It’s not often you see a video game that got its roots from a popular novel, but when it happens, (the right way, mind you) it can be quite a sight. That’s exactly what occurred with Bedlam, a 2013 novel by Christopher Brookmyre that became a PlayStation 4 first-person shooter, developed by RedBedlam.
Paying loving ode to the games of the 80’s and 90’s, Bedlam puts you in the shoes of Heather, a programmer for the medical scanning conglomerate Neurosphere. Bored with her job, she finds herself volunteering for a mysterious gig in which she can test out the world of Starfire, built up to utilize the themes of many classic video games.
However, her journey takes her further than she imagined, as she steps outside the world of Starfire and finds a series of interconnected game worlds filled with danger. Through it, she’ll see the roots of many of these older video games–first-person shooters and a few other classic nods–as she struggles to find her way back in one piece.
Immediately starting the game, you get an idea of what RedBedlam had in mind in terms of theme, as you begin in an outer space level akin to the classic Duke Nukem games, with enemies shooting vector bullets at you while you try to reach objectives within primitive-looking buildings. But this isn’t a shooter where enemies simply succumb to bullets, you can actually shoot their limbs off and watch them collapse on the ground in a blocky blood heap.
As your adventure continues, it “evolutionizes”, jumping into more current first-person genres, including Wolfenstein, Halo, and even older classics like Scramble and Pac-Man. The trailer below provides a better idea of how this evolution takes place as well as what players can expect from the game.
Bedlam is very true to form as far as its contents are concerned, as Brookmyre also wrote the game in its entirety. More importantly, it becomes just as complicated as Heather’s journey goes on, stacking the odds against her with more enemies to take on, as well as complications that enter into the world of Starfire and beyond.
That said, while it can be challenging, the journey is far from terrifying. RedBedlam has lovingly dug into numerous genres for this game, from classic space shooter to military-based action, so that it has something to offer for everyone. And it all ties together into a story that follows Heather, thick Scottish accent and all, through each steps she takes. While Bedlam certainly fits in the “niche” category as far as shooters are concerned (it’s a far cry from the usual Call of Duty fare, that’s for sure), it’s definitely something fans of the genre, and Brookmyre’s original work, shouldn’t hesitate to check out.
More information can also be found on the official Bedlam game website.
For those interested in the book, it can be found here on Amazon.
Cover image source: RedBedlam