Messiah

Moby ID: 1307
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Description official descriptions

As science progressed, humans began conducting daring experiments, defying the laws of creation. Their leader, called Father Prime, has concocted the most audacious plan: contact Satan. His reasoning is that he who controls the devil will also know how to control God. As the Earth plunges into sin and corruption, God himself decides that time has come to interfere. He sends a little cherub named Bob to investigate Father Prime's designs. Since Bob is endowed with a human soul, he has a free will and is capable of making a decision, even if it contradicts God's orders. With nothing but his frail angelic body, Bob descends into the sinful world.

Messiah is a third-person action game set in urban environments with sci-fi elements. The player controls Bob, who can fly (though at low altitude), but not do much else; he is very vulnerable and can be easily killed. Thus, the player must make use of Bob's other ability: possession. Bob is able to take over any creature, from humans to animals. Once he possesses his target, he has complete control over its movements.

Possessing a body can serve a variety of purposes. For example, possessing a muscular brute who has great strength and endurance would be a fitting choice if the player wishes to engage in melee combat; taking control over a trained policeman allows carrying a gun without raising suspicion, etc. Possession ability is also used as a puzzle-solving element, as some areas can be only entered with specific bodies (e.g. only scientists can enter a secure laboratory). On higher difficulty levels, Bob can only possess a target who have their back turned to him, and must sneak around to avoid notice.

Spellings

  • Мессия - Russian spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

116 People (89 developers, 27 thanks) · View all

Box & Manual Design
  • Rowleys: London
Lead Programmer
Arch-Programmers
Lead Level Scripter
Level Scripting
Level Design & Layout
3D Character Designs & Models
Lead Animator
Arch-Animators
Messiah Box concept
Game Design (As Prophesized by Michael Damien)
  • Team Ego - 2 Chronicles 24:13
Character Conversion and Influencing
Music
  • Jesper Kyd (Daniel 3:15)
  • Fear Factory - Isaiah 30:32
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 34 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 25 ratings with 1 reviews)

One of the most original and hilarious games I've ever played.

The Good
It's sad to see such a great game so underrated. This game is easily on my top 10 list.

Right from the very beginning you are brought into this world unlike no other. Every aspect of its is original and creative, and highly comical and entertaning. From the Heavens above comes a winged baby crashing to Earth and you're suddenly sucked into the game.

In Messiah, you are Bob; a winged baby sent by God to, well, kill the devil. But how can a winged baby take down the Prince of Darkness? By taking control of the bodies of sinners. Bob must utilize his power of possession to advance in the game incognito and make his way to the source of evil.

The story is, in my opinion, very entertaining and fun. The evil leader calling himself Father Prime is screwing up the whole planet and you're sent to dispose of him. But what do you do when, in a technological breakthrough, he accidentally unleashes a "gigantic winged living beast weighing in at more than five tons that refers to himself only as 'The Dark Lord'"?

But what really makes this game so great is the setting. It's absolutely amazing, and very engrossing. You walk the streets (and alleyways, and sewers...) of a future city filled with inhabitants. Cops, hookers, pimps, civilians, an evil sewer-cult fill the areas from beginning to end, and as you progress, you become aware of many, many aspects of the city, the world, the entire setting that make the game all that much more fun to play. At one point of the game, you (most likely) are in possession of a cult member equipped with this wild gun that has a propeller at the end of it, allowing you to fall to the Earth much more gently. Suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a firefight between cult members and cops. What do you do now? Do you fight with the cult members, or try and take possession of a cop? Well, either way if you lose that body, and your little baby image flies out, you're in a heap of trouble because both sides will be after your blood. At one point of the game you even acquire the body of a "behemoth", a giant mean sonofabitch that can eat people!

Along with many different types of people to possess (each with his or her own advantages and disadvantages) you can acquire many types of guns. From your standard machine gun, to the propeller-gun I mentioned earlier, to a spear-gun that can impale your enemy to the wall (or you to the wall), to rockets, lasers, and much more.

Throughout the game you must remain "in character". If they see you possessing a body, you'll try to kill the body, and then try to kill you. You must possess stealthily and you can't just go around acting like a lunatic or people will start to be suspicious.

Every area of the game simply blends into the next. There are no loading screens, and the journey from the beginning to the end is a long one. Just the fact that you started out in this police station type place, and at one point of the game you find yourself in the inner workings of a factory, jumping from giant-gear to giant-gear, or in a club disguised as, heh, Pimp Daddy, it really brings a lot to the game. Never do you arrive at a door and suddenly find yourself in some alien environment. No, you go from Point A to Point B and every inch in between.

Along with the fact that you're a flying baby named Bob, the game is filled with hilarious quotes and events. In the law enforcement weapons factory, you hear an announcement regarding a new flame thrower with armored tanks. It goes on to say "Those of you who have limbs removed due to a ruptured gas tank should appreciate this feature." The dark comedy that is filled throughout the game make this game all that much more fun to play.

The final level, the final showdown with the boss is done very originally and is as entertaining as it is difficult. But after playing up to that point, you wouldn't expect anything less.

The Bad
Boy, I guess I got lucky with this one. Almost everything I heard about Messiah was filled with stories of the game not working at all, or having such horrible bugs that it wasn't worth playing anyway. I didn't encounter any bugs (except for the obligatory desktop crashes that occured once or twice in the game). So you'll probably have to patch the hell out of this game for it to work right.

I don't really know what else is "bad" about this game. I hate to sound like a raving fanboy, but this game really is great. Maybe if it had been a little less linear - you basically go from Point A to Point B with little or no other options.

The Bottom Line
The setting and characters you inhabit, along with the comedy throughout the game make up for the linearity. Provided this game works on your computer, you'll be hooked from start to finish. I just wish Shiny was still around to make more games like this :*-(

Windows · by kbmb (415) · 2003

Discussion

Subject By Date
Dark humour, religious parody, possibly disguising actual religious beliefs, interesting game Andrew Fisher (697) Nov 18, 2023
Messiah Console JorganSa (1) Oct 24, 2023

Trivia

Development

This game was in development hell for over 4 years.

The concept of the possession mechanic was inspired by the game Earthworm Jim, where, on one of the levels, the protagonist loses his armor and is vulnerable and helpless until he finds it again. The developers liked the feeling of changing from a weak character into a powerful one.

Marketing

The distributor, Virgin Interactive, came up with a magazine ad depicting Pope John Paul II smoking a cigar, with the tagline "What's possessed you? Messiah". Two magazines refused to run this somewhat controversial ad.

References

There is a scene that has you possess a worker in a radiation suit. When you approach some guards, they call you "Half Life." This is a reference to the game Half-Life.

One of the in-game locations is named "Club Kyd", after Jesper Kyd who composed the game music.

Sound effect

One of the sound effects in the game — namely, Bob's grunt of pain in the closing cutscene — later made its way into the game platform Roblox, where it was used as the default "death" sound. The sound effect, known as "oof", became an iconic internet meme, but its source remained obscure until a Twitter user pointed it out in 2019. In 2020, Roblox reached a settlement with the sound's original creator, Tony Tallarico: the sound would be removed from the platform, but any user could purchase it for a small fee to use it in their Roblox creations. (Source)

Technical

Messiah's engine is a lot more advanced that what it first may seem. It featured a LOD function (Level Of Detail) that would modify the polygon count in the scene in real time while the player was playing to keep the frame rate smooth. The faster your PC, the more polygons the engine would put in the models making them smoother. And you can see the adding subtraction of polys as you are playing.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Matthew Bailey.

Additional contributors: Andrew Hartnett, Havoc Crow, Stratege.

Game added April 12, 2000. Last modified April 4, 2024.