After a fearsome battle, the Elder have finally defeated the Nightmare King. Or have they? In his last desperate (or planned?) act, the Destroyer captures the Elder spirits and pulls them down into the void with him. But, even then, he's not done. With the last vestiges of his strength, the Nightmare King plants a seed of evil in a far off, desolate corner of the cosmos, hoping to rekindle his power in a new form, that of the Nightmare Child.
The Four Who Are One, the Elder, once proud champions of the realm, can only drift helplessly through the abyss and watch events unfold as the Destroyer's creation fills the space vacated by their disappearance. Perhaps not all is lost, though. Madame Raven, clairvoyant sorceress of the Psycho Circus, has a plan -- recruit four unsuspecting avatars and have them collect the remains of the Elder's power. Thus prepared, the four can enter the Womb of Hell to search out and destroy the Nightmare Child.
Wicked Jester, a band of four, are headed for a Friday night gig at The Coventry, a rundown dive outside of town. They arrive only to find the parking lot deserted, the club seemingly dead. Pablo Ramirez, Andy Chang, Gabriel Gordo and Patrick Scott, stepping from their van, are startled by a voice from the shadows. She offers them four tickets to a circus -- tonight's the grand finale! Having nothing better to do, the four accept and the nightmare begins.
Based on characters from comic book author Todd McFarlane, Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child brings the horror and carnage of the Psycho Circus to your television screen in a shooter format. There are two-dozen creatures to battle with and three classes of weapons to use, each with four specific types: melee (beast claws, thornblade, twister and punisher), common (zero cannon, magma cannon, windblade and scourge) and ultimate (stargaze, galaxion, spirit lance and draco). In addition to the weaponry, temporary power-ups and instant items such as health, attack and defense powers are available.
One of the major objectives of the game is to assemble the Elder armor (costumes) made up of six specific pieces: gauntlets, boots, belt, vest, plate and mask. The Elder Arms, as they're called, must be collected in each of the four episodes, or realms. The four locations are the Water Realm (slime-covered canals and ice demons), Fire Realm (lava-flooded sewers), Air Realm (flying freaks and electrical hell) and the Earth Realm (subterranean).
Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child is played with a mouse or keyboard and actions include running, walking, exploring, building an inventory, jumping, strafing, swimming, ducking and, of course, shooting. A head-up display (HUD) helps you keep track of your current status and notes information on items such as ammunition, armor, weapons, strength, health, score and inventory.
Multiplayer action for up to 16 combatants is available over both a LAN and the Internet and includes two deathmatch formats. In Normal Deathmatch there is only one rule: frag your opponents. The victory condition can be set to either a time or frag limit. In Conquer Deathmatch, specific point awards are earned depending on the relative strengths (percentage-wise) of the opponent you frag. For example, getting the leader nets you three frag points while zapping someone in the lower 25% gets you none. You can even earn a minus point for fragging the lowest ranked player.
Been to the circus lately? Be forewarned if you attend this one -- you won't find the three rings with elephants, clowns and high-wire acts you saw in your younger days. Put on your fragging shoes and prepare to dance -- at the Kiss Psycho Circus!