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Beneath a Steel Sky (DOS)

84
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

In futuristic Australia, there are giant cities owned solely by corporations, separated by a giant wasteland known as The Gap. When Robert Foster's Gap-dwelling tribe is killed by soldiers from Union City who capture him, everything changes for him. After a narrow escape from the helicopter bringing him there as it inexplicably crashes, Robert and his droid Joey must search the decaying city, attempting to befriend both the snobby rich and the frustrated poor as the two attempt to get out of the city, but in the middle of everything they uncover the dark truth about LINC, the bizarre computer which makes the city tick.

The game uses the Virtual Theatre engine from Lure of the Temptress, which allows its characters to move freely independent of the player's input, making the game world more dynamic than it is usually the case in comparable games. Otherwise, the engine provides traditional point-and-click adventure gameplay.

The iPhone version introduces a touch-based interface, new animated movies by Dave Gibbons, a context-sensitive hint system and a remastered audio track.

Screenshots

Beneath a Steel Sky DOS Second Level Elevator
Beneath a Steel Sky DOS Virus locked inside a crystal.
Beneath a Steel Sky DOS Storeroom
Beneath a Steel Sky DOS Monster

Alternate Titles

  • "Beyond The Abyss" -- Working title
  • "Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered" -- iPhone title
  • "BASS" -- Common abbreviation

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A point-and-click you shouldn't miss if you're a PC adventurer BillyMaysFan59 (74) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars
An adventure most british. Dark yet witty and interesting. Zovni (9384) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Sky of Steel Christina Nordlander (26) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
A lucasarts type adventure set in a futuristic world devils102 (17) 3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars
Be vigilant *Katakis* (37494) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
Guybrush Threepwood would LOVE this game! Indra was here (19239) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
Much ado about nothing jorgeabe (14) 1.57 Stars1.57 Stars1.57 Stars1.57 Stars1.57 Stars
EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE! Icarus Lytton (23) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Over-rated, but good at representing the Big Brother-Orwellian state theme. Depth Lord (945) 3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars
Blade Runner meets batteries included in my personal favourtie Graphic adventure. Matthew Bailey (1144) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

The Press Says

High Score Jul, 1994 5 out of 5 100
The Freehare 2006 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Joystick (French) Mar, 1994 92 out of 100 92
Génération 4 Mar, 1994 91 out of 100 91
PC Gamer Dec, 1994 91 out of 100 91
PC Games (Germany) Mar, 1994 86 out of 100 86
Pelit Apr, 1994 82 out of 100 82
Adventure Classic Gaming Jan 29, 2007 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Quandary Aug, 2002 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
PC Zone Aug, 1998 59 out of 100 59

Forums

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Trivia

Amiga version

Programmers of the Amiga version left the following information in the main "exe" file. The information describes big problems the programmers had with deficient Amiga hardware when developing the game:

At the beginning the programmers were happy and did rejoice at their task, for the Amiga before them did shineth and was full of promise. But then they did look closer and did see'th the awful truth; it's floppies were tiny and sloweth (rareth was its hard drive). And so small was it's memory that did at first appear large; queereth also was its configuration(s). Then they did findeth another Amiga, and this was slightly different from the first. Then a third, and this was different again. All different, but not really better, for all were pseudo backward compatible. But, eventually, it did come to pass that Steel Sky was implemented on a 1meg os-legal CBM Amiga. And the programmers looked and saw that it was indeed a miracle. But they were not joyous and instead did weep for nobody knew just what had been done.

CD-ROM release

Beneath a Steel Sky was also released on CDROM featuring full speech.

Comic

A comic book drawn by Dave Gibbons was included in the box in the original release version of the game and served as an introduction to the game. As of 2000, the comic book can be read online at Revolution's website.

Development and release

Beneath a Steel Sky was originally started for Mirrorsoft, back in 1991. When the game was entering its final stages, Robert Maxwell, Mirrorsoft's owner died in a yachting accident, and the powerhouse publisher went bottom-up in December of that year. The result was that the game was put on the back burner for a while.
In March 1992, Revolution approached Virgin and asked the publishers if they wanted to take Underworld, as it was called then, as well as Lure of the Temptress. This was agreed on the proviso that Revolution used the Virtual Theatre 2 system - an update of the original Virtual Theatre engine used in Lure of the Temptress. Underworld became Beneath a Steel Sky after the launch of Ultima Underworld.
It took about £40,000 to make the game, a huge amount for the company at that time, but the game sold extremely well at retail, managing between 3-400,000 copies, almost all of which were from Europe.

Freeware release

As for Aug 02, 2003, Beneath a Steel Sky became officially freeware. The creators of ScummVM, a gaming interface written to make old adventure games playable on modern operating systems (only when you own the original software) asked developer Revolution if they were allowed to take a look at the source code to be able to fully support the game in their interface. They got more than they expected when Revolution made the full game (CD version with music and speech) available to everyone.

GOG.com release

The GOG.com release uses the cross-platform virtual machine ScummVM to make the game available for Windows users.

Swears and nudity

The little robot Joey during the game say Bull S**t which was a very big deal at the time. It also has pictures of women's breasts in the plastic surgery room.

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1995 – #2 Best Adventure in 1994 (Readers' Vote)
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 06/2005 - #1 Likeable Secondary Character (for Joey)
    Information also contributed by B.L. Stryker, game nostalgia, Matthew Bailey, Roger Wilco, Sciere, Swordmaster and Xoleras

    Related Web Sites

    • Beneath a Steel Sky - FAQs and Guides (Various files including walkthroughs and strategies posted on GameFaqs.com)
    • dcevolution.net (Since this game has been released as freeware, and ScummVM has been ported to the Dreamcast. You can download a Dreamcast version at www.dcevo.com for free!)
    • Freeloader.com (You can now download Beneath a Steel Sky for free.)
    • Game Nostalgia (Provides extensive background info for Beneath a Steel Sky, pictures of the cast and examples of voice-overs, full credits with shots and info about the design team, a demo of the game, specific details about the game, various goodies, all musical themes, shots of every location in the game, saved games, a list of reviews, including a "nostalgic "review and tech specs.)
    • Hints for Beneath a Steel Sky (Hints by Jason Strautman will nudge you along so you can solve the game yourself. Final solutions are included.)
    • ScummVM Homepage (ScummVM 100% supports Beneath a Steel Sky in all windows and linux versions.)
    • Steel Sky Walkthrough (Full solution posted on Revolution's web site)
    • Wikipedia: Beneath a Steel Sky (article on the open encyclopedia site)
    Baxter (38) added Beneath a Steel Sky (DOS) on Nov 05, 1999
    Other platforms contributed by Picard (29302), Sciere (234463), Kabushi (116517) and Syed GJ (1547)