London Preview 7th June '2000

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Just got back from a special preview showing of The Nightmare Child at the Playing Fields in London, a few people from Gathering Of Developers made the trip over to show off the game. Well what can I say apart from that the game is shit hot, don't worry about having to think when you're playing - this game was built for your trigger finger alone....

Take2 & The Gathering Of Developers had the whole of the Playing Fields closed off to show off a few of their games, the most heavily pushed being KISS Psycho Circus. Apart from grabbing a load of freebies (KISS posters, cans of KISS energy drink(!) and best of all - an open bar!) the day was spent sitting with the developers and seeing the game in action. Shane from G.O.D took me though the game from start to finish, and I have to admit I was totally blown away - the graphical effects are amazing.

I guess like me most of you are probably interested in the game just because of KISS, sadly apart from one of the developers I think I was the only KISS fan there, although a lot of UK magazines were taking a big interest which was good to see. After the intro to the game (which doesn't seem to contain any KISS music) the game starts and lets you pick which character you'd like to play, something I didn't know was that you start the game without your KISS armour & make-up. When you pick your character all 4 are standing in a ring without make-up and you can spin them around from character to character - Paul Stanley was up first and he looked pretty cool, as did Ace. However for some strange reason Peter starts the game with a goatie beard..... and as for Gene, he starts off the game completely bald!!! I guess you get to pick a wig on the way or something, I don't know how Mr Simmons will feel about that when he sees it!

Once you've picked your character you get to enter one of the realms (each realm is a huge level). There are 5 realms in all, one for each of the characters and a special 5th one where you battle the Nightmare Child. Each realm is based around each of the KISS characters and has features from their characteristics (eg lots of fire in Gene's etc). You then need to find your armour as quickly as possible as from the very start hoards of Circus Psycho's are after you, the very last power-up that you pick up will give you your make-up and the powers that go along with it. Each character has his own array of weapons, along with a special weapon - Paul Stanley's special weapon is his star that causes mass destruction to come from his finger tips. Without a doubt the best weapon on show was Gene Simmons' - he has a dragon that sits on his shoulder, use it properly and it blows out a huge trail of fire from it's mouth (see picture), over use it and all you get is a trail of black smoke. There are also axes, loads of guns, explosive jack-in-the-boxes and whips that can be used Indiana Jones style - and you'll need them all too, there's tonnes of mutants scattered around the levels. A huge fat bloke will bounce back anything you fire at him if you hit him in the stomach, the clown face from the cover of the Psycho Circus album will try to kill you, and to top it off if you're too slow at cleaning up someone will come along and resurrect all the dead!!

Now comes the slightly disappointing news for KISS fans - as you know 10 KISS songs are featured in the game, all of these are accessed via juke boxes that appear throughout the levels. Shane used the juke box to put on a record, all of a sudden Psycho Circus blasted from the speakers, and it sounded great - really added to the game (if you're a fan anyway). However, after about a minute the song faded out - it looks like whole songs are not going to be featured, only parts of them. This is a great shame as it was really cool hearing Psycho Circus & Unholy when you're playing, someone else from GOD later told me that this was due to licensing issues. However there are a few other KISS mentions throughout the game - 'The Coventry' road house and an advert for 'Cold Gin' to name just a few.

I then got a preview of the SEGA Dreamcast version, before I go any further I better point out that the demo they had was only 15% complete. They are currently having problems converting the PC version as so many enhancements have been made to the PC's 3D engine, this is likely to push the release date for the DC back to August or September. Compared to the PC version this didn't really have the same appeal, it just didn't look as good and seemed to have lower res graphics, but like I said it was only 15% complete and I was ensured that the final version would look a lot different. One cool thing to note is that the Dreamcast version will come with a special Destroyer comic book, it will also allow multi-player with up to 3 other Dreamcasts over the net although they are trying their hardest to push this up to 4 (PC will handle up to 16 players). This is also supposed to be the very first 1st person shooter to be released for the console.

So overall, if you like 3D shooting games (and there's a lot to shoot!) you will love this. Graphically it can complete with anything else out there, hopefully the UK press will take more of an interest to help it get the success it deserves (PC Format & PC Gamer who were both there have confirmed full page previews in their next issues). No demo is planned yet although the game is at a stage where one could be produced, don't expect one before it's official release -14th July in the UK, 3 days before the US release.


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