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Video Game / CHERNOBYL: The Untold Story

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CHERNOBYL: The Untold Story is the third game by Mehsoft, the indie development team led by the Russian Let's Play personality Maddison. It was released for PC through Steam on September 24th, 2019.

The game is a peculiar Adventure Game/Rail Shooter hybrid, where the player first wanders around the Pripyat exclusion zone as a supposed liquidator in 2D isometric view while discovering collectables and reading the narration about daily life in the USSR (quoted directly from various anti-Soviet blogs in Russia). They begin the game with a list of places of interests like the school or the swimming pool, and once they get there, the game shifts to a First-Person Shooter mode (with faux-3D graphics much like in the Build engines shooters such as the original Doom) and they have to shoot the people who lost their sanity as the result of radiation exposure and now attack the player in waves.

It is not directly related to HBO series Chernobyl: however, it was created in response to that series, or rather the controversy it arose within Russia. It is definitely not related to another 2019 game set in and around Chernobyl, Chernobylite.


Tropes present in this game:

  • All Just a Dream: The game invokes that trope in the very opening, to tell the players not to take it too seriously.
    The story you'll see in this game resembles a feverish dream of a man exhausted by radiation. However, you decide whether this is a fever dream or just the nightmarish Soviet reality.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The people you shoot in the Rail Shooter mode do not actually bleed, even though they all have an animation where they recoil in pain from your bullets.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Your character has a limited number of bullets in a magazine and needs to reload when they run out, but they'll never run out of spare mags.
  • Easter Egg: You can collect references to Mehsoft's previous game, The Mercury Man, as early as the first location of the game.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Played for laughs in the mission where you talk to the firefighter liquidators who were tasked by the military to round up the irradiated vehicles around Chernobyl. "We have finished the mission, but the boys [who actually drove them] aren't quite the same now. They don't want to leave that scrap, and they'll attack if you try to approach them. We want to go home now, so can you deal with that?"
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  • Grenade Hot Potato: Some of the enemies will throw grenades at the player, but you are allowed to shoot them in mid-air.
  • Heroic Mime: The player character never speaks, and the only "dialogue" choices are to accept the missions from the other liquidators he encounters immediately, or do them later in the game.
  • Stylistic Suck: The game was made in a month, and it is ultimately played for laughs, so many elements are done with little effort: from the main character's sprite being much less detailed than most of the surroundings, to the minimal variety during the First-Person Shooter segments.
  • Up to Eleven: The game mocks the blatant artistic license in HBO's Chernobyl by exaggerating its own narrative to the point it clearly comes off as a parody. Hence, the main thing the player does as a "liquidator" (the official term given to all the people sent to clean up the disaster) is to shoot dozens of Pripyat citizens reduced to ravenous zombie-like hordes, which very obviously did not happen in real life. It also uses full quotes from various anti-Soviet blogs as its environmental description for similar reasons.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Intentional; see Up to Eleven above. Whenever the game refers to an event and lists any numbers, it's also safe to assume they are made up.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Every time you are asked to "check out" some point of interest, the end result always consists of shooting dozens of crazed people (often with guns and grenades) until there is no-one left.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Some NPCs will say something themselves, others will instead trigger several paragraphs worth of narration. Either way, those lines will be cycled endlessly.
  • You All Look Familiar: There are very few enemy sprites in the Rail Shooter sections, and so they are recycled dozens of times.


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