The internet is a fascinating thing. Sometimes you find things because of the internet. In my case, I stumbled upon this game thanks to the internet.
Christopher Brookmyre’s Bedlam: The Game is a game based on a novel by Christopher Brookmyre (natch), a noted British author, whom sadly I’m not aware of since I’m a “bloody yank.” (I live in the United States.) I was made aware of this game thanks to Achievement Hunter-turned-Twitch-streamer Ray, aka “BrownMan” on Twitch. He was doing a blind run of this on Xbox One, and it looked like a game I’d give a try just on the idea.
This is also the third (and so far, final) game I requested myself, just to build a queue of games to play for BST. Ultimate Doom needed no introduction, Turok was something I wanted to try to see if nostalgia held up. Bedlam, on the other hand was clearly the offshoot of wanting to play something fairly unknown as it were. It’s also the most recent game I’ve played so far, coming out in 2015. (The Turok remaster came out that year as well, but the original game came out twenty years prior so that doesn’t really count.)
The story involves Heather Quinn, as she signs up for some new virtual reality machine to simulate video games. Little did she know, she was sucked into the world of video games instead. With the help of various people she meets in the game worlds, she must go through the worlds of various video games and find her way out.
When I started playing, I was thrusted into a game world not unlike Quake II. Though it goes by a generic name – Starfire – it clearly has the style and look of that mid-’90s era of PC gaming. This is what Bedlam does throughout. Through my travels as Quinn, I went through a WWII FPS world, a futuristic open arena like Halo or PlanetSide, a medieval area similar to games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, even clones of Pac-Man and other old-school arcade games.
Yet, oddly, the game also name drops notable locations like Black Mesa (from Half-Life), and even mentions Call of Duty, despite all the games depicted in-game being fictional. Presumably it’s okay to reference them without having to pay legal fees; but this might all be referenced in the book the game’s based on, I haven’t read it to be sure.
Oddly, the game feels TimeSplitters-esque. Quinn holds weapons single-handedly much like the player character does in the first two TimeSplitters games (and its spiritual predecessors GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark), and she hops from game to game almost like traveling through time in those games. While Quinn is not Sergeant Cortez in terms of humor, she does get a few decent quips here and there.
There are some issues I had with the game, though. The game can be ruthless sometimes, where enemies hit hard and health was sparse, especially in later parts in the game where enemies could potshot me in the distance. There were a few times on stream I had to actually rely on quicksave scumming to get past, which was kind of annoying to do on Normal difficulty.
While I was hopping around in the worlds, there were portals that showed up taking me to outside the game space, where I jumped and roamed around while trying not to get lost. There’s a lot of platforming, especially towards the tail end of the game. I thought platforming segments were something from the FPS genre we left behind, but it seems to want to embrace that part of history.
I will say this: For a game that’s doing homages to other games, it’s not nearly as ham-fisted as previous attempts were. It’s not in-your-face about it like, oh say, Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, where Will Arnett’s bored sounding voice bemoaning the fact that it’s giving you tutorials. At times, it feels like it’s celebrating it in spite of being a game that’s not nearly as amazing as the games they’re referencing.
Bedlam: The Game is not a classic. However, I’d say it’s the closest we’re ever getting to a new TimeSplitters game in this century, so it’s worth a bash. It’s on Steam for $12.99, and also on PS4 and Xbox One if you’re more a console guy.
The first stream was not long after finishing Turok, the second was a standalone stream, though I did it one day earlier than my usual stream schedule as my birthday was the next day, the 28th. It was fairly quick to run through.
PART ONE: (Streamed January 14, 2017)
PART TWO: (Streamed January 27, 2017)
Budget Shooter Theater is a stream series where I intend to play (and finish) as many first person shooters, third person shooters, and light gun rail shooters as I can. Occasionally joining me will be guests. Watch as I show off my amazing skills and shooting dudes and monsters in the face.
This happens at http://twitch.tv/tonicbh (almost) weekly. If you wanna request a game for a future Budget Shooter Theater stream, feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact me on Twitter (@TonicBH). The master list is here, though you can request any game not on the list. Though doing this may mean your request may not be played immediately. 😛
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Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (The 2015 Remaster)
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Serious Sam: The Second Encounter