Commodore User


Author: Mark Patterson
Publisher: Cascade
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #55


You awake, not in the land of reality, but in the land of dreams. Bad ones. Dreams from which you cannot escape. You are trapped in the realm of Frightmare. A realm divided up into four dream zones, each more horrifying than the last. The forest, caverns, torture chambers, and, finally, the laboratory.

Although you do not possess the power to escape from your dreams, you do have the power to create some useful objects in the various dream zones, guns, teleporters, crucifixes, chalices and more.

The land of Frightmare is inhabited by hellish creatures. One story reads that long ago an evil European Prince had the hands cut off any peasants who could not pay their taxes. These hands are now condemned to roam the land of Frightmare forever. A race of people who once worshipped the moon because warped and are now condemned to spend eternity trapped between wolf and man. A rich Transylvanian family who made a pact with Satan so as never to be parted from their wealth, have now become part of Frightmare, rising from the ground as Zombies. There's a lot of weirdos in Frightmare.


To escape from Frightmare, you have to advance the clock from midnight to twelve minutes past eight. You do this by discovering new rooms, each room found adding another six minutes to the clock. Also, you must raise the degree of your dream, from Bad Dream through Terrible Fantasy until finally, you reach the state of Nefarious Frightmare.

To help you in Frightmare, you can get your hands on a host of objects of which nearly every one is needed if you're setting out to complete the game. You get the normal pistol with a generous smattering of bullets around the rooms, but these will not kill every single thing you meet. For the like of zombies, devils and werewolves, you need the silver gun and bullets. These are a lot harder to find but when you do dispose of something that can only be killed by silver it does have a big improvement on your dream rating. Crucifixes will freeze any little problems you might have and holy water is another offensive weapon, with a smart bomb effect it destroys any minor spectres on screen.

Frightmare is a large game, short on colour, but with some very nice graphics. The backdrops in several zones are repetitive, but well thought out. For instance, in the lab you have glass spheres with brains sitting in them, and large humans linked up to machines. But my favourite zone is the torture chamber where guillotines and hanging corpses set the tone. The critters are like most of the backdrops, two colour, which is a shame when you take into account how well animated some are. The wolfmen are great, they start off as normal humans who hunch over and transform into wolves. Your character is a nice clear size and well animated, but not really up to the standard set by the other sprites.

With the sonics you get the noise of the wind in the background coupled with a few uninspiring spot effects, nothing much there to bother about.

Frightmare is a good game if hard for its type (platform). If you like this sort of thing, check it out.

Mark Patterson

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