A Whole Lot of Bedlam: A review by Brandon C. Hovey

Bedlam (2015)

Platform: PC

Developer: RedBedlam

Publisher: KISS Ltd.

Price: $9.99

Based on the novel Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre

Written by Christopher Brookmyre

Bedlam Cover

Indie games are generally a fun time! With Bedlam, that is most certainly the case. Plus, it is a game based on a science-fiction novel about computer games. As far as I am concerned that is certainly a winning combination. As you play, you’ll find nostalgia, good level design, a fine weapon selection, and clever dialogue. I’ve not finished this game yet. However I have had so much fun playing this, I had to share my thoughts!

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An interlude in the action and an example of the humorous dialogue.

The player’s journey begins when their player character: Heather Quinn (gamer tag:Athena), steps into a virtual reality simulator and gets stuck. She arrives in a world similar to a 90s Sci-Fi FPS. I believe it is most likely Quake 2 (1997), as the player finds themselves caught in a firefight between the Space Marines and a fanatical alien race similar to my own Dar-Shawn. The player’s first handgun in the game: a laser pistol reminds me of a certain pistol. A Bryar Pistol that our old pal, Kyle Katarn carried.

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Bryar Pistols?

Eventually tropes from early 2000s multiplayer games come in. A deathmatch level with trash-talking kids reminds me of the problems of multiplayer gaming, and why I personally cannot stand online multiplayer gaming for the most part.

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Athena’s discovery that her skin is that on an alien race.

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After the Quake levels are finished, the player transitions again into familiar territory: the European Theatre of World War II.

The World War II levels are certainly inspired by the Medal of Honor and the early Call of Duty installments. These stages certainly had my attention. I didn’t like how the MP40 seemed underpowered though. And I could not understand why a scoped M1 Garand rifle was in the hands of so many snipers. What happened to Mausers? Then I remembered that this game is both a tribute to games and a spoof of games, and also an adaptation of a novel that I need to get my hands on.

There’s some zombie levels, and then I got stuck on a Pac-Man inspired stage. The old arcade games were certainly built to be challenges. This level is definitely a challenge. I’ll be figuring out a way to get past it after a while or until someone publishes a text walkthrough. I hate watching video walkthroughs.

All in all, this is a fabulous and fun game. It is a romp through the history of electronic gaming. I enjoyed the story too, and as I said I need to track down the novel. The levels were well-designed. Only a few segments were linear. Aside from that it played smoothly. My plan is to return to the game and beat it eventually. However, I need to get my hands on Brookmyre’s work. I advise you to play this game as soon as possible. Get it while the Steam sale is going on until the 12th of February 2016. Have fun.

 

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