Beneath a Steel Sky

aka: BASS, Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered, Beyond The Abyss
Moby ID: 386
DOS Specs
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 2/24 2:16 AM )

Description official descriptions

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.

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

44 People (41 developers, 3 thanks) · View all

Game Design
Programming
Script
V T System Concept
V T System Design
V T System 2.0 Implementation
Music
Music Conversion & Sound Effects
Comic
Background Screens
Background Paintings
Computer Graphics and Animation
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 85% (based on 54 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 274 ratings with 17 reviews)

All I can say about this game in one line is Absolutely Fantastic!!!!

The Good
It was amazing, witty puzzles, great gameplay and graphics. I completed this game in 1995 it took me some time but i got there in the end. In the first 5 minutes of this game i was hooked! I love all of the old adventure games including excellent titles such as Dreamweb but this game is by far the greatest of them all!! Try and get a hold of it, you will love it!

The Bad
Um, do i really have to say anything in here because i dont know if i can!!

The Bottom Line
Well to make it short and sweet: Class!!!

DOS · by cameron smith (1) · 2003

A neat and fun little adventure.

The Good
The puzzles are solid, mostly inventory based. A couple I found particularly tricky.

The characters are a joy to talk to and meet, each with their own great and matching personalities. Your side kick Joey is a funny, sarcastic little robot who had me chuckling a couple of times.

The story is interesting enough that I wanted to keep playing just to see what happens next. Some small twists here and there really keep it feeling fresh and exciting. Tho the ending felt very bitter sweet, it was still very much worth it.

The art is fantastic and does a great job depicting a futuristic, rusty metallic, dirty and grim futuristic city. All the characters and items are also looking great, with nice smooth animations for everything.

The music is good, with lots of different tunes for different sections of the game. All very fitting.

The voice acting was a nice addition, tho near the end of the game it appears to glitch and cause some text to either go too fast or skip entirely.

The Bad
Besides the audio glitches near the end, and the ending not being the greatest, I really have no other major cons to point out. It was a very enjoyable experience.

The Bottom Line
If you enjoy adventures/point-n-clicks, this is one of those classic ones you should definitely check out! Great story, great characters, great art, solid puzzles and good music all round out to an awesome game!

Windows · by corpse+flower (30) · 2012

Be vigilant

The Good
Beneath a Steel Sky is Revolution's second adventure game, and an excellent one, I must admit. Robert Foster stumbles across a barren wasteland known as The Gap. During his stay, he is raised by a peaceful tribe, and learns how to hunt and survive in the wasteland. Suddenly, outsiders destroy the wasteland and kidnap Foster, and take him to a city where everything is controlled by a super computer, known as LINC. As he explores the city, he tries to find out who or what LINC is and the person called Overmann that he is accused being of.

As Foster, you are also accompanied by his robot friend Joey, and you'll need to activate him at the start of the game. He can perform tasks that you can't – tasks such as hacking into security systems, jimmy door locks, and do other things without your presence. Once you get him up and running, he gets rude and arrogant, greeting Foster with “Is this the best shell you could find?” and answering one of his questions with “It's not worth explaining, you're too thick.” One interesting thing that you can do, however, without the help of Joey, is log into various LINC terminals around the city, to change the functioning of machinery.

BASS introduces Version 2.0 of Revolution's Virtual Theatre system. Characters are free to walk around, speak to people, and do their own shit – like what we do in everyday life. Speaking of characters, most of who you meet in the game can give you information that may or may not answer Foster's questions, and some are funny. One of the funniest characters that I met is Mrs. Piermont. I found it amusing to listen to her speak especially if you buzz her apartment. She becomes so stress if you do something with her dog.

There are a few comedic situations in the game, such as the courtroom appearance, presided by a judge who doesn't know what he is talking about. And later on in the game, you will meet a talking jukebox that attempts to seduce you while trying to select a song. If you select a particular song, the jukebox will get stuck.

BASS's interface is easy to use, and like Revolution's last game, it is intelligent. You see, click on an object with the left mouse button and the game assumes that you want to examine it, and if you click the right mouse button on that object, or other ones, it assumes that you want to manipulate it. And whatever button you click on a character, the game will always assume that you want to speak to him or her.

BASS is a lot better than Lure of the Temptress in terms of two things – graphics and sound. The graphics are a lot detailed, and they make you feel that you are walking into workshops, security rooms, or out on walkways or investigating something. What I like about the game is that it gives you the ability to enter LINC-space. The backgrounds, as well as individual objects, look well drawn, and even there are dangers that you must overcome, such as the eyeball that watches you wherever you go in the room. I love the graphics when you reach the end of the game. You enter room after room containing advanced technology, and veins sticking out from everywhere. Unlike Lure of the Temptress, there is background music in the game. One of the better pieces of music lies within LINC-space. The sound effects are suburb, especially when played through the Sound Blaster.

Anyone who doesn't like solving puzzles in an adventure game will be pleased to know that there is very little of that here. You just basically find places where you need to be and do whatever you need to do. As you progress through the game, the story goes much further and it eventually leads to one involving androids taking over the city.

Users with CD-ROM drives will get full speech throughout the game, and it is the speech that enhances the pleasure of the game, with talent from both the US and Britain. As well as this, though, users are treated to a comic book introduction that gives them a good background on how Foster came to be. I enjoyed listening to the old man rambling on about The Evil. Users of the disk version would already have a comic book in their box.

The Bad
Whenever you use text in the game, you notice that certain words are in uppercase (eg: How come your FIRE exit leads NOWHERE?) I suppose that it serves as emphasis on certain objects, but if I wrote like that in high school, I would have gotten bad marks. In fact, a review that I saw in a games magazine made fun of this nonsense.

The Bottom Line
Beneath a Steel Sky is an excellent game that has a story which becomes more and more interesting as progress is made. The game has very good graphics and sound, and you will enjoy reading the comic book that gives some info on Foster's background. I was glad that Revolution released the game (both floppy and CD versions) three years ago, giving you all the more reason to try it out.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2006

[ View all 17 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Beneath a Steel Sky appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

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 provision 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

Analytics

MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Retro Gamer Issue 6
Released 2004 on Windows, Macintosh
Beneath Apple Manor
Released 1978 on Apple II, PC Booter, 1983 on Atari 8-bit
Azkend 2: The World Beneath
Released 2012 on Windows, iPad, Android...
Sky Odyssey
Released 2000 on PlayStation 2
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - Man of Steel Pack
Released 2014 on PlayStation 4, Windows, Macintosh
Sky Haven
Released 2020 on Windows, Linux, Macintosh
Steel Alcimus
Released 2018 on Windows
Sky Kid
Released 1986 on NES, 2008 on Wii, 2013 on Nintendo 3DS...
Aery: Sky Castle
Released 2020 on Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4...

Related Sites +

  • Beneath a Steel Sky - FAQs and Guides
    Various files including walkthroughs and strategies posted on GameFaqs.com
  • 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
    An open-source project allowing players to play Beneath a Steel Sky on a wide variety of platforms, such as Mac OS X, modern versions of Windows, and the Sega Dreamcast. The site also provides a free, public-domain download of the game for use with ScummVM.
  • Steel Sky Walkthrough
    Full solution posted on Revolution's web site
  • 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!

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 386
  • [ 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 Baxter.

Windows added by Picard. Macintosh, iPhone added by Sciere. Amiga CD32 added by Kabushi. Linux added by Iggi. Amiga added by Syed GJ.

Additional contributors: Brian Hirt, Macintrash, Shane k, Jony Shahar, Jeanne, Zack Green, Sciere, Darksaviour69, martin jurgens, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, theclue.

Game added November 5, 1999. Last modified January 28, 2024.