Review - Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller

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Martin III
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Review - Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller

Post by Martin III » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:57 pm

[Here's my review of Hell - surprisingly, the first review of the game on these forums. Suggestions for improvment are welcome, as I'm planning on submitting this to the Video Game Critic.]

This point-and-click adventure game is heavy on story and cinematics, so the opening cinema, with animations and voice acting that are the epitome of stiffness, may lead you to believe Hell is not a worthwhile purchase. But surprisingly, even though the actors and animators are the same, the acting and animations in the the game proper are quite solid.

The premise is a cyberpunk Washington, D.C. where demons walk the Earth and the USA has become an oppressive theocracy that maintains its power by throwing insurgents into Hell itself - with video broadcasts and witnesses to prove it. The plot is loaded with holes and nonsensical twists. In fact, the main plot twist defies pretty much every law of basic logic - and the characters themselves say so, as if the developers thought it's okay to have utter nonsense in your plot so long as you point it out!

Fortunately, very little of the game's play time (which, incidentally, is pretty long) focuses on the core plot, instead delving into subplots which flesh out the game's compelling setting. A lot of detail is put into the milieu, and it all has a sometimes disturbing, convincing quality.

Gameplay wise, this is typical point-and-click fare combined with a heavy dose of codes and passwords; lovers of cryptograms and codebreaking will find much to enjoy. Perhaps the best part is how streamlined it all is: you can select "Examine" is view a list of everything you can interact with, or cycle the cursor over them all by pressing the left shift button. No running the cursor over every pixel to make sure you didn't miss something in this game! Moreover, there's a "Replay" function which lets you search transcriptions of every cutscene you've seen by character name, location, or how recently the cutscene was viewed. Very convenient for keeping the plot and subplots straight and for reviewing clues to the puzzles.

Some of the puzzles are real brain teasers, and I spent hours working on each of them from different angles before hitting a "Eureka!" moment. Tragically, a couple have errors which make them virtually unsolvable. For instance, Abdonis shouts out a code for some clue words, but the replay function (which is of course what you're going to refer to when tackling the puzzle) transcribed the code wrong, resulting in two non-words.

Stick with it and, as the title promises, you'll make over a dozen rescue missions to Hell itself, with a few torturous pits that made me cringe at the developers' sadistic imagination. And really, is there any accomplishment more satisfying than freeing souls from Hell? I think not.

The game uses a minimalist soundtrack that seems to offend some people, but I feel it suits the mood quite well. Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller has its share of flaws but it's still an exceptionally enjoyable point-and-click adventure, and the unique, macabre setting will certainly satisfy lovers of the bizarre.
Last edited by Martin III on Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by 3DO Experience » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:38 am

Good review, I would cut out the spoiler and add in that is features actors
Dennis Hopper, Stephanie Seymour, Geoffrey Holder and Grace Jones.
"Wait. You don't have a bag of charcoal in your gaming room???"

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Martin III
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Post by Martin III » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:02 pm

Thanks for the advice! I went ahead and cut it.

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