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Game Info:

Captain Bible in Dome of Darkness
Developed By: Bridgestone Multimedia Group
Published By: Bridgestone Multimedia Group
Released: 1994
Available On: MS-DOS
Genre: Adventure/Educational
ESRB Rating: None specified
Number of Players: Singleplayer
Price: Freeware (Special Edition, regular not sold anymore)

Note: The Special Edition is recommended for those who wish to play this game, if only because it's confirmably freeware.

A lot of Christians play video games, but not many video games are explicitly FOR Christians. Sure, a lot of games have Christian themes, and many have moral lessons suitable for Christians, but few explicitly adhere to the Bible.

The problem is half practical and half for reasons of creativity. A strict hewing to the Bible makes it hard to make a lot of creative license regarding the source, and for practical reasons, games involving a strict reading of the Bible cannot introduce elements that would run counter to the morals of the Bible; otherwise they are merely Christian-themed, not Christian-specific. For example, most fantasy games are very hard to keep biblically aligned if you strictly follow God's laws on depictions of magic, which he explicitly forbids for humans to practice.

Undeterred by this, Bridgestone Multimedia Group decided to make a game following the Bible as much as possible; hence, Captain Bible was created. Unconnected to the "Bibleman" series (save some common themes), it's a game that still features a hero whose weapons are spiritual and his enemies are the enemies of the Spirit in a literal Christian sense.

The gameplay is simple enough. You are the main character, dispatched by the Bible Corps to infiltrate a city held siege by a tower holding the people inside under a deception field, which has turned them all astray from the Word of God. You must free the seven people inside the tower who can shut off the field while defeating the various robotically enhanced foes further augmenting the deception field.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Good usage of the Bible as in-universe material for better equipment and game progression
Weak Points: Slightly wooden controls; Limited music; Samey environment detail
Moral Warnings: Mild if bloodless violence against robotic beings

The game is an isometric adventure game where you collect various Bible verses, and when you encounter the various "Cyber-Liars", you counter their deceptive responses with the right Bible verse to spike their lies. If you succeed, this triggers an over-the-shoulder combat mode where they try to lash out because their lies have been seen through, and utilizing a sword and shield (a game metaphor for spiritual warfare), you defend against the Cyber Liars' attacks and strike them down, allowing Captain Bible to progress further until you have brought down the tower.

The game has rest points in chapel areas where your faith (health) can be restored, and some mild RPG elements can enhance your equipment (based on the Armor of God as described in Ephesians, and finding the proper verses to unlock them is required) to make the combat sections easier. The other half of the game is a clever mnemonic device for memorizing Bible verses in disguise, as you must use the best verse possible to counter the Cyber Liars. You will also have to use said verses to open up new areas, where your knowledge will be tested.

By the standards of 1994 DOS games, the graphics were quite good and still hold up. The game has a sci-fi motif featuring a lot of crisp-looking colors, and the Cyber Liars feature a lot of interesting designs. The cutscenes feature a lot of well-animated sequences that resemble a lot of the better Sierra adventure games, though the exploration can get somewhat tedious and boring due to the prevalence of tight corridors and samey design in the exploration areas. These areas have a penchant for monochrome shades, which can also make evaluating your progress hard without frequently checking your map. There are a few hazards like electrical fields you have to navigate, and these sections are a tad hard to pass unless you get the timing down, though you can save anywhere to minimize the annoyance.

Sounds are not very varied, and music is somewhat sparse and repetitive, though what you do hear does the bare minimum of setting the sci-fi atmosphere. Controls are a mix of adventure games and a limited-action RPG model, and while the latter is generally responsive, the former tends to be slightly stiff since your character moves between corridors every time you press a directional key, and this can be annoying in the more samey-looking areas, where it's possible to quickly get lost.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 72%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 106%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10 (+6 for teaching Christian morals and showing the wickedness of evil)

 

Game stability is quite excellent for a 1994 MS-DOS game. While it runs fine on the actual OS it intended for, the age of the game means many will either be running it in a virtual machine, DOSBox, or via web browser (where this game has been embedded on some sites for play), and I am pleased to say it works well in all three cases provided you can easily run those mediums.

Morally, this game has very few issues. Language and sexual content are entirely absent. There is some mild violence against robotic beings that is devoid of blood and gore but given they are a game metaphor of spiritual warfare, it still remains very tame in the depiction. Occult and supernatural influences are basically absent; this is a game designed to condemn such activities. Any elements deemed even remotely magical are shown either to be illusions meant to lead people astray or are gifts granted your character as a result of prayer to God, who is, given the theme, an explicit force for good. Culturally and ethically, this game lines up explicitly with Christian values, and Christian morals are a constant theme of both gameplay and narrative.

It is worth mentioning, however, this not a game easy for non-Christians to get into. This game has a clear theme of teaching those who already believe in God common verses to defeat spiritual deceit. This doesn't mean a non-Christian would find it hard to play, but it's more aimed at the converted than a game for convincing the unconverted.

It does have flaws, but from a gameplay perspective, it can be fun if the nigh identical corridors and wooden adventuring controls don't annoy you. Aside from the very mild violence mentioned, its basically as morally upright as it's developers could make it while adhering to a strict hewing to Biblical precepts.

In essence, if you want a purely Christian-aligned game, this is a gaming classic worth giving a look, especially if you love old time-adventure games.