Rise of Nightmare Recreates a Drunk's Bloody Wander Through a Zombie Cavalcade

Illustration for article titled Rise of Nightmare Recreates a Drunk's Bloody Wander Through a Zombie Cavalcade

There is something wonderful about air chainsawing zombies. And air cleavering them. And air sheering them.


I stand in a darkened room facing a big screen, feet apart, my hands are held in front of me as if I'm holding a chainsaw. On the TV I am. More specifically, two disembodied virtual arms and hands are holding the chainsaw. When I pull my hands down across my body, the floating arms cut the screen with the chainsaw. When a zombie approaches, I dig in, cutting into the wandering pile of animated death as if it were an unruly bit of shrubbery in my backyard. The zombies falls in pieces.

It's satisfying, visceral, getting to that point though is anything but.

While the Xbox 360 Kinect motion controls of cutting and killing zombies in Sega's Rise of Nightmares is spot on, the controls for making your way through the game's house of horrors is horrific.

To walk the player has to just step forward and then stand still, as if frozen in mid walk. To run, the player leans forward a bit more. To turn, the player turns their body. The end result is something that feels more like maneuvering a ship than it does recreating one of man's most natural movements.

I found myself suddenly made drunk, walking into walls, walking past zombies, running into door ways. It's unfortunate that movement is so problematic in the game because everything else about it was worthy of play.

While not overly scary, the game does deliver a sense of suspense and a few frights. The mechanic for doing things like fishing around inside a toilet for a set of keys (yes, you really do that ) or opening a door is very natural.

When you're confronted with a wraith-like women who opens her mouth and screams at you, covering your ears in real life does the same for your character in the game.


It's a neat idea, natural reactions, natural motions to contend with a house of the dead, but perhaps it would have been a better experience if full control of walking were taken away from the players. In general I'm not a big fan of on-the-rails games, but sometimes it's the best option. This is one of those times.



Has anybody discovered a good way for controlling character movement via Kinect that still leaves your arms free?