XBOX REVIEW: THE BIBLE GAME

More fun than a month of Sundays. Or is it? I'm not sure if I'd want a month of Sundays. A month of sundaes sounds pretty good however. by Cole Smith

February 6, 2006 - If you're easily offended by a little religious ribbing, then you might not want to read this review. We don't want the Canadian Embassy bombed by any over-zealous zealots.

I was assigned the task of reviewing The Bible Game. What were the powers-that-be thinking? They knew that I would poke fun of it just for the hell of it. Yes, I can and do respect other peoples' religious choices but when something like this wanders into the middle of my video gaming territory, it's fair game. I have an absolute ball making fun of the Olsen twins and any other similarly contrivances. I'm not going to stop at organized religion.

Hey cool....Led Zepplin was right on the money!

To be quite honest, The Bible Game isn't as lame as I thought it was going to be. It's not great, hell, it's not even good but at least it doesn't totally suck. It actually pokes a bit of fun at itself with a gameshow segment called "Do Unto Others" and the "Wrath of God" which if selected, will erase all your accumulate points.

The bible trivia questions in here that are so difficult you probably couldn't even get them right if you had a bible in your hand. The presentation is good and there is even some up-tempo Christian rock music to keep things on the light side. A lot of my contempt for organized religions dates back to my early church-going days where things were so morbidly serious that Hell looked like a great alternative. If everything that I liked to do - such as listen to rock music and watch cartoons - was evil, then I was willing to accept the consequences and pay for my indiscretions later. It took the church a long while to realize that they were losing recruits with their hardcore stance of negative reinforcement. The very fact that we see a vidoe game such as this with cartoony graphics and pop/rock music proves that the times are a changing. Image is everything.

Most of the questions in this game are based on the Old Testament. This allows Christians and Jews alike to play it. Don't alienate a demographic if you can help it. That's one of the Ten Commandments of marketing.

I'll take "Hell" for 666 Points Alex...

Regardless of your religious beliefs, the Old Testament is filled with plenty of action and colorful characters but it's not relevant to today's society. The "eye-for-an-eye" law, slavery and human sacrifices are barbaric practices that have no place in a progressive society. If anything, the Old Testament serves to highlight the ignorance of the people at that time. Consider it as a collection of fantastic stories designed to force the masses into adopting specific morale practices, thus making them easier to control. With video games and hip hop music, the bible has got a lot competition.

There are two main components to the game: a trivia game and mini-games. The trivia portion of the Bible Game is based on questions from the Old Testament. These are some really tough questions as I already mentioned, but I'm trying to fill up space. Unless you're a biblical scholar you won't get most of them. Considering that this game is recommended as a party game for up to four players, anyone that could answer these questions is likely to be afraid of attending any gathering with the word "party" associated with it. Obviously Rod and Todd Flanders' have this on their Christmas lists, but with Santa out of their equation, will they ever get to play it?

The "Do Unto Others" gameshow is kind of like a biblical Jeopardy. You earn points by answering questions. There is a playing board where each section lights up in a random sequence not unlike that big UFO version of Simon. The player presses a button to stop the light on a particular section which initiates a party game. It can be a trivia question or one of several mini games. You may even evoke the "Wrath of God" which takes away all of your points. Let that be a lesson to ye. Your god is vengeful, jealous, angry - and random.

How come they never mentioned High Colonic Irrigation Colon Cleansing in the Jonah and the Whale story? Oucha Magoucha!

You can play just the mini-games if you want, in the Challenge Game mode. Regardless of which of the two modes you play, you have to play with four other players. If you don't have enough players on hand you can choose some AI to stand in for your missing humans. The AI is typically unfair. They don't seem to loose and they sometimes answer questions before you finish reading them. Obviously the AI is controlled by the devil and his minions. There can be no other explanation for such incredible black magic.

There are no other modes to choose from. There is no storyline or online play.

The mini games have titles such as the Walls of Jericho, Jonah's Whale, The Red Sea, Leap of Faith, Stone the Philistines, Lion's Den, Noah's Ark and David & Goliath. In each of these games you press buttons on the controller to complete your objective. In the Lion's Den you will move your character through a maze located in a Roman coliseum in an attempt to lure the man-eating lions into various traps. In Noah's Ark you match images of various creatures as they progress on a four-lane conveyor belt of sorts, and in David & Goliath you use your slingshot to knock down pop-up targets of Philistines and occasionally Goliath himself. These games are basically unsatisfactory as they suffer from sloppy controls and poor implementation. With the split screen it's often difficult to see where your character is and what you're supposed to do with it. Eventually you will get used to things but at that point all of the games have repeated themselves and some of the questions are also in danger of appearing twice. Not that you were paying attention to the answer in the first place.

It really doesn't matter how well versed you are in the bible or how good of a gamer you are thanks to the Wrath of the God, and the Grace of God, which appears at the last round. Uncovering the Grace of God near the end of the game can put you from last to first place, showing you that God isn't such a bad guy after all, even if you are a bit of little jerk yourself.

Grand Theft Babylon

Fortunately there isn't a lot of iconic, religious graphics but at least you'll know that you're playing in some kind of holy land. There is a slight "fun" element to the game but I use the term "fun" in only the loosest of terms. The cartoonish graphics are bright and colorful but the animation and facial expressions are downright ugly. Overall the graphics would be more at home on the first PlayStation.

Mixed with the Christian rock music are plenty of noises such as buzzers, dings, orchestral crescendos, grunts, laughter and a few voiceovers such as the gameshow announcer and a gravelly-voiced God. The announcer sounds like a gleeful vampire but the voice of God is done rather well. The actor sounds almost like the voice I heard in my dream when God visited me and said, "Tell all the kids that I, in no way, endorse this game, but I can't say enough about Halo 2. "

Features:

  • Combines action / adventure with Biblical trivia challenges.
  • Play as either Billy or Jenny on their quest to collect the Armor of God.
  • 1500 questions from both the Old and New Testaments.
  • Stories, teachings and personalities from the Bible are intertwined with videogame excitement.
  • 7 Levels including a forest, snowy tundra, a desert, and a tropical island.
  • 3 Difficulty Levels (Easy, Medium, Hard).

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
The Bible Game (Xbox)
2.5
Graphics
Cute and fuzzy. Trying very hard to "Sesame Street" religion.
2.1
Control
The controls are a little on the difficult side explicably. It's like trying to snatch that ten-dollar bill from the collection plate without anyone seeing you.
3.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is good as are the sound effects. Some of the voiceovers are a little weird like the announcer who sounds like Mr. Rogers brought back from the dead after a few worms had damaged his brain.
2.2
Play Value
You'll probably get more replay value out of this game if you can convince your parents that you should stay home and play this game instead of going to church.
2.8
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PS2 (shown), X
Dev: Crave
Pub: Crave
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Cole

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best