11/6/06

Left Behind: The Apocalypse as video game!

Release: Tomorrow 11/7
Name: LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces
Description: Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in LEFT BEHIND Eternal Forces - a real-time strategy game based upon the best-selling LEFT BEHIND book series created by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Join the ultimate fight of Good against Evil, commanding Tribulation Forces or the Global Community Peacekeepers, and uncover the truth about the worldwide disappearances!
Faithfulness to the books: Not as bloody and too nice to the infidels.
Features:
· Lead the Tribulation Force from the book series , including Rayford, Chloe, Buck and Bruce against Nicolae Carpathia – the AntiChrist.
· Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.
· Recover ancient scriptures and witness spectacular Angelic and Demonic activity as a direct consequence of your choices.
· Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City.
· Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!
· Enjoy a robust single player experience across dozens of New York City maps in Story Mode – fighting in China Town , SoHo , Uptown and more!
· Play multiplayer games as Tribulation Force or the AntiChrist's Global Community Peacekeepers with up to eight players via LAN or over the internet!


From the Review in Wired:
So the great surprise of Left Behind: Eternal Forces is that it actually kind of rocks. It's a classic real-time strategy game: Starting with a single "recruiter," your job is to proselytize followers, level them up into an army of soldiers, medics and "spirit warriors," then bring a hard rain down on the forces of the Antichrist. This all takes place in a sprawling version of Manhattan that is rendered with breathtaking accuracy -- down to the precise location of Duane Reade drugstores -- and superb camera work. Actual battles offer nail-biting action, forcing you to make split-second decisions as helicopters swarm through the air.

But what's particularly intriguing is how the developers incorporated prayer as a central game mechanic. Each of your team members has a "spirit" ranking. If you let them get too fatigued or hurt, their spirit drops into "neutral" territory and you lose them. You can sway enemies to your side by unleashing your "spirit warriors" or Christian-rock singers, whose joyful noises raise the spirit of anyone near them. (You can even convert evil forces if you're persuasive enough. Of course, the Antichrist has his own evil heavy-metal musicians who work precisely the opposite effect.) And if your forces accidentally kill neutral innocents, their spirit drops further: The act of murder actually has a moral dimension in this game.
The reviewer notes that the game does not get as gruesome as the books it is based upon. In particular, no unpleasant things happen to "Jews who refuse to convert" and their tongues are not "dissolved in screaming agony by a fired-eyed Jesus":

Indeed, I kept wondering when the game was going to throw it down and truly embrace the apocalyptic Christian vision. This story line isn't merely of armageddon, but Armageddon. Thus, the last Left Behind book -- Glorious Appearing -- concludes with the ultimate triumph of Jesus in a phantasmagorically gruesome holocaust. As predicted in Revelation, the savior returns to Earth, chides Satan for defiling the planet (and for inventing Darwinism), then proceeds to slaughter all unbelievers, dissolving their tongues and bursting their bodies like overstuffed sausages. As millions die in transports of agony, the ground becomes a swamp of blood and mud, and some extremely unpleasant things happen to the Jews who refuse to convert. As for the born-again? They stand around watching and cheering.

Critics and moderate Christians were, as you'd expect, totally appalled when that book came out. But what's truly fascinating is that, at least as far as I played the Left Behind game, nothing remotely this ghastly takes place. Indeed, it's quite sanitized: Those killed in battle fall to the ground without gore, and eventually fade away.

Why not go the extra mile? We've got all these cutting-edge computer graphics -- couldn't they easily render this bloodbath? Sure, but as the Left Behind game designers explained to me, they were worried about offending their audience by having too much gore.

Which is the ultimate, and gorgeous, irony of this game. Left Behind fans are apparently more worried about simulated violence in video games than about believing an actual prophecy of the future -- endorsed by their spiritual leaders -- in which their friendly Jewish, Islamic and atheist neighbors have their tongues dissolved in screaming agony by a fire-eyed Jesus.

1 comment:

SJR said...

This statement is posted from an employee of Left Behind Games on behalf of Troy Lyndon, our Chief Executive Officer.

There has been in incredible amount of MISINFORMATION published in the media and in online blogs here and elsewhere.

Pacifist Christians and other groups are taking the game material out of context to support their own causes. There is NO “killing in the name of God” and NO “convert or die”. There are NO “negative portrayals of Muslims” and there are NO “points for killing”.

Please play the game demo for yourself (to at least level 5 of 40) to get an accurate perspective, or listen to what CREDIBLE unbiased experts are saying after reviewing the game at www.leftbehindgames.com/pages/controversy.htm

Then, we’d love to hear your feedback as an informed player.

The reality is that we’re receiving reports everyday of how this game is positively affecting lives by all who play it.

Thank you for taking the time to be a responsible blogger.