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Video Game / Nightmare Creatures

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Nightmare Creatures is an Action-Adventure Beat 'em Up developed by Kalisto Entertainment, published by Activision, and released in 1997 for PlayStation, Windows, and Nintendo 64. Set in the 19th century, London is threatened by a horde of creatures released by Adam Crowley. Now it's up to Ignatius Blackward and Nadia Franciscus to combat these threats and stop Crowley and his monster invasion.

A second game was released in 2000, with Konami as the publisher. Set in 1934 London and Paris, it tells the story of Herbert Wallace, a man who was captured as a young kid by Crowley, whom tortured and experimented on him. After many years, he decides to take revenge on Crowley. A mobile phone game, developed by Gameloft and also titled Nightmare Creatures, was released in 2003. A third main game, Nightmare Creatures III: Angel of Darkness, was planned, but it went to Development Hell after Kalisto went out of business. In late 2004, the game's development and release were officially scrapped.

A Continuity Reboot was announced in 2017, with Albino Moose Games, the studio behind the HD version of Spookys Jumpscare Mansion, having picked up the rights to the franchise, but they confirmed three years later that it was shelved.

Not to be confused with Deadly Creatures, another horror-themed video game with a similar title but a totally different cast and story.

Nightmare Creatures contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Everything concerning the game's history, the creatures created by Crowley, and what happened after.
  • An Arm and a Leg: These games were most famous for the amount of limbs you'd sever.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The Thames Monsters are giant octopod heads sticking out of the water, who lash out at you with their Combat Tentacles. They're incapable of moving and rely entirely on their ranged attacks via tentacles, although it is possible to access Dummied Out versions of the game via a cheat code to see the rest of the monster... which is just a single, long, tentacle-like body rooted to the bottom of the Thames.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The titular Creatures, all of which were designed, in-universe, to instil fear, and cause chaos, but Crowley ended up either missing or forgetting a detail or two, that would ensure the creatures could last long or be useful if people actually fought back against them, from the Red Demons setting themselves on fire, to the Pepys' Monster being terrifying to look at, but very clumsy, so anyone who didn't freeze at their sight, could easily fight one.
  • Bandaged Face: The Faceless Men enemies, deformed, former members of Crowley's brotherhood whose horribly scarred faces are constantly clad in bandages.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted, surprisingly enough, with the Banshees, who have very visible buttocks and nipples despite the stricter console standards at the time. They're not pretty.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The final boss, Crowley, is fought on the rooftops of the Westminster Abbey as the whole building is set alight.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Ignatius and Nadia's two-person war against Crowley ends up sparking the Great Fire of 1834.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Samuel Pepys was a member of the first Brotherhood of Hecate and recorded the process of creating the monsters in his diary. He also became a Defector from Decadence and destroyed them.
  • Big Bad: Adam Crowley, who created the titular Nightmare Creatures and unleashes them upon London.
  • Body of Bodies: Pepys Creatures are created by fusing together multiple bodies.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: All the bosses save the final one decide to pick a fight with you in some very convenient locations. The Sewer Snake is surrounded by trees that injure it when they're chopped down, the Snowman is standing under an ancient roof that could collapse at any minute, and Jose Manuel is standing in a chamber where the walls have retractable spikes.
  • Deadly Lunge:
    • While not exactly slow to begin with, a lot of enemies do this.
    • Also the Mutated Mice and the Giant Bugs, which are weak but can knock you down with fast, powerful attacks.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Adam Crowley makes a ton of strange and terrifying monsters to kill the populace of London, which fails almost straight away due to numerous realistic reasons, including the hilarious background material showing that the gargoyles literally froze to death, that the Thames Monsters were rooted to the ground making them easy pickings just by virtue of stay far enough away, anything that didn't have a massive design flaw was very easily beaten by the civilian population, the only thing that was even partially successful were the mutated rats...
  • Down the Drain: Thames Tunnel has you wandering through the sewers of London, It's filled with Dockers and introduces you to both the giant insects and the Thames Monsters.
  • Facial Horror: The Faceless Men are so named because a good slice of their face was flayed off. They're still carrying the flesh in their free hand.
  • Giant Mook: The blue-skinned Dockers are the largest, strongest mook-variety enemies introduced, a small mountain of muscles on bulky legs with Ignatius and Nadia barely reaching their waists. These enemies are among the few mooks who made it into the second game.
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: All the bosses except the last one. Seriously, would you expect to face a fire-breathing multi-headed serpent near a sewer, or a Yeti in a church, or Jack the Ripper in a storehouse?
  • Giant Spider: Despite looking more reptilian than insectoid...
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Pretty much the only way to keep a zombie from getting back up is to separate its legs from its torso.
  • Heart Container: A literal heart. No, not a pink, heart-shaped talisman, but a pulsing red organ with white stripes and blue veins protruding from it.
  • Hellhound: The last, and strongest enemy variety introduced. It's large, red, breathes fire, and looks like a demon that emerged from Hell.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Nadia uses a thin sword, which can be upgraded to a spiked blade, then to a falchion, and then to a broadsword.
  • Historical In-Joke: The Great Fire of London is blamed on attempts to destroy the cult. Later, The Great Fire of 1834 is caused by Adam Crowley.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Averted, as you can smash said Waist Height Fences, but the other walls are really tall.
  • Jack the Ripoff: The penultimate boss, Jose Manuel, evokes the imagery, being a knife-wielding lunatic wearing a top hat who's also referred to as "the Ripper." He appears to have been a human who was mutated by Crowley's virus.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Torch item. It won't work on Hell Hounds.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Frost item, which turns into popsicles and later shatters all enemies. Except the Hell Hounds.
  • King Mook: Larger versions of the Spiders and Gargoyles are fought at the end of Hampstead Heath and St. Marylbone respectively, with the music even shifting to the boss theme. They're tougher than the normal versions and worse, come at you in numbers. Fortunately, they're not immune to the effects of your items.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Well, justified, since at least you're stopping a blasted monster invasion.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: High-levelled weapons or the Chainsaw item will allow you to cut enemies to ribbons one limb by one.
  • Mad Scientist: Crowley, of course.
  • Monster Mash: Werewolves, Zombies, Gargoyles, Harpies, Giant Spiders, Snow Monster, and Jack the Ripper (sort of).
  • New Game Plus: And you can play with infinite items, or as a monster (or both!)
  • Nintendo Hard: The first game for its adrenaline system (which thankfully can be turned off in the N64 port) which requires you to constantly kill monsters to keep the bar high so you don't die, awkward controls, and levels that require you to jump precisely into platforms (also improved on the N64 port), since the jump system is awkward in this game, and the sequel for its hard-to-kill monsters and items being in less supply than the first game, requiring wise use of them.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: In the first game, certain enemies such as gargoyles and winged demons like to disguise themselves as statues, before revealing themselves to attack the players. But subverted in the first level: you can come across a gargoyle in a park, but that one was actually a statue. Real gargoyles don't show up until several levels later.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Nadia goes around fighting monsters in a low-cut, sexy red corset.
  • Off with His Head!: Crowley's eventual fate. But he comes back in the sequel in a more powerful form.
  • One-Winged Angel: A cornered Crowley uses his last potion to turn himself into a large, powerful demon who can be damaged only with full combo attacks. Have fun.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Don't be surprised if you see a monster still trying to maul you after losing his arms and jumping on one leg.
  • Our Imps Are Different: Three fire-breathing Grey Imps show up in the first level, which attack by spitting fire but can be easily defeated. Seven levels later, the player encounters the imps' larger and stronger cousins, Red Imps, which show up in the ruins of Westminster Abbey and Tower of London.
  • Puzzle Boss: All the bosses are impossible to damage with items or weapons, so you have to find another way each to damage them.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: And they have won where the Ogres and Thames Monsters have failed in depopulating the docks. Think about it.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: One of Nadia's sword upgrades is a silly-looking spiked sword.
  • Sociopathic Hero: The hero of the sequel was a former victim of Crowley, and now looks for him in order to kill him again.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Nadia's 360 gun attack.
  • Spider People: The giant spider enemies in the first game look less like arachnids and more like humanoid beings, capable of walking upright on their two hind legs while attacking the players with their forelimbs.
  • Spin Attack: Nadia's "Bloody Ballerina" move, which allows her to execute a tornado-like spin move.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Your characters can't swim. Neither can the monsters. Since the waters are infested by large tentacled monsters with huge jaws, it seems justified...
  • Title Drop: In the animated intro.
    Narrator: And should no one stop him, this city will be consumed by a horde of... Nightmare Creatures!
  • Unique Enemy: The first level of the first game has small, grey imps - three of them - that pop up in level 1, and nowhere else. Larger red imps do appear regularly in later levels, but you won't see the grey types after the initial encounter.

Nightmare Creatures II contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The starting level is the hospital/Asylum where Herbert was locked up, now overrun by Crowley's minions, it's entrance guarded by a monstrous lion-like four-legged horror.
  • Actionized Sequel: The protagonist can now swim, climb on edges and has better jump controls.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game's good ending has Herbert saving Rachel and preparing to hunt down a fugitive Crowley again.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The underwater tunnels of Crowley's castle have clusters of massive octopus-like tentacles dangling from the ceiling, ready to crush you if you swim too close to them. In the Museum level, you're hunted by the absolutely gigantic tentacles of an Eldritch Abomination whose identity is left unrevealed.
  • Ax-Crazy: The protagonist, Herbert Wallace, looks the part. You have Adam Crowley to blame for that.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Some of the monsters include grotesque demons with bat wings in lieu of arms, capable of moving out of Wallace's way easily and attack by gliding into him and kicking.
  • Behind the Black: One moment, your walking into the Museum grounds in Paris, then, as weird noises are heard and the camera turns around, we see that the street in front of the gate is completely occupied by the gigantic green tentacles of a huge abomination, slithering towards you.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After killing the first proper boss, Herbert finds himself blocked in a corridor with an encroaching fire and the only way out locked... then Rachel comes from the other side of the gate and unlocks it, allowing Herbert to get out alive.
  • Body Horror: Skeletal faces, exposed ribs and spines, overly-long and thin limbs, clawed hands and feet... the list goes on and on.
  • Breaking the Bonds: The second boss fought in the lone tower of Crowley's castle is tied up to a wooden structure, but will free its Creepily Long Arms during the boss battle.
  • Breath Weapon: The first proper boss attacks by breathing clouds of poison gas at you: it's actually the safest moment to attack him, as he could otherwise dish out a potentially lethal attack.
  • Call-Back: You can find a portrait of Ignatius Blackwood, founder of the Circle. Ogres and Zombies make a return.
  • Came Back Strong: Adam Crowley cheated death and came back heading a world-wide evil sect.
  • Chainsaw Good: New enemies include giggling maniacs with big chainsaws.
  • Damsel in Distress: Rachel is captured halfway through by Crowley's monsters and taken to the Tour Eiffel to a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Climbing Climax: The final level opens with Herbert emerging grom the parisian underground next to the Eiffel Tower and climbing the whole thing to the top.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Herbert Wallace is creepy, covered in loose bandages and carries around an axe. He's surprisingly soft-spoken and a virtuous person through and through.
  • Determinator: Wallace said he'll save Rachel and nothing, no matter how scary, big or distant, will stand in his way.
  • Doing in the Scientist: The first game implies that Crowley's creatures were created with scientific/alchemical methods and tend to be faulty: in this game, some of Crowley's new beasties are the fruit of dark magic.
  • Eldritch Abomination: A huge monster mostly composed of green tentacles attacks Herbert during the Museum level. Another one, ominously known as the Devouring Death, lurks on the tip of the Tour Eiffel.
  • Enemy Posturing: Most enemies will have an animation during which they growl or perform some other action which leaves them open to a flurry of strikes: you are free to ignore this posturing, but they may counter.
  • Finishing Move: After dealing enough damage to a monster, you can brutally execute them in many ways, using either your axe or your mad strength. Examples include beheading and whacking zombies, headbutting and stomping female zombies, Neck Snap ogres with the handle of your axe and pummeling the octopoid beasts before slamming them into the ground.
  • Flunky Boss: The third boss sends some bug-like hatchlings at you before you can fight it personally.
  • Four Is Death: According to the manual, Crowley stuck a deal with the four Emissaries to help summoning the Entity ad merge with it. If the bosses you fight are the emissaries, this is unknown.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The finishers for spider monsters has Wallace shoot them point-blank with his gun, even if you carry no ammo to fire it.
  • Giant Mook: Bofoids (Large, yellowish monsters with loud roars, powerful arms and extra tentacles on their shoulders) and Dockers/Ogres.
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: All the bosses: a lion-like beast stalking an asylum? A monstrous gas-spewing humanoid dangling from a tentacles sac of flesh? A gangly, multi-limbed ghoul attached to a wooden frame? A green Eldritch Abomination enveloping a Museum followes by some sort of betentacled, big-mouthed beast with a spiked tail and finally a large demonic undead wielding a massive cross. They don't even get names or comments.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Necrophages will attack brandishing a mutilated torso as a cudgel.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Herbert Wallace is more than capable of tearing the monsters apart with his skills, but in many cutscenes he'll be wise/in a hurry enough to stop fighting everything in his way and just run forward towards the next target.
  • Licking the Blade: The knife-wielding monsters will posture by licking their massive blades with an audible slurping sound.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: Pretty much every single monster you ran across is human-like or a humanoid based on other creatures such as bats, spiders or octopi. Even the hound-like beasts are vaguely humanoid.
  • Monumental Damage: Crowley's base of operation lies on the tip of the Eiffel Tower, now covered in a huge, fleshy mass belonging to a supernatural terror.
  • Mundane Solution: The two clearly non-humanoid bosses, seemingly too tough to be hacked to pieces with an axe, are disposed of with dynamite and blown up.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Despite his average build, Herbert is strong enough to finish off certain monsters bigger than he is through brute strength, as seen when he neck-snaps the humongous Dockers or when he lifts the tentacled monsters by one of their tentacles before violently slamming them into the floor.
  • No Name Given: While the first game still has an helpful site listing all the creatures, their names and origins, you're left in the dark about the names and natures of this game's monsters, except for the Final Boss being named the "Devouring Death".
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Take too long to place the dynamite on the barrels surrounding the Devouring Death on the Eiffel Tower and Crowley's plan will go off without a hitch.
  • Noodle People: Most of the monsters are surprisingly gangly and thin with gaunt torsoes and elongated limbs.
  • Off with His Head!: You can do this to the zombies and the chainsaw-wielding monsters as a fatality in the sequel. You can even chop off a monster's head during combat with a lucky shot, but they will keep fighting as long as they have enough health.
  • Oh, Crap!: Wallace's muted reaction to turning around and see the encroaching tentacles of a behemoth beast coming at him outside the Museum.
  • Stock Sound Effects: All roars are very familiar. Especially those of the graveyard boss.
  • The Swarm: A new item in the shape of a large fly releases a swarm of hungry insects against an opponent, which is devoured alive.
  • Time-Limit Boss: The Final Boss must be dealt with in time to avoid the bad ending. The timer is the only obstacle in the fight.
  • The Undead: We have jacket-clad zombies, naked and gangly female zombies, coat-clad, skull-faced zombies with billhooks and probably more.
  • Unique Enemy: The lion-like monster in the hospital: it's the only enemy of this type fought, yet it can be easily dealt with using items, making it unworthy of being considered a proper boss.
  • The Unreveal: The true nature of the behemoth tentacles suddenly appearing to chase Herbert in the Museum isn't clarified: they resemble both the mystery tentacles in Crowley's castle moat and the tentacles on the Devouring Death, but they are far bigger and you never see what they're attached to.
  • Unscaled Merfolk: Two types of monsters: one is an aggressive, green-skinned horror with twin tails and massive fangs, the other is a ghastly gray humanoid with four octopus tentacles in lieu of legs.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Despite his horrible scars and grisly looks, Herbert speaks with a very posh and elegant voice. Spiders normally emit high-pitched growls but one in a cutscene will let out a godzillian roar before attacking.