After reading about the plans to release a sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky later this year, I wanted to play the original again before that happened. Also, after reading quite a comprehensive article about the game in the Art of Point-and-Click Adventure Games, I was especially motivated to play this game again.
I even looked up the glowing reviews in some old computer magazines I have, like Hoog Spel and Software Gids.
I’ve had this game before for the CD32, but sadly I sold it. I remember playing it some ten years ago on the CD32 and reaching ground level, before giving up or losing interest.
Although I have a boxed version since a while, from the Revolution 25th Anniversary Edition, with poster and comic, I played it on ScummVM on the Raspberry Pi I have setup with RetroPie. I got quite far in a couple of hours, because I could remember the game well from my last attempt like ten years ago, or so.
But after that I had to use a walkthrough a couple of times. I maybe could have done without, but that would have required me to keep at it for a long time, and I don’t think that I can keep my attention for that long, without me being distracted be other games.
I looked at a walkthrough for instance to get my plastic surgery. I had the idea to go to Dr Burke for thumbprint, but it didn’t occur to me that you have to show him the glass. Also, I didn’t think to use my ID card to open an old fashioned lock. In my defense, the lock requires pixel hunting, which is annoying.
The part with the trial is hilarious! Especially the accents in the voice acting. I got killed by looking at a hole in the wall. The solution proved to be another pixel hunt that I couldn’t find myself. You can get killed a couple of times in this game. Most of the times it isn’t annoying, though, because you get to see some more content.
There’s a little too much you have to use the crowbar for. This certainly is a crowbar game.
And a few moments after noticing this, I lost the crowbar after using it once again. It’s no crowbar game anymore!
After what turned out to be a wrong turn, I discovered what Linc’s plans are. Although the scene was fun to look at, the reload certainly wasn’t. But replaying the last part had the benefit of me realizing that I could keep the crowbar! Yeah! Crowbar all the way!
The robot following you around is nice. A bit like the luggage following Rincewind in Discworld.
A few times I got stuck because of pixelhunting. After paying a text adventure, albeit a simple one, I can see how that is different. Because there you get a description of everything you see, at least at first glance. This observation led me to be even more critical about what’s hidden on the screen. And it led me to discover a way to not get my hands burned. Yeah!
Just before the end I had to use a walkthrough again, because I hadn’t noticed that my actions had opened a secret door. Now if only Robert, had told me what he saw.
The ending was great. The whole game for that matter. I can see how some people may find the voice acting and tone of the game not that great, but for me it was hilarious. It was not too long, which is great in my book. Although I’m not too keen on post-apocalyptic sci-fi, I’m certainly looking forward to the sequel.