In looking at KISS: Psycho Circus, we have yet another first person
shooter hitting the market, but this one obviously has a bit of
a twist. The game is centered around the 'lore' of a band and its
members. This is the first thing i have seen like this since Shaquille
O'Neal had his own Shaq Fu game for the Super Nintendo!
The biggest question most people are probably thinking is 'how
much of this game is focused for the regular KISS fan compared
with someone who has no idea of who KISS is?'.
True...is this game just for KISS fans? Or can anyone enjoy it?
Well, let's take a look. One of the first things that you'll notice
about this game are the similarities to Daikatana in terms of looks
and play feel. Don't take this the wrong way either! Although a
lot of the original Daikatana crew worked on this game the engine
that KISS uses is not as ugly as Daikatana's usage of the Quake
2 engine, but by the same token, it doesn't look like the 'best'
of the Unreal engine either. Sporting the Lithtech engine, the coloured
lighting and general textures are superior to Daikatana in the visual
sense of things and range anywhere from pleasing to fundamentally
The weapon graphics I felt were also well done with their added
effects etc.. One weapon in particular will actually start smoking
after using it excessively. Nice touch. Also, i thought the monsters
were well done-especially the way they move and die. Creatures
(like the 'Headless' for example' can have limbs shot off before
they even die) but the lack of different monsters was a big disappointment.
True, monsters were small in variety and it got terribly dry to
see enemies that started off as bosses, becoming simple grunts
all within the same realm. But, speaking of realms, perhaps we
had better clear up the story behind this FPS...
Sure...It starts with an epic battle between the Elders and the
Nightmare King. The Elders win, but as the Nightmare King is destroyed,
he pulls the Elders down with him trapping them in the void where
they are beyond powerless. The Nightmare King's final action is
to place his powers in a child (hence the Nightmare Child). Four
mortals are picked to search for the powers to become the Elders
once again to defeat the Nightmare Child.
Riveting isn't it? The gypsy who guides you through the entire
thing can get on your nerves though and you might find yourself
just skipping through the in-engine cutscenes that feature her
psychic spewings. But regardless, it is the 4 realms of this world
that one plays through and to give the game some credit, there
is always action of some sort going down. If you like being smacked
with enemy activity at all times in a brainless shoot-em up, you'll
love this. And despite my not being a KISS fan, the music etc.
actually fit in quite well with the game and although the game's
graphics aren't cutting edge, there are times when the architecturing
is pretty darn nice.
I also feel that the storyline will work well for people who are
not KISS fans. For a KISS fan, they get to be 4 characters and
slowly turn them into an Elder who resembles a KISS member. Where
someone who doesn't follow KISS will probably perceive themself
as getting to play a character that turns them into an Elder with
cool armour and face paint.
Umm...well, hate to say it, but there is no way to mask (no pun)
the fact that players morph into KISS members by the ends of the
stages. I don't even think those who are not fans of the band will
observe anything different. But, the positive for those who aren't
KISS oriented and really don't appreciate the band from a cult-like
standpoint is that KISS isn't just endlessly thrown in a player's
face as the game is played. The game is about action foremost and
you won't see KISS being just shoved down anyone's throat here.
I mean, the game offers some decent components depending on the
type of gamer you are-including those just for KISS fans-but it
isn't top notch in any category...then again it certainly doesn't
disappoint either. It is simply a solid FPS that either you like,
or don't like for varying reasons.
But as much as it is a solid FPS, some people will find that the
lack of direction per level and the storyline may discourage even
the biggest KISS fan from wanting to play the game. As much as I
am a KISS fan, I found the game got boring quickly compared to other
FPS startegy games like Rogue Spear where levels and storyline are
far more closely linked together. But, then again, i realize that
this isn't supposed to be that type of game.
Yeah...i mean, i felt the game was far more linear than lacking
in direction myself, but it is true, the game does get boring
if you are expecting more from an FPS than just running around
and shooting generally repetitive waves of creatures that aren't
terrbly wonderful to behold with the eye. The game is a solid
FPS in the sense that it fulfills all the necessities that the
genre asks of it, but it never exceeds them.
I will have to rate this game as a 73%. It's a sturdy FPS with
good graphics, effects and sounds, but I do believe this game
is more focused for a hardcore FPS player than it is a KISS fan.
But KISS fans will have fun playing as the KISS members as well
as all of the little graphics everywhere based on KISS-such as
pictures of the KISS car, and the Kisstory book in the giant library
stage. Also KISS fans will have the incredibly hard, in-store
task of picking which box as there are 4 different boxes to choose
from-each with a different KISS member on the cover.
Hmm...well, seeing as the game neither flunks nor takes off with
flying colours, a 70% is what i feel this game deserves. It holds
it own, but nothing more than that really. Many will have fun perhaps
getting that old, original FPS feeling back, but this game at least
can say that it is better than Daikatana. Hey, you can even crank
up the res in this game and it looks fairly good!-quite unlike Daikatana!
If you are looking for a game that combines endless, lacklustre
action with a pinch of "Little Nemo: The Dreamaster" type themes
(for all you old console heads out there), leave your brain at the
door and sit down for this ride through the psycho circus.