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  • Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child
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Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child

Platform : Sega Dreamcast
Rated: Mature
15 customer reviews
Metascore: 59 / 100
59

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Product Description

Product Description

Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child is an intense first-person shooter based on the rich world created by Todd McFarlane in his bestselling Kiss Psycho Circus comic books. The world of the Psycho Circus comes alive with vivid, combat-heavy environments, a wall of audio, and more eye candy than a Kiss concert.

The game plunges you into a demonic world of mystery and horror, where you must battle the hideous freaks of nature spawned by the dreams of The Nightmare Child. Players begin as a mere mortal and progressively acquire the powers of The Elder, the supernatural alter egos of Kiss. The Elder, embodied through Demon, Starbearer, Beast King, and Celestial, must prevent the unraveling of the cosmos.

The nightmare minions are largely split into three groups: horde creatures, circus mutants, and bosses. The hordes have their strength in numbers and come at you by the truckload; the circus thugs are stronger, smarter, and possess special abilities that vary depending on their profession. At the heart of each realm is a nightmarish boss, who puts your powers to the ultimate test.

Review

When you see the word "KISS" in the title and four different retail box designs each spotlighting one of the members of KISS, you might reasonably expect that KISS: Psycho Circus - The Nightmare Child would feature wall-to-wall KISS - kind of like this sentence. But oddly enough, KISS: Psycho Circus contains very little of the legendary rockers - some coy song references, snippets from a few hits, and a portrait of Paul Stanley are about as KISS as it gets. As such, faithful members of the KISS Army hoping for the ultimate rock shooter will be particularly disappointed with Psycho Circus, the first game by Third Law Interactive, a development house founded by ex-Ion Storm employees. For everyone else, Third Law's attempt to re-create the frantic action of classic first-person shooters such as Doom is fairly good but ultimately too formulaic. KISS: Psycho Circus is actually based on the Todd McFarlane comic book of the same name. Unlike the band, the game makes absolutely no attempt to rock - instead, it has a generic techno soundtrack. What's worse, it's a techno version of a KISS song! And if the story in the game is any indication of the quality of storytelling in the comic book, then Third Law might have been better off spending its Todd MacFarlane money on a tanker truck full of Blatz. Let's just say the plot involves a witch speaking - at great length - about some indecipherable mumbo jumbo.

You control the four members of a band that isn't KISS as each one battles through a multipart level picking up pieces of a KISS costume along the way. Once you've completed the four areas, a fifth and final level opens up.

The environments are each quite large and compose a sort of "greatest hits" package of shooter themes. The castles of Unreal, the modern offices of Half-Life, the freak show of Blood, the steel plant of Kingpin, and the hellish pits of Doom all return in spirit in KISS: Psycho Circus. Even the greenish canyons of Daikatana make an appearance. Psycho Circus does have a few original settings, such as a towering 50-story bookcase. The game uses a heavily modified version of the LithTech engine used in Shogo and Blood II, and generally speaking, it does an excellent job. Though often unoriginal, the levels look good.

Psycho Circus is a pure shooter. The challenge lies solely in combating endless waves of enemies as you move from the start to the end of every level. The game throws a lot of monsters at you, sometimes as many as 20 at a time. You haven't seen swarms of monsters this dense in a shooter since the heyday of Doom, and at first, it's exhilarating having so much to shoot. Setting off a jack-in-the-box grenade in the midst of ten creatures is undeniably satisfying. However, like most of the weapons in the game - especially what passes for the rocket launcher - the jack-in-the-box seems underpowered. And unfortunately, once you've played the first ten minutes of Psycho Circus, you might as well have played the first ten hours. Though there's an occasional exception, the same creatures appear throughout the entire game. Some of the enemies are totally forgettable, such as the spiderlike Headless, which appears in virtually every battle in the game. Other monsters in Psycho Circus are more interesting, such as a zombified fat lady who rips chunks of blubber out of her distended belly and tosses them at you. But because the fights aren't particularly tactical or tense, the experience becomes repetitive long before Psycho Circus is over.

There's yet to be a shooter since Quake III and Unreal Tournament that's earned as much praise for its multiplayer gameplay. Psycho Circus doesn't break this trend: it features nothing more than standard deathmatch and team deathmatch. There's also a mode called conquest, but it's just deathmatch with a scoring adjustment. Psycho Circus doesn't have a built-in game finder either, nor does it include Mplayer, Gamespy, or any other third-party matchup service. Worse yet, once you actually locate a server, you might encounter fairly regular crashes back to your desktop.

Aside from its drab multiplayer mode, KISS: Psycho Circus is fairly entertaining. Unfortunately, apart from the fact that the band itself makes too few appearances, the core gameplay is too shallow to sustain the entire game. The firefights are too similar to provide much excitement the tenth time through, much less the hundredth. Ultimately, Psycho Circus is one game you and the boys won't be playing all night.--Erik Wolpaw--Copyright © 2000 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review


Product Details

  • ASIN: B00004WESW
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: October 31, 2000
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,699 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By how katts on June 9, 2009
Verified Purchase
This game is a cross between Doom,Quake 1 and Hexxen, or if you ever played Powerslave on the Sega Saturn.It's an old school first person shooter for sure.
The cool thing is the jukeboxes througout the game can be activated and they play KISS songs briefly.
The atmosphere is dark,gloomy and you probally will have to adjust the brightness to see.
I think the audio on this Dreamcast game is top notch considering the age of the game. You hear moans and groans while exploring the various levels.
As of now I have not finished this game. I do not like to tax the ol' Dreamcast :) so I play sparingly.
If you like old school shooters like Doom,Hexxen,Powerslave and even Quake 1, I say buy this game and you won't be sorry. Just don't expect lots of KISS presence because it's not there frequently.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 9, 2000
Kiss has done it again! The game ,reminiscent of Doom,only much more entertaining,lets you choose your fave warrior,The King Of Beasts ,The Starbearer,The Demon,or Celestial(Whom we know well as Peter,Paul,Gene,& Ace).Each warrior has its own realm,where you as its player,must complete the task of eradicating every enemy hurling towards you,endlessly.Also while playing, you can listen to cool Kiss music .But I won't reveal everything here,it'll just lose all the magic this game has in its power.A real mesmerizing game ,for Kiss die-hard fans & non-fans alike,it's the ultimate in rock/video gaming experience!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Phil on December 4, 2000
This game was not what I thought it would be. It appeals to me because I am a big KISS fan! The game play is straight forward. Move through the enviornments and kill monsters in search of the pieces of your KISS costume. It takes time to get through each phase. You start out as Paul and end with Gene. You switch characters once you have the full costume and have completed all tasks.You will collect different weapons unique to each character. It is fun, but the controls are a little difficult to get use to. The graphics are average. The instruction book does not give you a clue as to what you need to do or how to do it. If you like to play first person shooters and like KISS, you will like this game. Otherwise keep looking.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. DEATS on February 10, 2001
I'm not a fan of first person shooters or Kiss; if you feel the same, read on. I recieved this game as a gift, when I got around to trying it out I was pleased to find the levels to be a perfect balance between challenge and fun. Not too dark (although I believe this is some variant of the Quake II or III engine). The game is fun to play, and I love the default control setup (use the analog pad to look around, the colored buttons to move around, and the triggers to use weapons).
Quake III and Unreal are both more impressive for graphics, but they are designed to be multiplayer games. This game game has story element and most important it's fun and addictive.
And as others have stated here (as well as myself) you do not have to be a fan of Kiss to enjoy this game, it's based off a comic book that's loosely based around the band. Kiss music is used in this game about as much as Nine Inch Nails music was used in the original Quake, it's transparent and blends with game play.
Four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Davis on July 22, 2003
I'm a Kiss fan. Actually, for Kiss fans, this game may be a little bit of a letdown. You don't ever get to "see" Kiss in the game. The characters which develop one piece of armor at a time are all first person, so the only Kiss visuals are the odd mirror and occasional album cover. Other than that, there are references galore (a battle in a club called Coventry, Cold Gin billboards, monsters called Strutters, etc.). This game does not have many references at all to the MacFarline comic - just a few screenshots of artwork from the books. The storyline is totally different - but VERY good. It's a macabre game, for sure, but it's a lot of fun if you like things like "Doom."
Ignore all the folks who dismiss this game. It rocks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 2000
What can I say what a letdown. While I am not a huge kiss fan, I do like the show they put on. The graphics are ok,game is fairly, straightfoward kill! Unless you are like a big Kiss fan stay away and wait for Half Life
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By carlo Shapanka on August 4, 2001
this game is kind of fun once you figure out how to move and stuff but the game is a challange and it isn't that bad but it is long you have to beat the game 5 times to actully beat it but overall it is a cool game
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Well, I bought this game even though I'd never even listened to a single song from Kiss. I've never read the McFarlane comic from which this game is based (although I do read some of his Spawn comics). The only reason I bought this game was because I wanted a really gory and nightmare inducing first person shooter (I'm a big fan of shooting games). Did I get what I wanted... yeah, I guess so. I only have three problems with this game: 1) The difficulty is very great even on very easy. 2) You have to adjust your TV every time you play so that you can actully see where you are going. It's such a dark game that you often find yourself lost in the dark. Just lighten up your TV and you'll do fine 3) The storyline is laughable. I mean come on, Kiss saving the world from the minions of Hell?. Why not have the Dixie Chicks save us from a dangerous comet in an upcomming PS2 title? Look, with all I've mentioned above, I still love the game. The graphics are some of the best on any system, the game play is great, and it's just so fun to scream at those evil creatures from Hell to... well, go to Hell. Take this into account and rent it before you buy it. You might like it, you might not
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