In a dark room built into its E3 booth, Sega is showing off its upcoming first-person horror game for the Kinect: Rise of Nightmares. After bracing ourselves to confront some hideous creatures, we took our first steps into this chilling game.
A representative informed us that the demo is taken from the third act of the game. Prior to what we were about to play, the main character and his wife had gone on a trip in an attempt to save their struggling marriage. But things took a turn for the horrible when the wife was abducted, and the husband's attempts to find his wife landed him in his current predicament.
The demo began with our character awaking to find himself strapped in a chair in what appeared to be a dank dungeon. In front of us was another man strapped in a similar chair, and a man wearing a bloody apron and wielding a hacksaw was talking to him. Before long, the hacksaw-wielding maniac chopped off the poor sod's right hand and followed that up a few seconds later by burying the hacksaw in his brain. We probably would have been in for a similar fate, but fortunately, a phone call from the killer's sweetheart resulted in him leaving at just that moment. However, this mad scientist told one of his zombielike creations, a terrifying woman with an unnaturally long tongue and the pallor of death, to keep an eye on us. We had another stroke of remarkable luck, though, as the woman's head was chopped off from behind, and an older man, seemingly another one of the maniac's prisoners, freed us from our bonds.
It was at this point that we took control. To move forward, we took a step forward. Stepping forward farther made us move faster. Turning our upper body changed the direction our character was facing. Some items in the environment had icons indicating we could pick them up or interact with them by hovering our hand over that area for a moment, and we picked up many weapons this way, including an iron pipe, brass knuckles, and a chainsaw. We were told that there are roughly 40 weapons in the full game and that they will degrade as you use them, so you can't just grab a chainsaw and use it to slice your way through the entire game.
The weapons came in handy in the frequent instances when groups of the mad scientist's creations swarmed us. To assume a fighting stance, we held our arms up, and from there, we could punch, kick, block, or swing any weapon we might be wielding. These abominations were truly foul, with unforgettable features like hollow chest cavities and a tendency to emit some blood-curdling noises, so we wanted to do everything we could to put them out of their misery (and get ourselves out of danger) as quickly as possible. Our attacks typically finished off the creatures fast, and it was satisfying to knock limbs off of their bodies. Some enemies required a different approach, though. For instance, at one point, we encountered a creature whose shrieks were intense enough to harm our character, and we had to cover our ears to defend against the attack. This restricted our hands, but we could still kick the creature.
We're intrigued by Rise of Nightmares' goal of creating a gory, creepy game that's played with the Kinect. It seems to be succeeding with the gore and creepiness; the atmosphere in the dungeon was chilling and some of the creatures that attacked us had terrifying designs. We came away from the demo with a few concerns about movement; there were some occasions when the game seemed to have trouble reading our turning motions, which caused us to walk straight into a wall. Such difficulties could prove deadly in the game's more perilous environments, like a room we passed through with huge spinning blades we had to avoid.(There is an auto-move option that sets you on track and moving forward, which you can activate by holding out your right arm, but in some situations, it's advantageous to control your own movement.) However, there's still time for any kinks with the motion controls to be ironed out before the game's projected September release date. Watch GameSpot for more on Rise of Nightmares in the coming months...if you dare!