El Paso Nightmare review there is no exit

El Paso, Nightmare review – the last bite is deadly

After waking up in a cold sweat, I went to relieve my pounding headache with pills, but that only slightly dulled the pain. So I went to search for ice in this cockroach motel, and that’s where the shaking began; when they came for me, when they started pouring out of the WALLS AND WINDOWS AND GODHELPM- Yep, this is our El Paso Nightmare review.

El Paso, Nightmare is a bite-sized side story of El Paso, Elsewhere, the action Max Payne-inspired title that Xalavier Nelson Jr and his team at Strange Scaffold are working on and will be released in 2023. That means that it’s not a full-fat game, but for five buckaroos, we get access to a survival horror level and then to a quite large FPS section which seems to take some pages from mid-00s arena shooters. It is a pretty tasteful morsel, for sure.

We don’t get much of the story of the final game, but surely our protagonist is no buff one-liner-spouting dude. Instead, he is scared and tired, like us. In the first part, you will have to escape the creatures coming after him. They never stop, they never pause, the chase will be relentless and we can only hope that, at the next turn, we won’t be facing a dead end. Find anatomically correct hearts to unlock keys and escape.

The soundtrack is a huge standout in El Paso, Nightmare. Allow me to say it: finally an indie game not afraid to make its soundtrack an essential part of the experience. Xalavier behind the mike spitting out vitriol lyrical, screaming, murmuring sexy while crunchy Massive Attack-on-acid beats accompany our run from the beasts. Nothing short of fantastic.

In the second part, as mentioned, we’ll finally get access to weapons, first a pistol then others spread throughout the level. Even not finding any other weapons, the pistol is enough to dispose of most enemies we’ll have to face. Headshots work pretty nicely for the base “crazies” zombies, while the knights definitely need more bullets. Find enough hearts and try to reach the elevator before the enemies get their hands on you. The Nightmare part is replayable at any time, with mods too so you can have fun upping the ante.

The FPS part definitely works well, with an overall “boomer” shooter feel which doesn’t feel overdone. It’s a constant run against the endless waves of enemies and the limited number of bullets, it definitely owns up to its “Nightmare” moniker. The only thing I had some doubts about are the bullet pickups which can be difficult to tell apart in the dark, as they all look like generic (yet different) boxes.

This tasty morsel of nightmarish rotten meat will be enough to satiate most appetites for this Halloween, but we are definitely ready to see what else Strange Scaffold and Xalavier have in store for us when El Paso, Elsewhere releases.

Our El Paso Nightmare review was made possible with a review key made available by the publisher. El Paso Nightmare is out now on Steam.

El Paso, Nightmare: A rotten bite into a nightmarish run from monsters and a FPS section, El Paso, Nightmare is a banger preview with an incredible soundtrack. Damiano Gerli

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Damiano Gerli

Damiano Gerli was born with a faithful Commodore 64 by his side. It taught him how to program basic adventure games and introduced him to new genres. Then, he fell in love with Sega -- while the Master System wasn't as powerful as the Genesis, it was where he played Sonic and Outrun. Years later, he got the idea that he was the most Sega-knowledgeable person in the world, so he opened a website in 1997, The Genesis Temple. Damiano is a gaming industry professional and historian, loves adventure and indie titles, but he never shies away from action and triple-A RPGs. Basically, Damiano is been writing about videogames for 20 years, with no plans to stop. Say hi to him on X at @damgentemp.