KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child

While most recent first-person shooters do their best to advance the genre, like Half-Life with its brilliant level design or Daikatana's AI side-kicks, Psycho Circus takes a huge step back by simply throwing hordes of enemies at you, making the gameplay feel like an updated version of Doom.

Through four major quests, you will guide each of the Elders - the Starbearer, Celestial, Beastking, and Demon - on a hunt for the missing pieces of their armour, which have been scattered in a curiously linear fashion across a series of strange worlds, ranging from a gothic cathedral to a creepy mansion. And with the exception of the carnival levels, most of the settings seem thrown together, rather than an integral part of the plot.

Based on the Todd McFarlane comic book by the same name, KISS Psycho Circus contains an assortment of bizarre enemies, including the spider-like Arachni-clown and flame throwing Uni-psycho. The Lithtech engine does a good job of bringing to life these unusual beasts and the world they inhabit with plenty of bright colours and nice light-ing effects. The reflective surfaces of the weapons are particularly impressive. The game was devel-oped with the Dreamcast in mind and it shows in the chunky menu screens and the HUD interface, which remains at 640x480 no matter what resolution you are playing in. (The latter is fixed by a patch.) Your arsenal includes most of the standard weapons, including versions of the machine gun, shotgun, and missile launcher, and they certainly get the job done. Different situations require different weapons and you will find yourself switching between them often. Each Elder has a different melee weapon (like Gene Simmons' . . . uh, the Demon's mighty battleaxe) and one unique weapon (like an energy-emitting crystal star for the Starbearer), but the rest of the arsenal remains the same for each character.

Incredibly, the game's soundtrack isn't by KISS at all. You'll hear the occasional classic KISS tune emanating from a radio or jukebox in the game, but that's all you get from the Detroit bad boys. It would have been nice to incorporate more KISS songs. Instead, you get generic background music.

The main problem with The Nightmare Child is that without an engrossing story to move you along, the task of taking out loads of enemies becomes tedious quickly. And there just isn't enough variety in the enemies to keep things interesting.

If you're looking for an innovative first-person shooter, then you should probably hold out for Half-Life 2, but if what you really love is mindless action with tons of enemies then KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child will rock and roll you all night.

Product: KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare ChildDeveloper: Third Law InteractiveURL: carefully for the sounds of enemies spawning behind you and you won't be caught by surprise.

When a horde of enemies is coming at you, there's a good chance that there is a Spawner nearby. Your first priority should be to take out the Spawner, or you'll face an endless stream of baddies.

When faced with a roomful of enemies, take out the missile-throwers first and then use your melee weapon to wipe out the Headless and conserve your ammo.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brian Wright

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?