Remember playing around on newgrounds.com back in the day and seeing those strange Creepypasta-like flash games next to the eponymous Salad Fingers series? This game will make you feel right at home. Desert Fox brings another addition to the praised Bad Dream series. In Bad Dream: Coma, the player navigates around a hospital in search of a missing nurse, but soon traverses through graveyards, parks, and other strange and creepily atmospheric areas. This is a point-and-click adventure title made for lovers of the genre, by lovers of the genre. Not only is this experience a lengthy and bulky one, but there’s more than simply finishing the puzzles and progressing. Proceed, and click, with caution.
It’s Just A Dream.. Right?
The story begins with the player sleeping in bed and awakening on a bridge overpass leading into a big city. Is this a dream? Or is there something more sinister going on? The first thing the player will notice is how creepy the presentation is. There are old newspapers blown about and broken bottles all over the road. The city looks derelict and abandoned, as if there is someone, or something, pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
This segment serves as a solid intro, and has minor puzzles to complete to familiarize the player with the game’s mechanics. It’s a nice way to set the tone without showing all of the game’s cards at once. After the first chapter, the game really opens up in terms of what you can interact with and in what order. The story also comes more into play.
As the adventure continues, the player will be exposed to different areas and puzzles to solve, broken up into chapters. They are quite substantial, and could each serve as a stand alone adventure on those flash game sites from way back when. Each chapter has it’s own setting, sometimes revisiting previous places, with beautifully hand-drawn puzzles and characters to interact with. Paired with creepy music, the game does a good job edging the player to try and progress, if anything, to see the next chapter and what lies ahead.
There are some horrific situations to get into, some being rather graphic, so be ready for some horror and gore. The shocks and scares can come out of nowhere, and events can take a turn for the worse. Some actions made even me feel uncomfortable executing (see video at the top of the page). The overall mood is Bad Dream: Coma’s biggest attribute, as it should be. Without atmosphere, point-and-click games will drop interest rather quickly after a few minutes.
Click Around And Find Out
The usual “click on this” or “use this on that,” motifs are found here, hence the genre. However, this title throws a curve ball. You can do things such harm animals and other humans, which will change the player’s image and yield different endings. So be careful and don’t resort to clicking on everything when stumped, for you may be punished for your recklessness. This was implemented nicely and forces the player to calculate their moves properly.
With that being said, Bad Dream: Coma is a rather difficult playthrough, reserved for the point-and-click veterans. Those who don’t think outside the box will spam click everything out of frustration which may result in some bad in-game choices. A walkthrough will most likely be necessary to yield the good ending. For a game so in-depth, it would have been cool to see more endings possible due to event outcomes, rather than what’s derived of the players use of violence.
There’s not much more to elaborate on without diving into spoiler territory. For those who are into horror and point-and-click adventures, Bad Dream: Coma is an easy sell. It has received a lot of positive reviews, and for good reason. Just be ready to use your brain a little since the puzzles can be cryptic at times.