In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller

aka: Hell
Moby ID: 1824
DOS Specs
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 6/17 2:05 PM )

Description official descriptions

In the near future, human beings have discovered that hell actually exists. The governing organization on the Earth, known as the Hand of God, controls the ways to hell. Demons can travel to our dimensions, while criminals are sent to hell instead of being locked in jails.

You take the roles of Gideon Eshanti and Rachel Braque, a couple who is working for the government. One night government agents arrive at their house and try to assassinate them. After a narrow escape, the two find themselves in hell. Now they have to figure out how to return to our world, and to find out why their employers wanted to kill them...

Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller is an adventure game with simple point-and-click interface. You advance in the game by talking to people and manipulating objects to solve puzzles. The game utilizes pre-rendered backgrounds and FMV sequences as cut-scenes.

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Videos

See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (DOS version)

79 People (78 developers, 1 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 64% (based on 25 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 28 ratings with 3 reviews)

Good, but not really that daring

The Good
Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller is a dark, point n' click graphic adventure game features the voice talents of Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones and Stephanie Seymour. It is fun to play, with some cool locations to explore, interesting items to locate and an odd (but engaging) cast of colorful -- even supernatural -- characters. Even the dystopian tale, while not too original, manages to keep you interested while taking some jabs at ultra right-wing politics, especially the religious right.



The Bad
The game's writing is a bit too cheesy and predictable. While it is certainly not for kids, its focus on profanity, graphic violence, blood and gore will probably seem cool to teenage boys. The 18+ crowd will probably find the content to be a bit restrained especially in terms of its politics and sexual themes. As dystopian, cyberpunk graphic adventure games go, this game comes off as a bit pretentious. Its politics are too superficial to appreciate and it is actually pretty restrained in dealing with sexuality, something that would probably be a big issue in a fascist, theocratic nation. The animation used for the full motion video sequences often repeat themselves and the early 1990s CGI has not aged well. Last, but not least, you will end up going through lots of dialogue before you really start getting into the more traditional elements of adventure gaming.

The Bottom Line
Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller is a good, early 1990's graphic adventure game, that could have been great. It is certainly not for children, but actual adults may find the game's "adult" content a bit too pretentious and restrained to take seriously. The game is something akin to watching a big budget B-minus science fiction film. It is pretty fun to play and sometimes some interesting ideas are sometimes, sort of raised, but it cannot be taken seriously or viewed as high art.

and the politics a bit too superficial.

DOS · by ETJB (428) · 2010

Weird but kind of fun.

The Good
This game was an honest attempt to create a stylistic cyberpunk adventure game. The title screen is very cool and sets the atmosphere. You get to play one of the two main characters. They are ex cops who are on the run from their own agency. The government is a theo-technocratic organization that strictly enforces its own doctrine of rules. You use your contacts you made as a cop to progress in the game.

At the time, the graphics were decent. The story is told through a variety of partial screen FMV movies. The game play consisted of moving and using your character through a 2d background. Lot of the voice acting was fairly decent. Dennis Hopper performed well but the stiff render of him stole from his performance. Lots of interesting and strange dialogue trees to play with.

The Bad
The dorky music. Played through a standard FM synth sound card, you will find yourself quickly turning it off in the main menu. The game ends up to be a series of 'fed-ex' missions, going to one part of town to the next.

Getting it to work is a big challenge. One must master dos configuration to get it to play acceptably. If you run it under windows, make sure to have windows 9x and a pentium II.

The Bottom Line
An old school FMV adventure with some cool twists. Some very interesting production values and unique character interaction. Definitely PG-13.

DOS · by Scott Monster (986) · 2004

Dystopian Damnation, Sort Of

The Good
The mere fact that this game was developed for a home console system is quite impressive.

As a rule, few point and click, graphic adventure games ever saw the light of day beyond their original computer land. For one reason or another, it was felt that home console games needed to be made for blistered thumbs. Period.

Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller is not the greatest adventure game around, and it's faults cannot be glossed over. However, it is a port of solid adventure game, with a few nice touches unique to the 3DO.

The 3DO port retains the original games dystopian setting. In the future, a fascist-Christian fundamentalist elite, rule with an iron fist. All religious or political dissent is treated as the work of terrorists.

Likewise, anyone caught dealing in victimless vices or being associated with any type of sexuality outside a government approved marriage, is treated as a dangerous, enemy of the state

The social commentary behind this dystopian tale may be lost on younger gamers, but they should resonate well with folks familiar with the real life "culture wars" in America.

It was during the 1970s - 1990s that the "religious right" faction came into existence as a major player in politics.

I not questioning anyone's First Amendment rights. I am also not going to claim that the religious right sought to create the type of fascist-theocracy seen in the video game.

However, it was during the 1970s - 1990s, that the push for the government to oppose religious pluralism, to oppose "immorality" in the media, to oppose sex education, to oppose feminism, to oppose gay rights, etc. took on a rather unkind sectarian-political tone.

Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller - released in the 1990s - is suggesting what could happen if a group such as the religious right were in a position to run the nation and eliminate political or religious dissent as well as anything they deemed to be heresy, sin or vice. Think of it as a hi-tech, Spanish Inquisition.

If the "religious right" is not you cup of tea, then the game's story and themes will be quite enjoyable. The game's graphics, music and sound effects all do a nice job of adventure game story telling

The puzzles are the same, and the game's point and click user interface is responsive and easy to pick up.

The 3DO edition of the game features improved graphics, especially in the full-motion-video sequences, which are now full-screen.

Not only is this edition of Hell, easier to play, since the PC version only ran in DOS, but the developers of the 3DO edition wisely choose to take advantage of the home console systems hardware.

The Bad
Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller takes awhile to really find its adventure game legs.

For example, initially, you spend quite a bit of time talking to people with little room to explore. I can appreciate the need to introduce the characters and the plot, but it does still take awhile.

Once the adventure gaming truely begins, the result is generally, just OK. Yes, the game features - for a video game - big name Hollywood stars and a nicely designed dystopian universe.

However, you only get to explore a, fairly, small part of the huge city and not many of its inhabitants are anything more then nice looking decorations.

Much of the character dialogue in Hell, is unintentionally funny. Yes, the actors and actresses doing the voice work is quite impressive for a video game released in the 1990s.

However, the game's dystopian setting and social commentary are not helped by average, if not silly, dialogue.

Yes, It is difficult to create the sort of dialogue and story arch necessary for a video game to have the same sort of emotional impact as a film. However, it is not impossible, even in the 1990s when adventure games were beginning to utilize the next-generation hardware.

The Longest Journey (1999) is an example of an adventure game designed by people who had a sense of how to write video game characters and develop video game storylines so as to draw the player into the fictitious world.

You come to care about the heroine in the Longest Journey, which also deals with social commentary and dystopian themes. Sadly, you never become invested in the fate of the heroes in Hell.

The Bottom Line
Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller makes use of the 3DO hardware in order to improve upon the game's full-motion-video quality and size. Few other differences can be found in this version of the game. If you enjoy dystopian fiction, and some jabs at religious fundamentalists, then you should give this game a try.

3DO · by ETJB (428) · 2014

Trivia

Novel

A novelization of the game was published through the Proteus imprint of Prima Publishing. It was written by Chet Williamson and first printed in August of 1995.

Voice acting

At the time of its release the game was notable for its voice acting. To quote Wikipedia:

" Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Stephanie Seymour, and Geoffrey Holder are among the actors in the game. Seymour and Holder appear in live action footage, while the rest of the cast, including Hopper and Jones, lend their voices to computer animated representations.

References

  • During the course of the game, you find out that the password for one of the computers you need to use is "Bloodnet". Bloodnet is the title of a game developed by the same team (John Antinori & Laura Kampo).
  • Adam Schonbrun is the name of a key character in the plot of this game. In Bloodnet, Schonbrun is a model of cybergenetic arm.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #12 Worst Game of All Time

Information also contributed by Pseudo_Intellectual

Analytics

MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Thriller
Released 1993 on Atari ST
Potato Thriller
Released 2016 on Windows
Herby: Thriller
Released 1984 on Commodore 64
Noir: A Shadowy Thriller
Released 1996 on Windows 3.x
Overlord: Raising Hell
Released 2008 on PlayStation 3, Windows, 2014 on PlayStation Now
Heaven & Hell
Released 2003 on Windows
Escape from Hell
Released 1990 on DOS
Ride to Hell: Retribution
Released 2013 on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Mastema: Out of Hell
Released 2017 on Windows

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1824
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by treppie.

3DO added by Riamus. Windows, Macintosh added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: n-n, Neville, Patrick Bregger, WONDERなパン.

Game added June 28, 2000. Last modified September 14, 2023.