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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.
Written by  :  Zovni (9360)
Written on  :  Nov 04, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful

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Summary

An adventure most british. Dark yet witty and interesting.

The Good

A not-so-well-known adventure classic by most accounts. BASS combines a gritty Blade-Runerish ambience, with a setting ripped right out of Metropolis with a lot of black humor to deliver an adventure game that gives us great ol' fashioned point-and-clicking goodness.

The storyline is pretty much a ripoff, but still it is made fresh by the use of a lot of sarcasm and black humor. Really, the comedy writing is very good in this one, tough a little dry at times (as most British comedy). The puzzles are rather average but regardless of their difficulty, they are very well laid out and follow logical paths, (even the ones that require specific timing) so they never become frustrating. In fact, most will be solved quite easily, tough not in the "use-hammer-with-nails" fashion, but in ways that require moderate neuronal use.

Graphically speaking the game is pretty good, not groundbreaking but still nice to look at, and the sound fx are accurately cyberpunkish and moody.

The Bad

Not much to write here. The only thing I noted a little of key in this game was the subject matter. More specifically, it's treatment. You see, for as much comedy as it has, the story is pretty dark at heart and has lots of serious moments. Now, I don't have anything against games that switch gears like this, in fact I love them and respect them as very ballsy products, but it seems to me that BASS switches gears a tad too fast. For instance: one second you are goofing around with a character, like you were Larry or Guybrush, the next you find her dead body courtesy of a conspiracy murder, the next your buddy Joey provides some comical relief, the other you are supposed to dethrone a cybernetic entity that has some pretty bad plans for your brain and civilization... but before you had to go through a puzzle that involved having fun with a little cutesy dog!... etc. etc.

The Gabriel Knight games managed to combine everything evenly, spacing out every "serious" element from the comedic ones, yet BASS seems to mix them all together and just throw them your way... It's not really a game-crippling mistake, but it's enough to start making things fall apart as you get further in the game.

The Bottom Line

Real funny game based on a Blade Runner/Metropolis setting. Not the best adventure game ever, and the humor is not always easy to get, but it still has plenty of puzzling goodness, and some excellent writting. Very playable, very indeed.