Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller
Its 2095 and Washington dc is in a bit of a two-and-eight. Hellspawn stalk the streets, demons slink down the alleys and lapsed nuns hang about in doorways. Why? Because the city has become the place where hell meets earth. There's probably a precise term for this, but neither the author of the game's manual nor I know what it is. What can be the cause of this unfettered evil? A too restrictive gun saw? People not keeping up with their abortionist-shooting quotas?
One or two people have decided enough is enough, and formed underground rebel cells with really snappy names and nice bandanas. It's a risky business, though, because anyone who's caught "sinning" is sent straight to Hell, which turns out to be everything it's cracked up to be. Although it obviously isn't a permanent arrangement, because the city is stuffed to the gills with the walking dead who've been there and back and spend all their time telling everyone else what a nightmare it is. You come into it round about here, either playing Gideon Ashanti (poncey name, poncey guy) or Rachel Braque, the chick with the unsound taste in T-shirts. Formerly Artificial Reality police, they suddenly find they're being hunted by the very people they used to work for. The Hand wants them dead, and you now have to find out why.
Hell is one of those games that comes with an advert for itself inside the box. Weird thinking, but there you go. On the advert it says "Hell. A cyberpunk thriller starring Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper and the exotic - (ad-speak for black) - Grace Jones." Unfortunately it sounds like a prime case for invoking Sonia's Law, which explains the inverse proportion between the number of alleged celebrities "starring" in a game and the quality of the game itself. (Incidentally, this law has also been applied successfully to Special Guest Stars and American sitcoms in their third series.)
Whichever character you play, the other one tags along with you. You control the characters with a good old point and click interface, and a set of icons that pop up if you move the cursor to the top of the screen. These are fine, as far as they go - it would be difficult to get this sort of thing wrong - and everything seems hunky dory. It's when you interact with the first extra character that things start to go downhill.
Just shut up
It's the bloody conversations. They go on, and on, and on, and on. (And on.) Boring, trite, tedious, vacuous and incredibly dull. You have time to walk away, do other things, come back and they'll still be talking. About nothing. Just chatting away about themselves. the weather, the trouble they had getting to work. It's like being stuck in a lift with Ann and Nick. Clearly, whoever wrote the script is practising for some kind of satirical piece on the death of decent conversation. Suddenly, in the middle of it all, I had a horrible flashback to when I once got sent on a training course in the middle of nowhere, and had to spend three days in isolation with eleven people with whom I had absolutely nothing in common. There was someone who clearly thought himself a "character", and everyone else laughed at everything he said. The thing was. compared to them, he was a bit of a wildman. I think he was an accountant. And sitting in front of this game. I was suddenly reminded of the long, nightmarish evening meals in the company of those people.
For heaven's sake, shut up
The game claims 50 hours of playing time. I'd put about 49 of those hours down to sitting in front of the monitor, listening to people waffle on. I know why they've done it of course. Have you ever spoken to a Christian? Well, this game's like being stuck in the kitchen at a party full of Christians.
And basically, there's not much else to the game. I'd go on at some length about what's wrong with it. but after playing this I've had about enough of going on at length. So I'll be brief; You travel around by clicking on a map. You wait for someone to mention another location. (And wait and wait.) They mention one; it becomes selectable on the map; you click on it and there you are. The animated characters in the game move with less spontaneity than the cast of Stingray. Their movements are endlessly repetitive. Mouths are out of synch. The dialogue could do with taking a lesson or ten from the likes of Sam And Max. Everything is over-verbalised - even the descriptions of characters. With the growth in religious and political extremism around the world, there's certainly room for a good futuristic thriller based on the Extreme Right coming to power. This isn't it. There was a time, before Blue Velvet. when Dennis Hopper could only get crap parts in awful films. He now seems to be reduced to getting the same in awful computer games. I'll shut up. Which is more than anyone in this game ever does.
Ah, the soothing effects of silence.
Download Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP