Beneath a Steel Sky
I really deliberated over what my first game to talk about would be. I didn’t want to pick something TOO well-known but I didn’t want to get too far out there right away either. Scrolling through the backlog, Beneath a Steel Sky really stood out to me as a stellar game, not too long, and emblematic of what is good about its genre at the time.
For those who are unfamiliar with the game, it is a 1994 cyberpunk point-and-click adventure by Revolution Software and Virgin Interactive. It was originally released for MS DOS and Amiga home computers but the source code was released in 2003 and has been easy to find all over the internet since. (Steam, GOG-- take your pick, they’re both free!)
The game starts off with a digital comic by Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame. I must admit the art looks a little off due to the limitations of creating art for a computer screen. However, his signature style is there and it does all of the heavy lifting for the exposition, with the gameplay starting in media res.
If you’re interested in Gibbons’ process and approach for creating the game’s character concepts, background sketches, and of course, the introductory comics, there is a good, short interview from Revolution’s 25th Anniversary here on YouTube.
Moving on to the game itself, there’s a lot of good things to say. The tone is somewhere between Sierra’s earnestness and Lucasarts’ more comedic approach. I cannot say what a relief that was to me as I moved from the serious opening comic and into the gameplay. They very easily could’ve made this game fully dark and edgy, especially in 1994 when that wasn’t already done to death. Not all of Robert Foster’s quips land but as someone who grew up reading Spider-Man, this was no problem for me. Even some of the bad ones gave me a chuckle.
The logic behind puzzles are something I always think about when considering whether or not I want to recommend an old-school P&C and Beneath a Steel Sky gets a solid B+ in this regard. (Don’t get me started on Moon Logic!)
There was only one puzzle in the game that I needed to go hunting through the walkthrough for its solution so if you are used to this kind of puzzle-solving, you shouldn’t have too much trouble either. If you want to have a walkthrough open in the background, just in case, this is the one I used. No spoilers, no pics, just actions to solve the puzzles-- That’s my preference when it comes to a walkthrough.
It only took me a few hours to complete it so its a great game to play over a weekend or between two longer games.
In summary, this game gets my seal of approval, with certainty. Anybody into a cyberpunk or dystopian setting that likes a game with humor, this cult-classic is a must-play, especially since it is available for free.
If you play the game and like it, let me know! Or if you’re already a fan and want to add to the discussion, you can find me here or on Twitter. Happy gaming!
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Welcome to Game-Ghost!
This is a blog for digging up, dusting off, discussing, and dissecting retro games with the overall goal of deciding if these games really belong in the gaming graveyard or if there’s still a little life left in them yet!
I have been enamored with retro games my entire adult life and have been trying to find a community on the internet that cares about these games the way I do for some time now. While there is plenty of discussion in way of reviews and articles, none of it seems to be either current or engaging with a fan community. So here I am! I hope that my posts will send you back for a hidden gem you’d missed and spark discussions between similarly impassioned geeks out there.
I’m playing games that are 15+ years old and I tend to gravitate towards RPGs, Isometric games, Point-and-Clicks, and FMVs but am open to playing any sort of game, as long as I can get it to run on a modern PC and it seems worth playing.
I have lots of ideas for posts and I plan on getting the first one up very shortly. However, if there are any specific games that you would like me to cover, I’m all ears! I want to play the old game that you feel like ONLY you care about! Maybe I’ll play it and we can share that magic, too!
If you feel like checking my blog out, I will be following back anyone who follows me, for the time being!
The Game-Ghost Twitter account:
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