Reviewed by Paul Rixon


Issue 32

Mar/Apr 88

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Monstrosities abound in this latest release from Red Rat. Originally banned along with 'Little Devil', NIGHTMARES has reportedly since been withdrawn from the main offended party's list of 'untouchable' software perhaps their conscience was keeping them awake at night?

It's a shoot 'em up by nature, but just for a change there aren't any space-age zap-mobiles, Photon missiles or Alien Motherships to worry about. This time you assume the role of a brave Faerie (not a typo!) and as you might have guessed, the fate of elf-kind lies entirely in your skilful hands. Someone has taken a lot of time and effort to write a fantastic plot, which doesn't add a great deal to the game but makes for some excellent reading while you're waiting for it to load in!

It seems that elfin society needs protecting from the encroaching darkness that threatens to engulf the land. How unfortunate that the Faerie King Lord Motorhod is away on business and unable to drive the evil essences back to hell and hence rekindle the magical radiance that keeps the Faeries perpetually young and happy!! Only you can save the day by collecting radiant insects called Airflits and destroying the frightening array of hideous Demons, Ectoplasm spitting 'Grunts', Ravening Werewolves and the ugly `Monkoids'. No piece of cake! Although armed with a magic bow and arrow plus an intermittent supply of Lightning bombs, the monsters are continually in pursuit with only one intent to sap your precious energy reserves! They invariably succeed too! If you manage to collect the specified quota of Airflits, rescue all of the stray faeries and eliminate a sufficient number of nasties, you must then search for an exit door taking you through to the next in the series of fifteen action-packed levels.

As for visual effects, you will be hard put to find a better variety of monsters than in NIGHTMARES, they really are a terrific bunch of nasties! You won't have to search the screen for a minuscule blob like in so many other arcade games this lot are VERY conspicuous filling up as much as half of the available screen height! The attention to detail is superb, and each level features its own horizontally scrolling background scenery. Music and sound effects are very good too, providing the decisive touch to an outstanding overall impression. One word of warning: NIGHTMARES becomes very challenging, especially on the higher levels, so if you haven't got an auto-fire joystick I would suggest that you acquire one before hand!

Games of the shoot 'ern up genre can be boring at the best of times if not constructed in a competent manner, but Red Rat have found the magic formula to produce an entertaining package of the highest quality. Be sure to show your appreciation!

Paul Rixon

Published by Red Rat. 7.95 on cassette - 9.95 on disk - 1 player with joystick