Nightmare Circus (Sega/Funcom, 1996)Posted on December 1st, 2009 11 comments
After nearly 14 years, someone (a Brazilian dude, of course) has finally figured out how to finish Nightmare Circus without cheats and posted the results online. You can probably click on the video to find the remaining parts.
Serious Genesis collectors probably know about this one. Announced in 1995, the side-scrolling action game (starring a guy who looks a little like John Redcorn) received perfunctory previews in US game magazines but ultimately found official release only from Tec Toy in Brazil. It was reportedly on the Sega Channel for a short time, too, before that service ended in 1998.
The game, as Tec Toy released it, seems about 95% complete by my estimate. Full debug controls are easily available, there’s no story element or ending (besides the credit roll), and actually trying to work your way through the title is a long trial-and-error process. For most players tooling around with the ROM on an emulator, it takes a while even to figure out the controls — Nightmare Circus is meant to be played with a six-button pad, and Mr. Redcorn moves a lot like he’s a Street Fighter II character, right down to the strong/weak melee moves.
There are a lot of good things to say about this game — some of the setpieces are pretty, some of the music atmospheric — but it plainly needed another couple months. As is, it’s a depressing journey into the depressed minds of some depressed Scandinavian programmers. And yet I watched the entire walkthrough anyway. I’m incorrigible.
I wondered what this game’s deal was. I watched the whole playthrough — it’s like someone took the sheer inexplicableness of a bad point-and-click adventure game and put it in a platformer.
This is also the only Genesis game I’ve seen that makes you use the Mode button during gameplay. And in combination with other buttons, even.
Ah, Genesis music- not really good quality, but somehow endearing nonetheless.
EDIT: Go listen to something involving Hitoshi Sakimoto and then tell me how bad Genesis music is.
Oh, I didn’t mean to say that all Genesis/MD games had crappy soundtracks- but to me there is a Genesis “sound”, just like when you hear an NES game you can tell what system it’s for just by hearing it alone.
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