DreamWeb (DOS)

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Written by  :  Stijn Daneels (85)
Written on  :  Aug 22, 2014
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars

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Am I evil?

The Good

DreamWeb is a game I only recently discovered while watching an episode of Pushinguproses (great Youtuber, definitely check her out, especially if you dig adventure games). Having found out this game was freeware, I was more than willing to give it a try. And I am very glad I did.

In DreamWeb, you play as Ryan, a regular Joe with little money, little ambition in life and overall, there is nothing special about him. Except for the fact that he suffers from nightmares wherein he finds himself in the DreamWeb. A mystical temple where a sinister, red hooded priest tells him that he has to kill seven people from various walks of life who are planning to destroy the world. In an attempt to stop these endless dreams, Ryan decides to hunt these people down and kill them all.

Storywise, this game is one of the morally ambiguous and disturbing I have ever played. The game really juggles with the question whether or not Ryan is really saving the world or if he is just an insane mass murderer. He only kills (or better said, murders) because his dreams compel him to and he does it without any sign of hesitation or remorse. I really like such kinds of ambiguous stories and this game's story had me hooked from the very beginning.

I also really enjoyed DreamWeb's atmosphere and overall visual style. It has a dark, cyberpunk style theme similar to the Matrix (hell, Ryan even looks similar to Keanu Reeves and also wears sunglasses and a long leather jacket all the time). Many shades of black and grey spiced up with neon lights give everything a film noir feel. The city itself is very industrial, polluted and overall just depressing. The music adds a ton to the atmosphere. It uses industrial music and synthesizer. Some tracks are very tense and threatening while other are brooding and strangely relaxing.

DreamWeb is very violent, not because of how many people die (about ten, I believe) but by the way how they die. You kill using guns, explosives and even a high speed subway train. And every death in the game is realistic and very graphic. When you get to shoot a naked guy (genitalia included) in the head and watch his brain matter spray everywhere and see the gaping hole of what used to be his face, you know that this is game is not for kids or the squeamish.

Finally, there is Dreamweb's unusual perspective. While typical adventure games use a 2D sidescrolling perspective, DreamWeb has a top-down view. Artistically, I really like this original design. It is like you are peeking through a box, watching the gruesome events that happen in the game. And there is also a unusual high amount of interactivity, every object you find can be either picked up, interacted with or both. And every person you meet can be talked to. While a lot of people you meet and objects you can pick up have no real purpose, it does add to the game's immersion.

The Bad

While I said that I found DreamWeb's top-down perspective very nice from an artistic level, it certainly is not handy gameplay-wise. It is sometimes very hard to see objects you need to interact with and I found it overall pretty clumsy to use.

The game is also very short. It took me about two or three hours to get through the game the first time. This is mainly due to the puzzles being a bit too easy for my taste because it is very obvious which item you have to use on what object to continue.

The Bottom Line

Overall, DreamWeb is a very enjoyable and memorable game particularly because of its film noir style, engaging story and its dark, adult-oriented content. The game is like a great book that you want to keep on reading just to see what will happen next.

The game is freely available online so certainly try this one out if you have the stomach for it.