So there are some old school video games based on Clive Barker’s Nightbreed. Maybe you knew that. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, take a look back with us.
The YouTube channel for Barker’s production company Seraphim has some gameplay videos of Nightbreed: The Action Game and Nightbreed: The Interactive Movie Game. The two videos combine for less than 2,100 views at the time of this writing, so they probably need to be seen by a bigger audience.
Here’s The Action Game:
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The intro (a lengthy text, which I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing from the video) tells a familiar story and sets up your quest:
Throughout history, man has always attacked and destroyed things he does not understand, consumed by fear and envy of abilities he can never have. From a race older than man came the Nightbreed, immortals, shapechangers, powers beyond belief. After centuries of persecution, the race was almost wiped out, and so Baphomet, their god, summoned the survivors to Midian.
Midian is an underground labyrinth underneath the Necropolis (city of the dead). Through the centuries, Midian faded into legend, a secret kept by the mad and the condemned as a place where all sins could be forgiven. Foretold in the history of Midian will come a man bringing death and destruction to the Nightbreed, but will ultimately save them. You are Boone, destined to become Cabal, saviour of the Nightbreed.
By coming to Midian you have unleashed man in the form of the “Sons of the Free,” an armed neo-Nazi organisation, led by Eigerman, the chief of police. Their aim is the total destruction of the Nightbreed. You have come to Midian to seek forgiveness for a series of murders that you believe you have committed. In fact, Doctor Decker is the multiple murderer and in the form of his alter-ego “The Mask,” has come to Midian to kill your girlfriend Lori, the only witness to his vicious crimes.
The Nightbreed have a darker side in the form of The Berserkers, wild creatures who will destroy anything, even other Nightbreed. For this reason, they are locked in the bowels of Midian.
You, Boone, stand at the gates of the Necropolis. Your task is to find a way into Midian and save the Nightbreed. Avoiding the “Sons of the Free” and any traps they may have set! Under the onslaught of the “Sons of the Free,” the very structure of Midian is collapsing, so time is of the essence. Due to this collapse some Berserkers have been released. Passkey symbols are depicted on the walls, so be sure to remember them. Now, Boone, play out your destiny!
Here’s the box art, courtesy of GamesDBase.com:
A review at MyAbandonware.com says this:
Although the game is a standard shoot-everything-in-sight fare, it borrows some adventure-game elements and integrate them into the game quite well. As Boone, you have a handful of tasks to complete. First, you’ve got to collect the three keys to Midian, one located on each level, which will involve defeating or avoiding lots of Sons Of The Free and an equal number of hostile Nightbreed. You’ve also got to free the Beserkers, a bunch of homicidal and totally uncontrollable ‘breed normally kept locked up in the dungeons of Midian, then get baptised by Baphomet (the living god of the Nightbreed), free the ‘breed from getting trapped underground and kill The Mask to rescue your girlfriend Lori. Phew. The game will give you a task (for instance, finding Baphomet and getting baptised), then, when you achieve it, giving you a dinky little animated reward sequence which tells you what you have to do next. This is a nice touch, and a far cry from many other mission-oriented action games where you’re not sure what to do. It’s quite difficult for anyone to depict the rollercoaster, plot-twisting effect of a film like this in a computer game, but OCEAN managed to do that quite well.
Here’s a look at The Interactive Movie Game:
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This one begins with Boone in Decker’s office, and Decker telling Boone that he has diagnosed him with schizophrenia, and that he believes Boone is responsible for the murders. From there, the interactive part comes into play, and you can drive your car (in overhead map view) to the police station and be taken to the asylum. There, you dream about Midian and wake up to meet a crazy guy (Narcisse) who also knows about it. Then, you set out on the road again. I’ll just let you watch the video to see where it goes from there.
Here’s a look at the box art for that one, courtesy of The Horror Section:
I love that David Cronenberg is featured so prominently here.
Out of the two games, the Action Game looks somewhat entertaining, while the Interactive Movie Game looks, frankly, pretty bad. But still, it’s cool to check out in five-minute YouTube video form.
Squakenet said this about the Interactive Movie game:
The controls are awful, the graphics are an absolute shame and the overall experience can only be saved by one’s propensity for the horror of bad design! Oh, man, I’ve seen some awful animations in my life, but I could have drawn smoother animations, and I’m no games development company as Ocean is.
Both games were released by Ocean shortly after the movie. Apparently there was going to be a third one, but that never came to fruition as the first two sold so poorly. This might have been different had they been available on the NES. Maybe. The Action game was released for the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and DOS. The Interactive Movie Game was released only for the Amiga, ST, and DOS.
MyAbandonware appears to have both games available for download if you want to check it out, though I’ve not attempted to do so, so you’ll be doing it at your own risk. Google either title, and you’ll find the links.
As you’re probably aware, Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut was released on DVD and Blu-ray a few months ago. It’s also streaming on Netflix. If you haven’t checked that out yet, I’d highly recommend doing so.