Monday, 14 November 2016

Dante's Inferno (Commodore 64, Xbox 360)

Dante's Inferno (C64) :

Games are sometimes inspired by some odd sources, including 14th century poems about a journey through Hell it seems! Yes, the next two games I'm going to look at both use Dante Alighieri's epic Divine Comedy's Inferno section as their source material, and as such are filled with suitably Gruesomely-Hellish imagery.....

First up is Denton Design's take on the has us take the role of a pilgrim trying to escape Hell, by traipsing through all 9 of it's circles and reaching Satan, who hopefully will allow us back to live for a bit longer and hopefully end up in heaven next time.....

The game is basically a series of little mazes, with items lying around that you'll have no idea what to do with, but are important for progressing through the game. The first one for instance is a bag of gold that you give to Charon the ferryman by holding it up so he'll stop his boat allowing you to climb aboard and get ferried to the other side....something you'll want to be doing sharpish, as if you stand on the banks of the river too long, wasps will appear and try to sting you...and they can only be avoided by hopping on the boat!

When you reach the other side, you'll have to avoid getting caught up with the poor chaps and chapesses who were a bit too lusty in life, as they get blown around by strange winds which form two or three lines you'll need to run between to get past....and then you'll discover what hell has in store for you next!

It's surprising how true to Inferno the game manages to be, and if you're familiar with the work you'll see references to lots of aspects of the circles of hell. I only made it as far as the Garden Of Suicides though, as I found it incredibly difficult! This isn't helped by the fact you'll need to work out for yourself what each of the items lying around actually does, but I suppose that adds to the longevity of the game, as it doesn't seem particularly lengthy....

Overall, it's not too bad....just bloody difficult...but you should probably play it just too see what fate awaits a huge proportion of today's society, most likely including yourself, if the criteria for entering Heaven is as strict as it appears to be from the rules presented in the poem!

Dante's Inferno (360) :

Viscerals take on Inferno also has lots taken form the source, but also adds some of its own storyline to make it a better fit for the God Of War style game it so obviously wanted to mimic. It's Dante is a man who returns from the Crusades to find his lady Beatrice's soul taken captive by Satan and dragged to Hell....a fate for which Dante and the sins he commited whilst away are to blame......

Off he trots down to Hell, aided by the poet Virgil, who imparts his knowledge about the various circles to help guide Dante. All manner of twisted denizens will be met, and luckily you'll constantly be finding relics and power-ups to help absolve or punish them so you can rush on to the next level.

You get souls from the creatures you dispose of, which act as currency for purchasing upgrades. The souls are either Good or Evil, depending on whether you decide to punish the baddies and rip them to bits, or redeem their souls and send them to heaven. Occasionally you'll also come across various figures from history, who you must also judge! This starts up a little mini-game sequence where you'll have to hit the correct buttons as souls fly into a circle in the middle of the screen, gaining you extra souls upon completion.

All of these souls you collect can then be spent on two different sets of upgrades.....again both Evil & Good...and these will help improve your health or magic or give you new moves with which to batter your foes with.

The main meat of the game is the God Of War style hacking and slashing and block-moving, lever-pulling, monster-mashing puzzles though...and very enjoyable stuff it all is! The game feels suitably epic, and despite a few camera issues and the occasional annoying jumping sections, you should have lots of fun as you make your way through the wonderfully-hellish looking, nicely constructed levels. It's definitely not a title for younger players either, as it's filled with violence and keep it away from youngsters or you'll definitely find yourselves going downward when you pop your clogs!

But yeah, definitely recommended for action game fans and horror lovers...although maybe not for some overly religious or stuffy literary types who have been quite vocal concerning the fact a game based on Inferno was ever considered for release in the first place, failing to notice that such a thing already existed as early as 1986! (see above)

And these two weren't the only ones either...whilst looking for videos and info on the games for the blog, I stumbled upon another game that was due for release based upon Alighieri's work...

Irrational Game's The Lost was due to be a modern take on the theme, but was unfortunately canned before release due to various issues....still, you can read more about the game by clicking here... and here's a couple of videos to show what it would have been like..

The game code and rights were eventually picked up by an Indian company FXLabs who changed some of the graphics and plot, gave it a Bollywood makeover and released it on PC as Agni : Queen Of Darkness so maybe I'll try and hunt that down and take a look at it some point!

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