Beneath a Steel Sky was one of those games that I've meant to play since I was a kid. From the age of twelve or something. This past weekend I was in a bit of a retro gaming mood and GOG.com have it available for free, seemed like a perfect time to address that nearly twenty year old hole. Especially after finding out that Dave Gibbons worked on it and that he'll soon teaming up with Revolution for a new game.
Despite my urge to play Beneath a Steel Sky, I didn't actually know much about it. Just that it's an adventure game set in a dystopian future, quite a bit cyberpunk, you're on the run and the main character is a guy in a black trenchcoat, of course. All true, but that little knowledge and the title formed a succinct image in my head. I dreamed of a gritty, noir, almost Blade Runner-like adventure. Well that couldn't have been more wrong.
There's no noir at all and you being on the run doesn't really factor into anything other than getting the story rolling. Instead, like most successful 90s point and clicks, it goes for the funnies, including comedy British accents. Then occasionally it will go very dark for a second before rebounding into a light hearted cyberpunk dystopia.
Now I'm not sure if this is what I thought it was conflicting with what it really is, but the game does seem a little muddled genre wise. The motivations of the main character don't help. He spends the majority of the game just trying to leave the city, despite his actions heading toward the other goal that becomes the driving force of the finale.
That said it is a damn fine adventure game and I'm glad I've finally ticked Beneath a Steel Sky off. But the game I thought it was it very much isn't and now I need to address that somehow. Screw it, I'm trying Gemini Rue.