Weird Dreams is a game created by created by Best Ever Games and published Rainbird Software and released for four computer ports in 1989; Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and DOS. Across all platforms, the game was exclusively released in Europe and North America. The only exception is the Commodore 64 version, which only saw release in its native Europe. The game was by developers Herman Serrano and James Hutchby. Herman was also responsible for the European versions' cover art.
It is suspected Best Ever Games is an alias for another game developer, as it appears to be the only game they developed. Their name is also never mentioned in the game.
The story revolves around a man named Steve. He is attracted to a co-worker of his named Emily. However, Emily is possessed by a demon named Zelloripus who was banished to live as a human female on earth due to unnamed heinous acts against other demons. When Steve gets sick, she makes pills to cure his flu. Steve consumes the medication. While it cures his sickness, it also allows Zelloripus to take over his mind and body. Steve starts having worse and worse dreams, so he decides to talk to a psychologist, who in turn turns Steve over to a neurosurgeon. Steve is put on the operating table and put under, which is where the game begins. The story is explained in a 64-page novella packaged with the game.
The player takes control of Steve, who must traverse through several different levels. He starts off in a cotton candy machine. Here, he must collect several pieces of cotton candy without the stick touching him. When he collects enough pieces, he must jump up and grab onto the stick. However, if there's too much cotton candy on the stick, he must wait until a new stick is put in. Steve then finds himself at the fairgrounds. He then must avoid a giant hornet. The hornet is carrying one of three orbs which Steve needs to wake from his dream, so he uses the cotton candy to distract it. He then enters the house of mirrors, which is a sort of level select of the game. However, you must enter the levels in a certain order to gain specific items for specific levels, or else the game cannot be completed. Steve first enters the right mirror, which takes him to a garden, in which Country Gardens plays in the background. However, this is no ordinary garden; there are killer flowers, a knife-wielding little girl, and a man-eating soccer ball. There is also a runaway lawnmower which will chop Steve up into little pieces if he takes too much time. After playing "man-eating ball" with the girl, Steve finally gets the soccer ball to eat the girl, and Steve recruits the soccer ball as an item which he'll need later. Steve then enters the fourth mirror in the House of Mirrors, which takes him to a piano. Here, he must avoid touching the moving keys or he'll fall to his doom. During the same level, he must sneak past a giant dancing ballerina while Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy plays in the background. Then he must deal with more moving keys. At the end, he collects an electric eel, which he then uses to fight off the giant fairground hornet, which appears in the House of Mirrors. After defeating the hornet, Steve then enters through the first mirror which transports him to a desert. When Steve arrives, he picks up one of the flying fish, which he will use as a weapon throughout the level. He then must defeat indescribable enemies that look sort of like Easter Island heads with legs. Then Steve must face the boss of the desert, a monster with a big head and feet, which is featured on the European versions' cover art. After defeating the boss, Steve approaches a statue which bears a bit of a resemblance to The Thinking Man. He avoids the whirlpool and then uses the fish to destroy the statue, revealing the second orb he needs. On the next screen, the man-eating soccer ball makes a path for Steve to follow, otherwise he'd be lost in the desert. Unfortunately, the ball eats too much of the path an explodes, leaving behind guts as a result, but at least Steve is able to return to the House of Mirrors again. Steve then enters the second mirror, which was previously inaccessible, which takes him to a house. Unfortunately for Steve, the house's lights have problems staying on. Here, Steve must avoid giant bats. He first needs to go to the left and press a button that says PRESS on it, then proceed to the right. Here, he is confronted by a giant cooked chicken with a mouth. Steve cannot fight this enemy, and instead must swing across the lightposts on the ceiling to escape the giant chicken. Steve then comes to two doors marked EXIT with a grandfather clock between the two. Inside the clock is the last orb Steve needs, but the game isn't over yet. Steve exits through the left door, which transports him to the final boss; a giant eye monster with 3 mini versions of itself spinning around it. Steve must hit the mini eyes when they are open, which turn into balls of light after being hit. After all 3 are defeated, they enter the big eye, which defeats it. Steve wakes up back on the operating table. However, it is revealed one of the surgeons was Emily in disguise, who pulls out a knife. The game then cuts to black and Emily can be heard cackling. It is presumed that despite his efforts to get out of his nightmares, Emily kills Steve.
All ports of the game feature a very short soundtrack of 5 songs; the title screen, fairground, garden, piano, and ballerina songs. Two prolific composers shared two ports of the game; David Whittaker composing the Amiga and Atari ST versions while Barry Leitch covered the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS versions. According to Leitch, the developers wanted him to arrange Whittaker's soundtrack. The Amiga/Atari ST versions only have a few more songs because the music that plays while Steve is moving across the giant piano keyboard has four different speeds, as the speed increases the closer he gets to the other side of the screen. Also, the title music in the Amiga/Atari ST versions in the 6/8 time signature, while the C64/DOS versions are in the standard 4/4 time signature.
All versions of the game use a few real songs including the traditional folk song Country Gardens and Tchaikovsky's famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. These play on the garden levels and ballerina dancer during the piano level respectively. Leitch said the Fairground music is based on The Daring Man On The Flying Trapeze, but the song in all versions only appears to be based off the composition, while still maintaining to be its own song altogether.
The Amiga version has the best audio quality, as its Paula chip supported digital audio. This was followed by the DOS version's YM3812 FM synthesis capabilities. Then, the Commodore 64 version, as it was a PSG that supported many waveforms. Finally, the Atari ST version arguably has the worst audio quality, as it was a simple PSG with a noise generator, though fares better in comparison to the DOS version's PC Speaker audio, which was done by the same person who did the Amiga and Atari ST's audio.
The Commodore 64 and DOS versions share the same soundtracks, but are a little different than the Amiga/Atari ST versions, and vice versa, due to the different composers for each two platforms being different. Though Whittaker stated in an interview working on the DOS version, this was actually Barry Leitch's doing, at least on the FM synthesis part, but the PC Speaker audio uses Whittaker's music arrangements, which strongly suggests he did the PC Speaker's audio for the DOS version.
- Title Screen - Main theme of the game.
- Country Gardens - Played in all versions while in the garden level.
- Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - Played in all versions while avoiding the ballerina dancer.
Notable Audio Personnel
|Weird Dreams||• • •|
|Notable Songs||Title Screen|
|Notable Personnel||Barry Leitch • David Whittaker • Axel Brown|
|Notable Companies||Rainbird Software • Microplay Software|