Certainly, each of us has stuck in the minds of nightmares from different stages of our lives – demonic hounds, the impending apocalypse, the death of a loved one, or even stupid things like failing a math test. Although their themes may be radically different from each other, they have one thing in common – the fact that we want to wake up from them as soon as possible. This sense of relief right after realizing that we are safe, and everything we just experienced was nothing but a bad dream, is one of the greatest feelings you can experience. But what if we can’t wake up at all, being forced to endlessly relive our nightmare? This is what happened to the hero of Bad Dream: Coma – a surprising adventure game from the Polish studio Desert Fox.
An eternal nightmare
Right after falling asleep, we wake up at the beginning of the destroyed bridge leading to the city looming on the horizon. The scenery is truly apocalyptic. Car wrecks and mountains of rubbish and debris accompany us all the way. We constantly feel the gaze of ravens sitting on the railings, croaking maliciously, as if laughing at our situation. However, we quickly discover that we are not the only victims of an unknown force here, and that the whole nightmare is shared by a handful of other unfortunates trying to survive at all costs. Their fate is usually less happy than ours – some try to keep their intestines inside the torn abdominal cavity with their own hands, the heads of others have been sewn to other people’s bodies, and still others are buried alive. In all this situation, only one thing is certain – no one can die here, being doomed to eternal suffering.
A road full of hope.
Therefore, our goal is to find answers to the questions that are in our minds and find out how to get out of the nightmare. The four-hour adventure will take us on a journey through several quite diverse, but rather clichéd locations. From the aforementioned ruined bridge, we will go to a hospital full of needy, and then we will also visit nearby swamps, an abandoned block housing estate or a local cemetery. Although these places are not the most surprising and revealing, it does not change the fact that their presentation is a horror masterpiece. In Bad Dream: Coma, we do not have to be afraid of suddenly popping up scarecrows, but the feeling of anxiety accompanies us here + constantly thanks to the unusual, oneiric atmosphere of the location. The constant knocking on the door with no one behind, the music splashing in the background and the general ugliness of degraded locations really do the job, and all this is complemented by beautifully drawn and colorless graphics.
The greatly simplified gameplay is also conducive to unhurriedly absorbing the atmosphere and exploring the plot.The puzzles are not the most difficult and it is difficult to stay here for longer, but there are times when it is not entirely clear what we should do. It usually ends with jumping from one location to another and clicking on every possible surface, hoping that you will accidentally come across an unopened cupboard or an overlooked item to pick up. This is definitely more problematic in the console version of the game, because controlling the cursor with an analog stick, which is far from the speed and precision of mouse movements, is not the most convenient.
Lord, get up Lord! Who saw it so asleep in the grave ?!
A bit of fuel for the fire is also added by the fact that we can interact with some things or characters only after performing a specific, often unrelated to a given action, activity, which forces the player to repeatedly search the places already visited. Fortunately, it sounds worse than it actually is – the locations here are quite small, and after a few moments we begin to more or less see the logic in the creators’ thinking, thanks to which the often non-obvious puzzles start to really have fun. Especially that they are far from the absurdity of adventure games from 20 years ago.
Don’t make the other …
A great theme is the fact that Bad Dream: Coma is a highly non-linear game. Many of the puzzles can be solved here in several ways – we can catch or crush the spiders running around the kitchen, and drink some rude grandfather with water from a dispenser or a dirty toilet. All this is related to the karma system implemented in the game. Depending on our actions, not only will there be a different ending at the end, but the path leading to it will also change. This is a really great theme, but with a certain disadvantage. Well, karma in Bad Dream: Coma works only in one way – being a sadistic bastard, we will quickly block access to a good or even neutral finale, but you will not be able to redeem your deeds for anything in the world. So you can be saints throughout the game, helping everyone in need and not counting on the smallest reward, but if you just smashed that one spider somewhere in the beginning, the game will still treat you like the worst degenerate. Fortunately, the state of our karma can be viewed at any time in the game menu, and if necessary, we can quickly restart the chapter.
A deformed doll at the doorstep will scare off any salesman.
Is it worth buying Bad Dream: Coma?
It does not change the fact that Bad Dream: Coma is an absolutely fantastic production. Sure, it was not without a few stumbles, but it all pales in comparison to the brilliant audiovisual setting, an interesting plot and a fascinating world.It’s definitely worth checking out, even on the console. Now excuse me, I still have Bad Dream: Fever to finish ..