In the early 90's adult video game publisher Fairytale had a problem. Their CEO had been arrested for distributing lewd materials and the newly established computer software ratings board, EOCS, was chomping at the bit to crackdown on what they saw as a menace to society. To placate the censors, Fairytale needed something more than sex to sell its games. Their solution--add violence!
The resulting Nightmare Collection trilogy were plot-driven adventure games with scripts stitched together from '80s genre films into a Frankenstein's monster of cliches and convoluted twists. Gameplay is limited to clicking every object in a scene until the story decides to progress. There's also action sequences where the player must click a hotspot--eyeball to gouge, forehead to shoot--before the timer runs down or it's game over.
But then again, we're talking about the visual novel equivalent of a Troma flick. The hammy lines read like black humor translated into Japanese without the humor--"I'd let you fool around with my girl, but then I'd have to shoot you!" or my favorite, "When we get out of this you owe me a hotdog!" Nudity and gore are more important than gameplay and characterization. The first two games in the series, Dead of the Brain and Dead of the Brain 2, deliver exactly what they advertise.
Late one night our hero Cole receives a frantic call from the eccentric Dr. Cooger. The good doctor has perfected his reanimation serum and wants Cole to be the first to see the results. Things go predictably haywire during a lab accident with a living dead cat and the two flee to a nearby graveyard--conveniently located behind the basement lab-- where the doc breaks a beaker of Chemical X on a gravestone. The town is engulfed in a zombie holocaust before the opening credits have time to roll.
The search for survivors turns up police, journalists, gangsters and more plot twists than a handful of disemboweled intestines. Turns out that the chief of police stole doc's research and is the mastermind behind the virus outbreak--AND he's an unstoppable cyborg! Who made his invincible machine body? You'll have to stick around for the sequel to find out.
There's a new street drug that has the kids killing for a taste. Purple Sky is heroine spiked with reanimation serum and it turns junkies into zombies--literally. When gangbangers force a needle into Cole's girlfriend he finds himself in a race for the cure that has him calling for help from beyond the grave...
The original Dead of the Brain was released for PCs in 1992 with a sequel the following year. The PC Engine port I took these screenshots from collects both games on a single CD and cleans up what nudity the PC version offered--not that it stops the charismatic Cole from having sex with every girl he meets, save for his own girlfriend. By the time the port surfaced in 1999 the PC Engine market was long dead, making the title itself a zombie of sorts. (For reference, the PC Engine's CD add-on was released in 1988; the PlayStation, 1994.)
As the system's last title it's also one of the most expensive. Desperate collectors can start the bidding at around 30,000 yen on Yahoo auctions. But if you don't mind emulators, a fan translation is supposedly still in the works, so someday you may be able to experience the true terror of the horrible dialogue. And unlike a VHS, there's no fast-forward to save you.