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Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Interplay
Developer: Shiny
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Messiah are fantastic. Well, the world design is. It's got this whole decadent Blade Runner thing going on, and I -love- it. I spent much of my time in Messiah just staring at the world around me, looking at the big ships and neon signs and other weirdness. This is the sort of thing that I really like in a game set in a megacorp-style world -- a real sense of being there. The character models are passable, but nothing really special, although I particualarly liked the way the Cop models looked -- they just had some sinister, Cyberdyne feel to them. I don't know. The sound in this game is all right, although the music during battles is so overly repetitive it will drive you mad. Really. Perhaps that's the point, but I'm not so sure. Remember, unlike me, to swap the main CD with the music CD after you boot the game, else you won't get any sound during the cutscenes. Ack. Unless you patch the game, you're not even prompted to do this, so go download the patch from the official website already. The sound effects in the game are actually quite good, and I liked the female voice that warned of radiation levels. Yeah.


Messiah is a fun game. It's not a particularly long game, or a particularly deep game, and I felt that I was playing a macabre mix of Mario 64, and a poorly-controlled Time Crisis at times, but the game never takes itself seriously enough for you to really get mad at it. It just never shines particularly well. After the first few scenes demonstrate what games can really be like, it just never goes farther. Jumping puzzles abound.

You play the part of Bob, an angel sent down from Heaven to fix the world. You can't do much of anything in your 'natural' form, except point your finger and say 'bang' in a cute little kid's voice, so your first order of business is to possess someone. Depending on the difficulty level you select at the beginning of the game, possessing people can be a joke or absolutely impossible. You decide. After you've possessed someone, you've got to make sure that you act like that person should -- a scientist running around with a machine gun is typically killed on sight, whereas a police officer with a gun is acceptable. There is also a war going on between the cops and the chots, so if you're in one or the other's skinsuit and you run into your antagonist, prepare for a fight.

The puzzles in the game often consist of figuring out how to get someone of a particular type (scientist, commander, whatever) to a particular place in order to get somewhere new. On occasion, the puzzles are a little more interesting, such as the Soylent Green-esque puzzle near the beginning of the game, but most of it is spent finding the right 'tool' for the job at hand. After you've done a few of those, you get to progress to a jumping puzzle of some sort, dodging evil steam or whatever the game designers decided to throw at you. It's entertaining for a while, and it never really gets dull, but it doesn't get too exciting either. You're given suggestions on where to go and how to do things by a mysterious voice inside your head (and if you don't see where that one's going from the beginning, you need to check your logic skills).

When you get into a gunfight, prepare to get pissed. The game's shooting controls are great for isolated characters, but when you've got to deal with more than one enemy at the same time, it's mainly a pain in the ass. The enemy AI is very good, dodging behind crates and running across openings while shooting, which only makes it worse. I found that basically killing one guy, losing my host body, jumping into a new one, and killing more seemed to work best. It's not the tidiest method of doing it, but it's the only way that didn't require me to reload more than ten times a battle.


Most of the difficulty in Messiah comes from the controls, especially maneuvering, instead of the puzzles themselves. The way to go and how to get there is often quite straightforward, and you just need to find the person or entrance for the job. You should never really find yourself stuck at a place in the game, unless it's a pain in the ass firefight, in which case I suggest walking softly and using a large weapon, preferably a bazooka.

Game Mechanics:

The controls are alright for moving around and sniping, but in major action sequences, they definitely leave something to be desired. The game itself also has a few issues, with weird graphical glitches and the whole second CD thing. Most of the major ones can be fixed by downloading a patch for the game from the main website, which is nice (the messed-up screen during the load really scared me the first time I saw it). Messiah is an entertaining romp, and if you go into it expecting a light-hearted, somewhat difficult to control platformer set in a neat world, you'll enjoy it. Just don't expect that it's everything it was hyped up to be. Messiah is a good game, but it is definitely not stellar.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

P2 233, Win9x, 8MB 3D Accelerator, 64MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM, Sound Card, Mouse, 400MB HD Space

Test System:

Windows 98 running on a K6-III 450 w/ 256MB RAM, 6x24 DVD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster Live!, Creative Labs Riva TNT2 Ultra w/ 32MB RAM

Windows Thief: Gold Windows Planescape: Torment

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated