Sinclair User


Author: Chris Jenkins
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Sinclair User #103

Nightbreed: The Action Game

Clive Barker has the most revolting imagination going, as you'll know if you've read any of his books or seen either of his films, the pukey Hellraiser or even pukier Hellbound. The poor lad just loves death, degradation and deformities, and his novel Cabal has now been turned into a film, Nightbreed, which celebrates all three. Whether this film is a fit subject for a computer game, you'll, have to decide yourself; it got an X certificate in the States, which is a step mor, restricted than our Cert 18.

Yo, see, the Nightbreed are the outcasts o, society, the deformed dregs and mutated monsters who, have been exiled to the underground kingdom of Midian, which is ruled by the godlike Baphomet. The gruesome special effects makeup used in the film brings all these monsters to life, and while I think the argument is meant to be that the intolerant humans are the worst monsters of all, like souvenir-hunters at an air-crash, Barker and his mates seem to enjoy the revulsion for its own sake...

The plot of the game follows that of the film fairly closely. Shapechangers, magicians and psychics, the Nightbreed are feared by humans, especially the neo-Nazi Sons of the Free, under the leadership of the sinister Dr Decker, known as The Mask. The hero, Boone, is convinced that he is a schizophrenic mass murderer, and seeks sanctuary in Midian; but Decker and the Sons pursue him into the caves. Your task is to reach the heart of the labyrinth, where you can save the Nightbreed; but Decker and the Bersrekers, wild warrior Nightbreed freed from their pens in the bowels of the earth, are out to get you.

Night Breed: The Action Game

After an introductory scroll explaining the plot, the game starts on the outskirts of Midian, on a black night with flashing lightning. Your first task is to find a Passkey, an inscribed token which opens a pathway to Midian - in this case, straight downwards, as you plummet into a crevasse and fall into the underworld.

The landscape of Midian is shown using a parallax scrolling system; the graphics are fair, with sparing use of colour, and the animation smooth if unimaginative. Strange columns, weird plants, carvings, archways and ruined buildings scatter the landscape. You can run left and right, and move in and out of the screen through archways, and climb ladders - this is certainly a game which requires plenty of mapping skill, 'cos everything looks very much the same.

The archways bear the same sort of icons found on the passkeys; if you remember the symbols, you can start at any point of the game by selecting the Passkey sequence from the main menu and building the correct symbol from the parts provided.

Night Breed: The Action Game

Hazards preventing you from exploring deeper into Midian include clutching hands shooting from pits, berserkers who leap from corners and savage you, monster insects, giant tailed demons, and the Sons, who look like some sort of Third Reich postmen. Some are armed with remarkably ineffective flamethrowers, others with more dangerous machine-guns. To start off, you are armed only with your hands and feet; you can punch your enemies senseless, or in some cases leap over them. Later on you will be able to pick up pistols dropped by defeated Sons; these help you to get past the stronger Nightbreed.

Watch out for bombs which fly onto the screen and which have to be deactivated, and for sights which follow you around and which indicate that a Son-with-a-gun is in the area.

If you lose a life, Baphomet will resurrect you twice; your current strength is shown by a decaying skull in the top right of the screen. Unfortunately you have to rewind the tape and re-load each time you lose a game.

Night Breed: The Action Game

Decent music and sound effects complete what is a faithful adaptation of the film. If you enjoy really horrible games, this is the one for you.

Label: Ocean Price: £9.99 Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Overall Summary

Clive Barker fans are bound to lap up this slice of horror.

Chris Jenkins

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