Sunday, September 04, 2016

Soundtrack September: Nightmare Creatures

Game: Nightmare Creatures (1997)
Platforms: PlayStation, Nintendo 64
Composer: Frédéric Motte

Nightmare Creatures was a third-person gothic horror beat-em-up with the same clumsy polygonal graphics that seemed to dominate every console game of the era. It received lukewarm reviews, thanks to its questionable controls and punishing difficulty (mainly down to the “adrenalin meter,” a perpetually depleting secondary life bar that only refilled upon defeating each stage's finite supply of enemies).

In spite of its faults, I had Nightmare Creatures in my PlayStation library for most of the time I owned the console. After getting used to the controls and memorizing the spawn locations of monsters to take the guesswork out of filling the adrenaline meter, I found it quite a satisfying action title.

What the game did really well was atmosphere. Thanks again to the CD fidelity of the Red Book audio format, the gloomy soundtrack came paired with ambient sounds like rustling leaves and rattling shutters, driving the proto-Victorian setting home and adding the suspense needed to make the player’s encounters with werewolves, giant spider-men and whatnot, sufficiently scary.

The music for stage 3, Thames Tunnel, sounds like an evil version of the title theme from Metroid. So that's pretty cool, I guess.

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