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Beneath A Steel Sky (BASS) is set in a post-apocalyptic Australia where you're an orphan living with a tribe in the wastelands the 'gap' when a helicopter comes to take you to the enormous Union City. The game starts with the helicopter crashing down in the city and you making your escape into one of the large tall plants. Your goal? To discover who you really are and why you were taken to the city.
BASS was the second adventure game made by Revolution and they clearly learned from their first game Lure of the Temptress. The interface has been improved a great deal and the overall look and style of the game is miles better. They also had help from comic book artist Dave Gibbons (known for Watchmen, The Green Lantern, etc.) who helped with the design of the game. He was clearly a great choice: not only did he draw a short comic for the game, he also designed all the backgrounds and you only need to look at the screenshots to see how wonderful those are. Dripping with detail and atmosphere, it made the world of BASS come alive.
I won't spoil the story for you though, since it's the strongest aspect of the game: figuring out who you are, how you ended up in the gap as a child, why Security is after you and figuring out how to get out of the city. Along with your little robot Joey you'll be exploring the city from top to bottom: from the grim upper factories to ancient abandoned subway tunnels. On the way you''ll be meeting many interesting and colourful characters who all live their own lives. Thanks to Revolution's Virtual Theater System they walk around, take elevators, go home to rest, go to work, etc.
While the screenshots may be a bit misleading, BASS is not all doom and gloom. Your sarcastic and witty robot Joey will often bring a smile to your face not to mention the ludicrous nature of many of Union City's inhabitants: a surgeon who is addicted to laughing gas, a very energetic insurance salesman, a plant worker who seems to have an unhealthy love for clip boards - and those are just three examples out of many more!
The game doesn't suffer from obscure and illogical puzzles either: most solutions are quite logical and while they're not always obvious, discovering what to do is always satisfying. The easy interface (left click to look, right click to use) means you'll never get frustrated either. The game cleverly guesses what you want to do. Click on a door and it will open it. Click on a person and you'll talk to him. You may think this is a standard system these days but BASS was one of the first if not THE first game to use it.
In the end this is one of the best adventure games you can try. Revolution made this freeware a few years ago so you have absolutely no reason not to play it! While it's a little on the short side, it's filled with quality from start to finish. I can't recommend this any more!
The version you can download here is the disk version which has no speech or intro. You can download the CD version over at ScummVM for free.
Please also read the Graphic Novel which you can download at the top. It shows a short history of what happens before the game starts.
- cycles: at least 15000 but the game runs just as well with 'auto' or 'max' cycles.
If you bump into the copy protection, be sure to download the Protection Codes at the top.