When I sleep I dream the same dream. I dream I'm dying. Every night I watch myself die as if I'm the killer, and as I kill myself I experience happiness and joy, but as I die I scream in horror and fear. Every night I dream the same thing, and as the nights go on I get scared. I really shouldn't have any fear of dying for I dwell within the nirvana of heaven and I've walked in the valley of death. But maybe this isn't a dream.Messiah
—Bob (from the manual)
is a 2000 science-fiction game by Shiny Entertainment
, featuring the angel Bob, sent by God to Earth on a mission. As it turns out, the future Earth is not a nice place. It is corrupt, brutal, and ruled by dictators, called "Fathers" who have recently discovered that Heaven, Hell, God, and Satan are real—and their first thought was that of conquest. They proceed to enact a plan to contact Satan and put him under their control, thus making it easier to take over Heaven. God, who will be having none of this, sends an agent to Earth to investigate the situation—namely, Bob.
Bob is just a chubby cherub without any real angelic might, but he's got a trick up his sleeve: the ability to possess people
. Possessing the right persons at the right time is one of the main mechanics in the game, and more or less its main selling point.
is best described as an Action Adventure
game with some Third-Person Shooter
, Platform Game
and Stealth-Based Game
elements. It can be purchased from GOG.com
The game shows examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Big enough to have an entire level set in them, with a lot of open space.
- Air Vent Escape: When possessing a rat, Bob can explore air vents (some of them are big enough for his cherub body, too).
- Anti-Hero: Bob, who, despite being a servant of God, regularly commits brutal murder, even of civilians. Satan keeps lampshading this. Bob is somewhere between Pragmatic Hero and Unscrupulous Hero.
- Apocalyptic Log: The final level, the moonbase, has a couple of logs from scientists which describe how they lost control of Satan.
- Big Dumb Body: Especially with the Behemoths.
- Black and Gray Morality: There are the forces of Father Prime (black), the Chots (black), Satan (black), and God (gray at best). Bob is probably the only vaguely nice person in the game, and even he has very questionable ethics.
- Body Surf: Oh, yeah. You'll be changing your possession victims a lot.
- Boring but Practical: The basic Pump Gun and Machine Gun are pretty much the most versatile weapons in the game, as opposed to Flamethrowers, Harpoon Guns, etc.
- Captured Super Entity: Satan. Who nevertheless turns the tables on his captors and almost takes over Earth.
- Coolest Club Ever: Club Kyd.
- Crapsack World: The setting, as the manual states.
Earth has changed. It smells bad and looks worse than it smells. The law has a new doctrine of moral and physical brutality, inspired by a new regime of money, technology, and myth. The leaders of the Earth no longer care about the people; Even knowledge and personality are just a dollar symbol away. Life is a cheap commodity, and after hundreds of years the people have sadly adopted this philosophy as their religion and government.
- Crosshair Aware: A crosshair appears on you if you're being targeted by a firearm.
- Cruelty Is the Only Option: Several times—one example is needing to fill the waste container; the only way to do so is by... dropping harmless scientists into a meat grinder. Another example is filling an entire complex with deadly radiation. Even Satan calls you out on this one.
- Cutscene Boss: Father Prime. The cutscene shows Bob (possessing a Behemoth) approaching the boss, dodging his laser beam and slaying him with one blow. You could argue that the true challenge lies in possessing the none-too-cooperative Behemoth in the first place.
- Demonic Possession: Unusual, as it's an angel doing it to his unwilling victims. It's implied that when possessing, you have access to some of the victim's knowledge and skills, since e.g. in a worker body you can repair and use machinery that "only workers know how to operate". In the final boss fight, Satan's imps can do this to people as well.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Destroying Satan? Sure, because your possession power just happens to somehow be able to generate anti-Satan projectiles.
- Disc One Final Boss: Father Prime.
- Down the Drain: An entire level is set in the sewers.
- Everything Fades: Justified—there are small, floating devices around which seem to serve the sole purpose of disintegrating any dead people.
- Evil Counterpart: The final boss battle against Satan has imps running around which look like demonic versions of Bob, and can possess people as well.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Seen in the intro, which shows nothing but a mass of clouds with God's and Bob's disembodied voices talking over it.
- Gay Option: As a prostitute, you can make out with people—of either gender.
- God and Satan Are Both Jerks: God is perfectly willing to leave humans at Satan's mercy (because he thinks the world is beyond salvation at this point - and given how much of a Hellhole Earth's been turned into under Father Prime, he's right) and at the end of the game he leaves Bob on the barren Moon. Satan, meanwhile, is, well, Satan.
- Grotesque Cute: Bob looks like an adorable baby, but, as mentioned above, he doesn't shy from dropping people down trash grinders, murdering them en masse, etc.
- Ground Pound: The Behemoths, when jumping, stun everyone near where they land.
- Harpoon Gun: One of the weapons; it can pin people to walls.
- Holy Halo: Floats above Bob's head, as well as your possessed victim's head as an indicator of who are you currently occupying. People possessed by Satan's imps have a red halo with horns.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The basis of the sewer-dwelling Chots' diet, apparently. They feed on their own, but are also implied to regularly kidnap and eat normal citizens, too.
- In-Game TV: There are a couple of news reports in the game, and twice you get to see them playing on the citizens' TVs.
- Mini-Game: To get to the the VIP area in Club Kyd, you've got to finish a dancing minigame.
- Misery Builds Character: In the intro, God tells Bob this as one of the reasons for sending him to Earth—it will "help build character". Bob protests that he's already got enough character.
- Nay-Theist: The government of Earth is well aware that the Judeo-Christian religion is true... and intends to take over both Heaven and Hell, and put God under its control.
- Not So Omniscient After All: The Fathers have learned how to keep secrets safe even from God, forcing Him to send Bob as a spy.
- One-Word Title
- Our Angels Are Different: Bob is basically a sassy, chubby kindergartener who can fly and possess people, but is by no means immune to damage. In-universe, too—the manual notes that Bob is different from the other angels, because he has a human soul.
- Possession Burnout: Bob heals himself (as in, his angel body) by draining the hit points out of possessed bodies.
- The Power of Blood: Satan feeds on human blood, which is what he needs to "physically exist in the Earthly realm"; he also derives his power from it. Scientists' logs in the final level suggest that he managed to break free when they accidentally gave him too much blood to drink.
- Puzzle Boss: The first part of the fight with Satan has you turn off the machines that provide him with blood, thus depriving him of the power he needs to keep up his forcefield.
- Resigned to the Call: Bob isn't very enthusiastic about his mission initially.
- Respawning Enemies: Characters will generally respawn to prevent Unwinnable situations (when you need a specific body to proceed, but there isn't anyone alive of this type to possess.)
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Chots were originally rebels against the Fathers' dictatorship. With time, they have degenerated into barely sane, aggressive cannibals.
- Shout-Out: Club Kyd, named for Jesper Kyd, who worked on the music.
- Silly Walk: While possessing the Pimp Daddy, you walk in an exaggerated pimp strut.
- Special Person, Normal Name: Bob.
- Stealth-Based Game: Has major elements of this genre—at higher difficulty levels, you can only possess people who are oblivious to your presence. And, of course, you shouldn't possess anybody, or do suspicious stuff (like pressing buttons you're not supposed to press) if someone with a twitchy trigger finger is looking your way.
- Super Drowning Skills: No swimming in this game. In fact, even slightly brushing against any liquid is instant death.
- Take a Third Option: Unlike most games like this, Messiah has lots of areas where there are multiple solutions to solve a problem. For example, if Bob needs to get into a restricted area which his current host is not allowed in, he might have two choices: Find another host who is allowed in, or find another host who can fight his way past the guard. Either way has the same outcome (although each has different disadvantages).
- Thanking the Viewer: "Thanks for playing"
- Third-Person Seductress: Most of the women in the game, when possessed.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: On the Conveyor level, you enter a room in order to access a platforming section of conveyor belts. If you turn around and leave the room instead, the door will become locked from the inside and you cannot re-enter.
- At one point on the rooftop level, you're supposed to have Bob crawl into a air vent and get into a control room; a part of the vent collapses under Bob's weight as he enters. However, you can instead possess a cop who is standing next to the vent entrance, shoot away the glass that surrounds the control room (it's visible below you), then jump down there. But if you do so, you're stuck, as normally your way back would be through a collapsed part of the vent.
- Unwitting Pawn: Bob is manipulated by Satan into killing Father Prime, thus giving Satan an opportunity to take over the now leader-less Earth.
- Vent Physics: There are fans which propel Bob upwards.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Possess someone, then jump off a ledge to break their legs and listen to the distressed screams of pain.
- The Voice: The mysterious voice in your head which guides you from the beginning. He eventually reveals himself to have been Satan all along.
- The Walls Are Closing In: At one point you trigger a security system, which causes the only available NPC (a worker) to fall and break his legs (meaning he can only crawl slowly), and one of the walls begins to slowly move against you. You're then required to possess the worker and slowly crawl to the switch to deactivate the wall.
- You Bastard: The civilians, when aimed at, kneel and beg for their lives.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Satan enjoys pointing out Bob's violent antics. "I tell you, there is something very satisfying watching a 'good' boy do such bad things..."