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KISS: Psycho Circus - The Nightmare Child
Developer(s) Third Law Interactive (PC)
Tremor Entertainment (DC conversion)
Publisher(s) Gathering of Developers (PC)
Take 2 (DC)
Engine Lithtech 1.5
Platform(s) Windows, Dreamcast
Release date(s) Windows
NA July 18, 2000
NA October 29, 2000
PAL January 19, 2001
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer (PC version only)
Rating(s) ESRB: Mature
System requirements 266 MHz Processor, 64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, Direct3D-compatible GPU, 350 MB hard disk space

KISS: Psycho Circus - The Nightmare Child is a first person shooter computer game developed by Third Law Interactive and published by Gathering of Developers for the PC in August 2000. It was also released later that year for the Dreamcast (using Windows CE) following a port by Tremor Entertainment. The game is based on Todd McFarlane's KISS: Psycho Circus series of comic books, themselves inspired by the rock band KISS. KISS: Psycho Circus was the first game to be developed by Third Law Interactive, themselves having recently formed in December 1998 after a widely publicized mass walkout from Ion Storm.[1] Versions for the PlayStation[2] and the Game Boy Color[3] were planned, but were later canceled. The PC version of the game was done on the an enhanced version of the Lithtech engine, licensed from Monolith.

The game's story revolves around a KISS tribute band, who suddenly receive superhuman powers.


Story and characters

The KISS Psycho Circus game is a first-person perspective shooter that aims to put the "A" back in action for the genre, and to challenge the concept of what an intense 3D shooter experience is. Based on the rich world created by Todd McFarlane in his best-selling KISS Psycho Circus comic books, the game is set in a demonic world of mystery and horror. The player must do battle with hordes of demonic critters, and should expect more enemies on-screen than has been seen in a long, long time. The demon-spawn are the creations of an unborn evil that by its very conception is corrupting the fabric of reality. The aim of the game then, is to avoid the birth of this Nightmare Child, thereby preventing the unraveling of our universe.

Gamers begin as mortals and progressively acquire the powers of The Elder, a supernatural being with the power and ability to destroy the Nightmare Child and save the universe from doom. The Elder, embodied by four alter egos, each based on the KISS characters (the Demon - Gene Simmons, the Starbearer - Paul Stanley, the Beast King - Peter Criss, and the Celestial - Ace Frehley), together prevent the unraveling the universe. By taking the role of The Elder the player will, as the game progresses, see himself go from being a mere mortal to becoming a creature with God-like powers.

Similarly, the levels the characters traverse reflect each element. The Celestial's (Ace Frehley) episode is the realm of Air, with altered laws of physics and a hint of sci-fi flavor. The Starbearerås (Paul Stanley) levels reflect his character as well as the Water element, putting the player in a moist, fog-laden aristocratic environment. The Demon (Gene Simmons) travels the post-apocalyptic Fire realm, where it rains fire and destruction. The Earth realm, the world of the Beast Creature (Peter Criss) is full of caves, canyons and forests, where civilized structures appear to be abandoned and overgrown.

Each KISS character represents a different type of game experience, with unique locations, realm bosses, challenges, weapons and powers. The KISS costumes (or "Elder Armor", as they're known in the game) come in five pieces, which must be assembled by the player. Each piece boosts a given characteristic and equips the Elder with special powers to fight against the growing menace of the Nightmare Child!

KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child features include:

  1. Up to 50 characters filling the screen at once ‚ the largest number of creatures ever seen at one time on a first-person shooter screen.
  2. 12 incredible weapons, including character specific melee and ultimate weapons.
  3. Elaborate character detail representative of the KISS comics:
  4. Boots ‚ Big platform shoes that increase maximum run speed by 50%.
  5. Belt ‚ Colorful with a host of ornaments. Allows the player to jump three times higher.
  6. Shoulder Plate ‚ Large piece of armor that overlaps the player from the shoulders to the hands. Increases weapons efficiency by 400%.
  7. Torso ‚ Chest-piece and the largest part of the "Elder Armor." Increases the amount of damage or hit points the player can sustain.
  8. Mask ‚ An elaborate version of the KISS-character makeup, complete with large hair. The mask crowns the "Elder's armor" and completes the players' transformation from human to Elder.
  9. An advanced version of the LithTech' Engine which features 'Horde' technology, DirectMusic, and Mirror technology.
  10. An immersive environment that includes frantic gameplay, bizarre creatures, incredible in-game cinematics and destructible KISS jukeboxes
  11. A dynamic musical score featuring ten KISS classics (God of Thunder, Psycho Circus, Unholy, Hotter than hell, Rock and Roll All Night, Cold Gin, Love Gun, God Gave Rock & Roll To You, Shout It Out Loud and Detroit Rock City).

Psycho Circus PLATFORMS PC and Sega Dreamcast.

Game engine

Utilizing a specially enhanced version of the LithTech engine, KISS Psycho Circus¼ nightmarish environments come alive with realistic character and object motions and interactive music and sound effects. Using åHorde¼ technology, the game supports up to 50 creatures on the screen at once, the largest number of creatures on the screen at one time in a first person game. The integration of Microsoft¼s DirectMusic allows Third Law Interactive to interactively change the music inside of the game so the intensity matches the action on the screen. Tremor Entertainment's Dreamcast version uses a Tremor-modified custom version of the Lithtech engine, and features new gameplay modes such as split-screen mode for multi-player games. The online, multi-player deathmatch mode will use the new network.


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