“ Developed by Tremor Entertainment and published by G.O.D. this is a first person shooter (FPS) where you are pitted against the Nightmare Child. A being that wants to put an end to the universe as we know it. With music from the band KISS (did the title „
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"KISS: Psycho Circus - The Nightmare Child" is a video game which was released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 by Tremor Entertainment. It is a first person shooting game based on Todd McFarlane's "Psycho Circus" comic books which feature the popular rock band "KISS". In the United States, the video game received a rating of "M" which deemed it appropriate for ages 17 and above due to its violent content.
The Nightmare Child first began its video gaming presence as a title for the personal computer in 2000. It was met with mixed reviews that mostly addressed the band's lack of presence in the game and general monotony of shooting sections. It was later ported to the Dreamcast through the "Windows CE" environment which allowed a similar gameplay experience to that seen on the computer. The story of the game is based on four members of a KISS tribute band receiving supernatural powers. Each character represents a certain stage of the game and completion of all four characters unlocks a fifth and final stage to combat the end boss. While it was pleasing to note that each character features levels symbolic to their KISS counterpart, for example Gabe Gordo's "Demon" stages are very fiery and Hellish, it was disheartening to see the lack of KISS presence beyond the character selection screen. Certainly there are some obvious references and images of the band, but the game itself comes across as a rather generic first person shooter as opposed to something which absorbed KISS' merchandising legacy.
Players begin by first selecting the level of difficulty, ranging from very easy to very hard, and further selecting a character. It appears necessary to play the game in sequential order and begins with Pablo Ramirez's "Starbearer". The game itself begins with the instruction to collect scattered pieces of armor. Each piece will power up the player's character and bring him closer to reaching the avatar's identity; namely what KISS stage character the player is meant to represent. Gameplay immediately surrounds the player in a poorly lit scenario and these dark settings are rampant throughout the entire game. Players have access to an assortment of weaponry, and their appearance bears significant resemblance to that seen in the "Unreal Tournament" series of video games. These weapons are necessary as in-game monsters are a frequent burden and attack in swarms. Several shooting titles feature enemies in manageable fragments, however The Nightmare Child opted for a very overwhelming experience by having up to 30 monsters at a time attack the player. While this does provide for an exhilarating shooting experience, I found it to be very challenging even on the most simple of settings. There is minimal difficulty in terms of monster strength as they do not deal an exceptional amount of damage, but is very much a button mashing effort in the process to get rid of them.
I found the graphics of this title to be both hit and miss. While the frame rate is exceptionally smooth and did not suffer from any obvious slow-down during periods of intense battle, the detailing and quality was less than impressive. The most common of enemies, a headless spider, appears very blocky and jaded. Matters are not helped by the sheer amount of them a player will have to deal with frequently throughout the game. The lack of KISS imagery is another downfall in this area. Infrequent references are made to the band, such as having "Black Diamond" ammunition, but the general KISS presence is minimal. Occasionally, a player will come across a neon jukebox which will bellow out a KISS track when activated but that is about the extent of music from the band in this game. The rest of the soundtrack is provided through odd techno tracks which do not really suit the eerie feeling which surrounds the game. The weapons are standard in terms of their audio quality and let out suitably deep and menacing sound effects when in action.
Overall, The Nightmare Child provides an average at best shooting experience for the Dreamcast. As a single player venture I didn't find the game to have much lasting appeal, but did enjoy it for the time it lasted. For those seeking a true shooting experience then one should look elsewhere, but fans of KISS may be briefly amused by what this title has to offer.
General/Summary: If you liked Quake and Quake II then you'll definitely like Kiss Psycho Circus. I missed the single player aspect of those two games and KPC brings it all back! It's a solid FPS title and if you like this type of game then you owe it to yourself to give it a good long look. I bought it after reading some reviews not knowing if it would be worth it or not. It was and now it's a welcome addition to my DC library of games. Gameplay: The game controls like Quake or Turok. Unless you are married to your PC and the keyboard/mouse type of control, picking up and using the standard DC controller, will be no problem. I just backed off the analog sensitivity and the control is tight and natural. Gameplay is your basic "Blast and Slash" to bloody bits any and all enemies that get in your way. There's an assortment of nifty and deadly weapons strewn throughout the levels and there's plenty of other things to discover and collect. Good clean bloody fun! Graphics: Graphics are very good. Some things could have been done better, I mean if you look up, the sky is moving, but if you look down at some of the slop you must walk or run through you'll notice it doesn't move. The frame rate is excellent as there's no slow down when the evil hordes ascend on you from every which way! It's almost too good. Many games will slow down so you feel like you've got time to react, not here it's blast em' into mush or death to you! The lighting effects are good but some of the things that explode are a little weak! The weapon's overall are impressive and effective! Sound: The sound is good and the music is of the Techno beat much like Quake. I myself turn the music down and the SFX up!