Nightmare doesn’t focus on classroom facts.
Creativity & Imagination
By the Player:
are rewarded for exploring the game’s three main areas, each of which contains
hidden manuscript pages, which can unlock powerful weapons for Alan. This is
particularly interesting as players revisit each area during each of the plot’s
cycles, with new areas becoming accessible each time.
also have room to experiment in combat, where the exact choice of weapons and
items affects the flow of battle directly.
By the Developer:
Nightmare follows a story set outside of the original game, and it makes
the decision to focus a little more on action. The vague survival-horror
feeling of the original is still around, but it’s buried underneath a more
arcade-style experience. The combat mechanics are solid if not revolutionary,
and the handful of more creative ideas all prove to be significant.
said, the story does assert itself through the game’s structure. Alan finds
himself getting sucked back into the beginning of the story every time he
reaches the end, and his ultimate goal is to work with the game’s cast to
figure a way to break out of it. Alan solves the same problems repeatedly, but
can skip more steps each time as he and the other characters collect new clues
during each cycle.
soundtrack makes a couple unique choices, and the cutscenes in particular -
most of which are live-action, and several of which focus on the game’s
menacing villain as he dances around in TV screens - lend the game a distinct
skills are not a factor, outside of conservation of ammo during combat.
Nightmare is a single-player title. Chunks of the game’s plot focus on
helping people, but players don’t have any direct control on the interactions
between Alan and the various tonwspeople found in the game.
Nightmare is an action game, but the action moves at a deliberate pace. The
challenge is usually managing various types of ammunition while handling
multiple enemy types. Players need to use their flashlight beams to stun
enemies before firing their weapons, and the flashlight’s battery needs to
either be recharged or fed manually after only a few seconds. Between the
flashlight battery and the weapons’ reload times, even a small group of enemies
becomes a test of multitasking and crowd control.
are some light puzzle ideas floating around the game too, though they mostly
involve collecting items whose locations are spelled out and act more as
instruments to move the plot forward than anything else.
is also an arcade mode, which sticks Alan in various arenas and challenges him
to survive for a certain amount of time against waves of foes. Its pretty
tightly constructed, and a combo-based high score counter makes playing well
American Nightmare is not a simulation game.
Nightmare was fairly well received. Many reviews praised it particularly
for its high production values, more on par with full retail games than with
the typically smaller Xbox Live titles. Its tightened focus on action and its
dark story were also praised.
Controls & Options
Standard options are available. More difficult levels of the arcade mode are
unlocked as players reach certain high score marks.
American Nightmare was rated Teen by the ESRB with descriptors for
Suggestive Themes, Violence, Blood and Language.