OverviewBeneath a Steel Sky
is a classic point-and-click
adventure game made by the famous game developer Charles Cecil
who is probably more well-known for his Broken Sword
series. The game is mostly player friendly like the LucasArts
adventure games of the era, but there are instances where you can die and where you will have to reload a previously saved game, although these are often obvious and they don't appear that often. You also have your buddy Joey with you most the time, and
you can ask him what to do next or solve puzzles with his help. The intro sequence featured comic strips drawn by the comic artist Dave Gibbons
, best known for illustrating the seminal comic Watchmen
. And in some releases, the intro sequence was packed in as a comic book with the game.
As of August 2003, the game was declared as freeware and is available for download from the ScummVM
homepage or from GoG.com
and for use with the ScummVM emulator. The game also came free with the Broken Sword Trilogy
boxset released in the UK on the 14th of December 2007. Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered
Released on September 23, 2009 for the price of $2.99, the Remastered version of Beneath a Steel Sky is an updated port of the original game for the iPhone
and iPod Touch. The game remains almost entirely the same, except for improved sound and voice acting, all new animated sequences (which are drawn by the game's original artist, Dave Gibbons), and a help system that the player can take advantage of at any time. Naturally, the game supports touch control, allowing players to slide their fingers over objects to see whether or not it is interactive.
Beneath a Steel Sky is a traditional point-and-click
adventure. The world of the game is not linear at all; there is very little instruction on where to go next. Most of the items in the world can be picked up (and later used), but the usefulness of item in the main story varies. At one point in the game, the player gains access to a cyberspace
world, filled with various seemingly random objects (floating eyeballs, fountains, etc). Interacting with other characters is fully-voice acted (including Robert Foster
, the player). The player can choose what to say, be it inquiring a character about events unrelated to the main story, or asking for information on Robert Foster's past.
The game is set during some post-war future in Australia
, where you play as Robert Foster
, a man who was the only survivor of a plane crash. He was discovered and raised in "The Gap" (the australian outbacks) by some locals who only knew by his Robert, not remembering his surname. But the locals named him Robert Foster, after a label from "Foster's Lager" which was found near the crash site. Robert learns survival skills as well as some basic engineering, which he uses to constructs his robot companion Joey. Joey is an AI stored on a small computer chip that can be inserted into "empty" robot shells or chassis.
One day, a helicopter
lands in The Gap and soldiers from Union City (future Sydney
) begin searching for Robert, capturing him and killing the tribe that he was raised by. Along the helicopter ride to Union City, the pilot loses controls and the helicopter comes tumbling down. Crashing onto a street high up in Union City. Foster makes his escape and finds a chassis for his friend Joey, and restores him. He now searches for the meaning behind his capture and the connection to the helicopter crash from his childhood. Union City is a typical dystopian city, completely controlled by a centralised computer system and secret police. Thus the society is controlled to a nightmarish extent by bureaucracy. Although offering comfort, Union City does not seem to provide basic rights for its citizenry, with harsh distinctions between rich and poor. Those who are lower-class have restricted movement and low opportunities for advancement. Thematically, Beneath A Steel Sky
raises questions about urban existence and the threats posed by technology, consumer capitalism, and government surveillance.
One day security forces from Union Forces arrive in the gap looking for Robert. They interrogate the leader of the tribe as they have come to take him away. Once Foster is found, they detonate a bomb in the settlement, presumably killing everyone. Shortly thereafter the helicopter crashes and everyone dies except for Foster, who is then pursued by security forces. The security officer in charge of the investigation, Reich, eventually finds Robert and corners him. Reich threatens him and upon doing so is instantly killed by an unknown shooter. It is later discovered that the AI in charge of the city, known as LINC, killed Reich in order to protect Foster. This is because he is needed in order to replace his father who is biologically linked to the AI. Foster meets Anita, who informs him of a plan devised by agents of Hobart City to bring down LINC with a virus. Foster obtains the virus and eventually infects the AI with it.
Before Foster reaches the main computer, however, he is confronted by Officer Gallagher, who reveals the truth about his father and his identity. It is discovered that Robert's father was responsible for researching and constructing the AI. LINC requires something to interface with, as Robert's father is dying. In order to save Foster, his robot companion Joey sits down and takes control of LINC himself, saving Robert from his intended fate.
- One of the lockers in the security building has the name "Lovecraft" on it. This is a reference to the early 20th century horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.