The year is 1934. You, as Wallace, are a captive in Adam Crowley's genetics hospital. Crowley, the antagonist from the original Nightmare Creatures, is back to his old tricks, unleashing monstrous creatures on the London populace. As the mentally embittered Wallace, you must fight these monsters, rescue your beloved Rachel, and traverse nine lengthy locales in search of the final confrontation with Crowley.
Using your trusty axe, you break out of your room and seek to escape the retched asylum. An undead creature threatens your life. With a few taps of the square, triangle, and X buttons, you slash him to ribbons. Unfortunately, after this initial encounter, you realize just how nonresponsive and stunting the game's fighting system is. Battle after battle, you'll flail wildly on the attack buttons and watch in frustration as you helplessly find yourself on the receiving end of a demon sandwich. The unforgiving control might be acceptable if the game had diversity in battle, but even that aspect is deficient. For each of the 28 possible enemies you encounter, from hulking demons to supple she-beasts, you need only find the appropriate combination of attacks with which to vanquish them. Furthermore, since these encounters are inescapable, frustration and repetition quickly lead to exasperation.
Unfortunately, the game has plodding levels right along with the poor control and repetitious foes. Run down the hallway, up a ladder, and down a skylight, and make use of a few keys, and you'll find yourself outside the first asylum level in... hours. It will take you ten minutes running at full speed before you reach the first save spot, and it will be a good 30 to 40 minutes before you reach the initial boss. Some will be quick to call this replay value, but unlike comparable titles in the genre, there's no plot pacing with which to support this claim. While Nightmare Creatures 2 is oozing with creepiness, the molasses-slow plot and haphazard character development compound the boredom brought on by recycled enemies and environments.
Beating a dead horse is no fun, but repetition is truly this game's undoing. The game tries to wow you with dangling chains, creaking doors, and countless ugly creatures, but the constant appearance of these elements ruins their thrill value. Even worse, Nightmare Creatures 2 feels like a rehash of the first game. Once again, you'll switch between male and female characters, and as in the first game you'll use an axe or short swords as your main weapon, while a plethora of limited use power-ups, such as napalm and spine crowns, abound. If not for the game's updated visuals, you'd think you were playing Nightmare Creatures one and a half.
Oddly enough, while Kalisto left the game's plot, gameplay, innovation, and replay value on the cutting-room floor, the company has given the game a level of graphical quality rarely seen on the PlayStation. The main character's bandages flap in the air, while enemies stutter, crawl, and saunter about as if they really are undead. You use a combination of axe blows and kicks, and you can even bury the aforementioned axe deep within their fleshy entrails - hurtling splatters of blood all over the floor, the walls, and yourself. Backgrounds are dark and detailed, replete with dripping water, stained tapestries, and countless breakable objects. Visually speaking, Nightmare Creatures 2 is a kill-or-be-killed experience.
The sound quality in Nightmare Creatures 2 is an area of contention. The '90s horror fan will call it bland and uninspiring, while horror veterans will find it reminiscent of upper-echelon spook films of the '50s and '60s. To this end, Kalisto and Rob Zombie deserve credit for tracking the game with ominously haunting background anthems. They're depressing, they're somber, and they're utterly fitting. Whether it's the lion's roar that emits from the creepy crawly cat monster's mouth or the sound of your axe splitting the creature's stomach open, Nightmare Creatures 2's effects experience is also happily sickening. Burning torches, splashing puddles, crashing lightning, and pounding rain make up some of the better examples of the game's aural ambience. It's really a shame that there's no music player in the options menu.
Regardless of the game's positive multimedia qualities, Nightmare Creatures 2 fails miserably at its obvious attempt at creating a cross between Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. It's been more than two years since the original Nightmare Creatures - two years that Kalisto could have developed the characters, created a consistent plot, fixed the control, and added limitless variety. Instead, the company has just made the game look and sound pretty. If you've never played Soul Reaver, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, or the first Nightmare Creatures, this game may be a decent purchase. Otherwise, don't believe the hype - it's a rehash.