he was locked in a duel to the death with evil sorcerer Adam Crowley.

In "Nightmare Creatures," Wallace, one of Crowley's lab rats, was tortured and mutilated in a series of bizarre experiments before turning on his tormentor.

Now, it's a century later and Crowley is back once more, in "Nightmare Creatures II." Wallace, looking like a half-done mummy, is still after him, wielding a mighty ax and wading through legions of monsters in a quest to stymie the sorcerer's dire plans for mankind.

The original was produced by Activision. This time, developer Kalisto and publisher Konami are teaming up to bring the gore-o-rama to your PlayStation.

"Nightmare Creatures II" is a far larger experience than its predecessor, with sprawling stages crammed with secrets to uncover and items to collect. But is it better?

Well, no, it's not.

Of course, killing grotesque monsters is our civic duty. But can't it be a little more fun? The new game design has exploration and combat handled differently, and once you're in fighting mode you lose the ability to jump, are limited in where you can go and have to deal with a change in what the controller buttons do.

In some games, fighting is an option. But here, you can't avoid battle since your escape route is via beating the bad guy or dying trying.

There are a limited number of fighting combos left from the original. New to the mix is a collection of "fatalities," enabled when you defeat an enemy and leave it swaying.

There's a strange quirk that allows the monsters to grab and bite you even if you think you're safely out of reach. And you can't look at your collection of items unless you're fighting.

While we're at it, what happened to the colors the PlayStation is so ably equipped to create? Everything in this game seems to come in shades of mud and gray, highlighted during the frequent battles with gouts of ghoul blood and flying body parts.

The monsters are a plus, all good in their own way — and some are really good. The lighting effects and the fine details in the background are also positives.

The music, from the aptly named Rob Zombie, is entertaining, although it only plays during scattered cut scenes.

Grading the game is tough, because while it has a lot of flaws, it does have its entertaining moments. Give the graphics a C-plus, control a C and sound a B. Overall, this is a C game, average in every way. If you like to see blood and monster parts flying, give it a try.

But there are any number of games available that really will give you a fright, and I'd explore those first.

"Nightmare Creatures II" is rated M, for ages 17 and older.