Preview Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point Hands-On Preview – Fighting Folklore

Rocky Oct 26, 2012

  1. Ro

    Rocky Guest

    Antifreeze. It's what most Chinese magic is based on apparently. Without it, you can't create the Chinese herbal tea required to vanquish the demons that have risen from Hell to haunt the streets of Sleeping Dogs' version of Hong Kong. Welcome to Sleeping Dogs' first proper story-based add-on, Nightmare in North Point, a horror-themed expansion that riffs on Chinese fables and folklore, and is a completely zombie free zone. Ghosts and vampires are here in abundance though.

    Formerly known as Big Scar Wu, prior to be being stabbed 42 times and fed into a cat food grinder, Smiley Cat is the source of all these strange goings on in North Point, where the citizens have become possessed by restless hungry ghosts (a proper thing taken from Chinese legend) and Jiang Shi vampires roam the streets on the lookout for necks to chew on.

    Smiley Cat has been raised from Hell and is out to exact revenge upon the Sun On Yee and the Triad Grand Dragon that signed his death warrant and turned Big Scar Wu into cat food. Oh, and he doesn't like being called Smiley Cat, for obvious reasons. Wei Shen, teams up with Old Salty Crab and takes it upon himself to rid North Point of the hellish curse and return the streets to normal. That's your set-up right there...


    Opening with a rather familiar on-foot chase down rain-slicked back-alleys, Wei Shen (decked out in pristine white kung-fu pyjamas) gives chase as Smiley Cat himself leaves his flaming green footprints for you to follow. Tracking Smiley Cat down leads into a fight with the first batch of Jiang Shi vampires that have to be exorcised with a grab and execute move until you get your hands on that all-powerful magic tea. Attempting to battle the fearsome Yaoguai demon that appears is also futile until you drink the tea, so the next mission takes us to the best apothecary in Hong Kong, to track down the tea's ingredients and concoct the potion.

    Wei Shen bumps into an old friend who's been raised from the dead and fancies some noodles and pork buns, and doesn't think twice about popping up out of nowhere in your car's passenger seat while you're driving along. He's your exposition voice too, filling in Shen on how Big Scar Wu met his grisly end and how the rival 18K Triad gang want to harness the power of the fabled magic tea for themselves. Consequently, Shen needs to grab the ingredients before the 18K can get their mitts on them, starting with a dose of Ghost Pepper.

    One snatched Ghost Pepper plant, the Egg of an Albino Hen and a consignment of Antifreeze later, and Shen is ready to return the goods to the apothecary for the tea. Upon consuming the heady brew, Shen is imbued with the power of Chinese magic and able to take down Jiang Shi and Yaoguai demons with blue flaming fists once his face meter is filled. Filling the meter involves flexing Shen's kung-fu skills to tackle the basic Jiang Shi as they hop towards you held in their rictus rigor mortis positions, making a beeline for your neck.


    Upon defeating the menacing Yaoguai demon, we're able to hit the road and deal with more Jiang Shi as we get back on the trail of Smiley Cat himself. There's side-missions to be done with Nightmare in North Point too, whether it's taking care of Jiang Shi to release a captive citizen or deal with a Yaoguai wreaking havoc, there's plenty to work through. You can also grab hold of a peachwood sword, and really let loose with some ghost slaying, care of the wooden blade's demon vaporising properties.

    Locating Smiley Cat once more, we're faced with more formerly dead Triads once laid to rest, now resurrected as part of his army. Unleashing more Jiang Shi upon us, we're faced with infinitely spawning enemies, unless we grab them and stuff them into the portal from whence they came. Or you can simply enjoy burning their faces off in a flaming oil drum. The choice is yours. We choose to shut the portal quickly, causing Smiley Cat to flee with his hellish Triad minions for a battle that will no doubt occur later on during Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point.

    Square Enix estimates around 4-5 hours of new content for Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point, but with the side missions and the ability to rediscover Hong Kong in a different light – complete with randomly exploding cars - you might find yourself playing for longer. Wei Shen has some funky new moves thanks to the power supplied by that Chinese herbal tea (we need to get some), with new animations, and the peachwood sword, while finite in its lifespan (don't worry, there's more than one), is fun to wield. Nightmare in North Point looks to be a worthwhile add-on for Sleeping Dogs then, and a perfect fit for some ghoulish Halloween-based shenanigans.

    Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point is out on October 30th, in time for Halloween. A price has yet to materialise.

    Source - xb0x360ach

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