Name: Hell: A
Started: May 10,
An occasionally problematic but generally engaging point-and-click
adventure game set in the Washington, DC of 2095, where an
authoritarian theocratic party controls the government and literally
sentences the disobedient to hell.
What the hell is Hell?
Well, see the
short description above. Here's a summary of the story, paraphrased
from the manual:
occurs one hundred years in the future, and Washington DC is no longer
just the nation's capital: it's also the place where hell meets earth.
In the midnight hours, lurking amidst the bone-white monuments,
hellspawn stalk the streets, looking for sinners to drag back to Hades.
United States is ruled by a political party, the Hand of God, and its
leader, the Imperator Solene Solux. Swept to power by a populace
overwhelmed by violence, the seeping control of new technologies, and
rampant immorality, the androgynous Solux has lived up to his/her
awesome campaign promise: To sit in judgment of sinners and condemn the
offenders to Hell. Solux's substitute Bible - the Sententia - has
practically replaced the constitution, and the government has become a
computer technologies, the exploration of cyberspace, artificial
intelligence, robotics, medical health enhancers (such as body-morphing
surgery and birthing assistance units) and even developments in
cyber-entertainment have all been outlawed.
of these decisions were rooted in popular demand. The interactive
Acti-Deck virtual reality home entertainment system, for example,
horrified the populace when it was discovered that the device had
gradually altered the users' genetic codes and led to a strain of
humans with frightening psionic capabilities.
the Hand also outlawed free speech, rival political parties, alcohol
and drugs, gambling, and a host of other freedoms. This crackdown on
liberties has bred widespread discontent. Hiding in the back alleys and
the speakeasies of this urban dystopia, underground rebel cells have
formed, including the Citizens' Freedom Front.
opposition is fledgling since people live in constant fear of being
condemned to hell's dark fires. The streets of DC are littered with the
walking dead who've been there and back, and they can testify to the
terrifying nature of the place - if they're able to talk at all, that
is. Demons prowl the streets adding to the terror - monsters that
resemble humans, horned beasts with pointed tails, and other creatures
sprung from fallen angels.
play the game as either Gideon Eshanti or Rachel Braque. Regardless of
which character you choose, both will appear together throughout the
game. For Rachel Braque and Gideon Eshanti, the brutal truth about the
Hand of God comes in the form of a kicked-in door and singing bullets.
Gideon and Rachel are field agents for Artificial Reality Containment
(ARC), a division of the Hand's police apparatus. As ARC agents they
were responsible for gathering information on illegal technologies.
While they aren't armed police officers, they aren't exactly civil
the Hand of God betrays them, they begin their journey through the
streets of Washington, a veering, bone-jarring scramble to learn why
they've been targetted by the government they once served.
challenge is to learn why the Hand wants Gideon and Rachel dead. Can
you solve the mystery before Gideon and Rachel feel the flames of hell?
there you go. One other notable aspect of Hell is that it made a major
selling point of its celebrity voices; it was released in the middle of
the big "Siliwood" game/movie convergence hype embarrassment, and
features voiceovers by Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones (!), and Geoffrey
Holder, and Stephanie Seymour in a minor FMV role.
Why the hell are you playing Hell?
I like it! Hell
is kind of an, um, polarizing
game; it's widely considered awful for its text-heaviness and chunky
mid-90s CG (it looked OK for a computer game in 1994, but the visuals
haven't aged well, to say the least). It's certainly super-talky, even
for an adventure game; the vast majority of a Hell playthrough will be
spent in dialogue trees, some of which are kind of cornball and/or
technobabbly. There are also a couple of broken puzzles QA apparently
missed, though thankfully, they don't break the game. That said, I have
a lot of affection for Hell, which tells a pretty fun story despite its
flaws. That, and I appreciate its futurist and anti-Dominionist
the intro: HASSAN
CHOP! (Local Backup)
...And now we'll
have to select our main character. This has very
little effect on 9/10 of the game; Rachel and Gideon work as a team,
and have the same dialogue regardless of who's in charge. However, this
choice does have a significant impact on the endgame sequence and
ending, so it's not entirely without consequence.
I'm Gideon Eshanti! I have a pretty good voice actor and a big silver
I'm Rachel Braque! I have nice hair and am a lady. Represent."
readership, who's it gonna be?