While I personally always thought it might be kind of neat to be a vampire, a werewolf or some other such abomination, the object of Night Creatures is to avoid such a transformation. While out strolling the moonlit countryside, our hero has been bitten by an evil creature known as "Hecate," who has taken the form of a bat to swoop in on unsuspecting victims. As blood runs down your neck and everything begins to look hopeless, a wise woman from your town tells you that all is not yet lost. If you can gather your courage, along with a few choice weapons and perhaps a bit of luck, you'll be able to defeat Hecate and save yourself from this change. However, you have only until dawn to accomplish this, otherwise your fate will be sealed.
The setting for this story is appropriately creepy, with a small, darkened village that houses many a rat and bat, a graveyard with tumbled headstones and spirits aplenty floating about, crypts, fields and marshes - all full of other night creatures bent upon your destruction. Witches, demons, swamp beasts, snakes, cats, glowing dogs and several others also frequent the area.
Your quest starts right after you recover from Hecate's attack. Travel back to the village and you will receive your first bits of advice from the wise woman of the village (who bears a striking resemblance to Aunt Jemima). Your first goal will be to find some weapons - your fists work fine against rats, but not too well against much else. A few villagers will offer you some special items, but most of them must be found scattered within the different scenes of the game. Swords are known to work well against creatures in the forest, while wooden weapons are much more effective in the swamp. If you don't figure these tips out yourself, your wise woman friend is quick to point them out.
Within some of these areas are boss-type night creatures that are more difficult to defeat than the normal ones. They alone aren't particularly difficult, but knowing which weapons to use makes the difference between success and failure. The rewards for defeating them are different from what you might expect. One boss, when defeated, will give you the power to turn into a wolf whenever you choose, and another lets you turn into an owl to fly through the skies. These transformations are costly, however, as they drain your vitality when you use them.
Your vitality meter is shown at the bottom of the screen, and must be carefully watched. The constant barrage of attacks from all about will knock it down quickly if you don't fight back. There are some creatures within all the areas that, when killed, will turn into a vitality power-up that will restore a small portion of your health. These power-ups become scarcer as you proceed, however.
You begin the game with only one life and three continues; the latter will start you at the beginning of the scene you were in when you died. The areas are all connected in a circular fashion, and may be reached either by scrolling to the left or the right, so the game is somewhat non-linear in play, though there are still certain tasks that must be completed before you may progress.
Night Creatures starts off with a good storyline, but supports it halfheartedly, with mediocre game play and sound support. The backgrounds are okay, as are the creatures themselves (except for somewhat jerky animation), but the soundtrack doesn't change, and sound effects other than the blunt "thump!" of a bat's skull being lightly crunched are nonexistent. The overall effect was an average game that didn't have much to draw me into it or get me particularly interested in saving the character from his fate.