Better wait around for the Third Coming. Review

Messiah Info


  • N/A


  • N/A


  • Interplay


  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now


  • PC


Better wait around for the Third Coming.

A little cherubic angel falls down to Earth, screaming and burning. Far below

him in the city of Faktur, an unwitting cop is preparing to serve honorably

as a human cushion and rental service to the divine. Comet ‘Bob’ soars to the

ground amid flame and fire (redundancy being a key characteristic in any proto-biblical,

archetypal personality coagulation) and he lands, much to the chagrin of a housewife

somewhere, in the cop.

Little Bob is a charmed creature. He has diminutive wings useful for gliding,

an innocent, can-do kind of demeanor, and, best of all, he can jump into people

and possess their bodies for use in cleaning up evil. But someone should tell

the little brat to lay off the hookers.

Bob is, unfortunately, the Messiah. Satan has taken over earth and

bad people are doing bad things to their bad neighbors. General brouhaha is

the rule of the day as everything is cast into a cacophonic state of utter higgly-piggly

by the Prince of Darkness and his willing human pawns. Save me, Jebus!

Messiah is the latest creation from Interplay and Shiny Entertainment

(makers of MDK, Earthworm Jim, Wild

, etc.) Much like MDK, this is a third-person action/adventure/platform

style game with a biblical twist. It combines some genuinely unique, puzzle-based

gameplay with sporadic action and jumping puzzles, but only with partial success.

The basic premise is that you must posses a variety of denizens, from cops to prostitutes to bio-mechanical behemoth cyborg head crushers, in order to either get around an environmental dilemma or kill some stuff. There are a variety of ways to approach different problems, from the aforementioned killing of stuff to more stealthy methods. The AI is sophisticated enough to respond appropriately to your actions.

Control is relatively clean. Guns (the ones people carry – Bob can’t do anything

but move, fly, manipulate, and posses) can either be auto aimed or used from

a first-person mode with limited mobility. Movement and jumping are responsive

and the camera always seems to find the right place to be in order to avoid

the dreaded Tomb Raider clipping syndrome.

The game is entirely linear, essentially one fluid voyage through the sewers

and towers of Faktur. Areas are not quite regimented into levels as in similar

games. Rather, loading occurs at major doors and at certain points you can’t

go back. Within areas, things usually break down from a linear trek involving

combat or jumping puzzles to a somewhat non-linear area involving more cerebral


Although Messiah is packed from start to finish with interesting challenges

and varied locales, it’s over very quickly. A decent gamer who doesn’t screw

up often can get through the game in two days. Since Messiah is single-player

only, that’s it. That’s all there is… and that ain’t enough. Brevity was also

a problem with MDK, but Messiah lacks the ingenuity or polish

of that title.

Polish, in fact,

is a major issue. Although Messiah was in development for years, it has

arrived on shelves with a multitude of bugs, glitches, and incompatibilities.

These include missing audio in movies to outright unstable functionality on

certain video cards, processors, motherboards, and all the other complicated

components of a computer that exist to potentially interfere with sacred fun.

The look and feel is unabashedly creative and gritty, sort of how you would

expect Keith Richard’s brain to have registered Blade Runner. The 3D

engine is able to produce some fairly evocative if somewhat angular scenes that

well represent the godless, soulless, spiritless city through which you roam,

kidnap, and murder. The characters, however, were designed as incredibly detailed

models and then put through the burner of a scaleable system that reduces the

number of polygons to maintain framerate. Although this does help to make performance

less of an issue, it creates unsettling ‘pop & swim’ effects on all the entities,

which doesn’t help to suspend your disbelief.

Audio is well done. The voice acting in particular is highly tuned, whether

comic, menacing or enticing. The residents of Messiah will not wear down

your eardrums, and man, do they die disgustingly. Trust me, it’s not a pretty

sight to see and hear a man crawl along the floor with two broken legs before

leaving this world and going straight to hell, though it is admittedly kind

of fun.

As much as Messiah throws some new concepts into the mix, as much as

it creates a brooding, dark, creative world of evil, and as much as I truly

wanted to like it, the brevity and bugs make it feel like a preview sparkling

with unrealized potential. From a design standpoint, Messiah has a lot

to offer, but as a game, it lacks content, polish, and ambition. Only the true

sheep of the upstairs shepherd need apply for this one – the rest of us cynics

will spend our time on earth playing better games.


People are bad
You can invade their personal space
You can touch a lot of people...
Too short
Too buggy
Too much jumping