Nightbreed. (computer game) (evaluation)
by Richard Rapp
What horrible and demented imaginings inspire a software title like Nightbreed? For Ocean Software, the inspiration is fright master Clive Barker's movie Nightbreed. Described by Ocean Software as an "interactive movie," this game struggles to capture the movie's feel in a videogame. Unfortunately, adventure game fans will likely find this game a disappointment.
As Aaron Boone, a diagnosed schizophrenic and suspected serial killer, you certainly have your share of problems, enough to drive anyone crazy. While being held for observation in a mental asylum, you hear of a place called Midian, where men can escape civilization's injustices. You decide to find Midian and join its inhabitants, misshapen creatures of the night known as the Breed. However, during your search, you unwittingly lead the police to Midian and place the survival of the Breed in jeopardy. Now you must fight to save them. As in the movie, your first have to escape the Breed--who seem bent on your death--before you can help them.
Nightbreed goes astray by forcing you to follow the movie's plot too closely. Often an adventure game's appeal stems from investigating and exploring a fictional world--something you can't control when you watch a movie, and something you can't do in this game. Exploration frequently merits swift, unavoidable death. Besides being frustrating, these unjust exterminations negate the reason for the game's existence. If we wanted to see the movie's plot line repeated verbatim, we'd just rent the movie.
The lack of basic features such as mouse support and a save-game facility adds to the frustration. A mouse seems the natural choice of controls for this game, given all the pointing and clicking you must do, and I'm frankly amazed that the designers didn't include mouse support as at least an option. Considering how often you die in this game, every concession to players should've been made.
Redeemed only by its graphics. Nightbreed does incorporate some appealing artwork, capturing the ambience of horror movies. Unfortunately, my opinion of Nightbreed the videogame parallels my opinion of the movie; it could've been an order of magnitude better.