Genre:   3rd Person Shooter

Developer:   Metropolis Software

Publisher:    PlayLogic, Eidos

Interesting Development Note: Metropolis Software has joined forces as of February 2008 with the Witcher development house CDPROJEKT RED – This could be the start of something very good.

Released:  May 2007 (US)

PC Requirements:   PC DVD Rom, see review





by Trail_Mystic


In Infernal you take on the role of Ryan Lennox, an ex-angel banished to earth in mortal form.  Ryan has a tendency to be just too much of a rebel for the Heaven crew.  Now though, he has bigger problems -- his former employers are trying to kill him. So I know what you're thinking: “If he was an angel and his former “employers” are trying to kill him, then....”  Right. If you can get past that part of the game's premise, it can be enjoyable. It's the age-old basic idea of two opposing factions. In the game these are Ether-Light, the agency of good and Abyss, the agency of, well, not so good.


Our story opens in a glitzy, downtown night club. Ryan is speaking to Barbara, an Ether-Light agent and possible unrequited love interest, on the disadvantages of being human.  In the midst of their small talk helicopters suddenly appear over the night club (which conveniently has a glass roof so you can easily spot helicopters) and Ryan's cell phone rings. The caller informs Ryan they should meet at a cemetery IF Ryan survives. To top off the evening, lovely Barbara pulls out a gun and aims it squarely at Ryan (the NRA card in her wallet should have been a dead give away before the date). There is a pause as Ryan stares in shock at Barbara, who blurts out: “I'm sorry Ryan, now get out of here!” If you're smart you'll take her advice because there are a whole lot of gun-toting Ether-Light soldiers (identified by the glowing blue logo on their uniforms that looks strikingly similar to the new U.S. Air Force symbol) who appear from literally everywhere and try their hardest to shorten your earthly existence.

This first segment is basic training for the game. As you run, attempting to avoid the bullets of your aggressors, various hints will pop up containing directions on game control and features. You'll also get your first introduction to some of the game’s odd dialog as the helicopters' loudspeakers blare out: “Put your gun down and you might just live!” all the while multiple opponents are happily unloading various fire arms into your now mortal body. Needless to say, don't listen to them, keep shooting and get to your destination.

Once at the cemetery you are introduced to the only character in the game with some real personality -- Lucius Black, head of the Abyss agency. He wants you to become an Abyss agent and, unfortunately, this seems to be your only chance for survival.  Your goal will be to recover documents or some piece of unknown (but apparently important) technology, which has been developed by the brilliant, eccentric scientist Dr. Wolfe for the Ether-Light agency.  The advantages found in working with Abyss are the powers you are given, as such you agree to take on the task.

So, ex-angel turns to fallen angel....

The remainder of the game takes place in a variety of locations and sets you up with a nice, albeit basic, selection of weapons and gear. The Infernal powers you are granted (more about those later), on the other hand, are very cool -- or hot, depending on how you look at them. The goals for each location or “Act” are clearly stated by the temporary text interface that appears when needed. Also, Lucius Black stays in constant contact with you through a compact headset. Apparently, Hell is now in the new digitally-enhanced cell coverage regions. The actions needed to get to each goal are again straightforward; shoot anything in your way, use your cool new powers to get through unusual situations and generally leave a little chaos in your wake.

Game Play and Controls

One feature I'm glad the game lacked was the now common check point save system. You have the ability to save as needed in up to ten slots. There are also quicksave (F5) and quickload (F9) functions available as well as autosaves just prior to the location changes.

Battle and controls are, for the most part, very straightforward. The (W,A,S,D) keys are for movement with a double-hit on the same keys for a quick roll in the respective direction (which also turns you invisible while you roll, handy.) The mouse is used for directional changes of view.  A mouse left click is your fire button and a right click engages one of your other cool (or hot) powers, the Infernal shot. This power granted by Mr. Black is the ability to infuse your weapons shots with Infernal mana.  So like many RPG's (role-playing games) you have a mana bar that decreases as you use your various Infernal powers. This works with all the weapons, which range from hand guns, assault rifles, and submachine guns to beam weapons. Personally, I found that the handgun and assault rifles packed the biggest punch with the Infernal shot; the others just seemed a waste of mana.

The scroll wheel on the mouse allows you to switch between weapons. It's not that intuitive at first, but you just need to remember which silhouette represents which gun in the dynamic on-screen weapons inventory.  Hitting the (Ctrl) key will switch the scroll-wheel function to your other item inventory which includes grenades, special binoculars and a neat gadget that gives you the ability to move large objects from one place to another. This includes opponents, dead or alive. Those inventory items are activated by the (F) key and, in the case of the teleport/telekinetic device, the left mouse button is used to select, hold and release the object or person you want to move. Just remember to look at the lower right hand corner to see what item you have engaged before hitting the key. There were several times in the heat of battle that I had grenades already selected and assumed my teleport/telekinetic device was active. This caused my character to toss a grenade at the objects I wanted to move. These were only a few feet away and, well, since there is an active physics engine loaded with the game, the grenade did a nice bouncing reverse arch, only to land squarely at my character’s feet with a resulting explosion and associated sudden decrease in health points.

Another cool power is teleportation, though not in the Star Trek sense. Teleportation lets you temporarily move a fair distance past barriers to accomplish a specific goal (such as disabling a security monitor), allowing you to pass through to your objective. The power is activated by hitting the (Q) key and then using the mouse to aim and the left mouse button to select the spot to which you wish to teleport. Like the Infernal shot, teleporting uses mana. Your mana will automatically recharge if you are in proximity to a location that is compatible with your Infernal powers. If you are close to places associated with the Ether-Light -- such as churches, cathedrals or well lit areas -- your mana drains.  You can replenish your mana by killing your opponents. You can also replenish your health by draining your opponents’ souls after they are down and, at the same time, taking their weapons and ammunition.  Doesn't sound pleasant, but remember -- you're no angel.


In a few areas you are faced with some basic logic puzzles that you need to solve in order to get from point A to point B. These are usually solved either through the use of your teleporting ability, the telekinetic/teleport gadget, shooting or climbing.  There really isn't much jumping involved at all in the game. None of the puzzles should prove to be too challenging, but in a few cases they will have you running around for a bit, wondering: “How the heck do I get in (or out) of this place”?


Slick. That is the word that best describes the developers’ product in this case. If you have a gaming PC that can handle the game at the maximum settings, you're in for a treat. I think the minimum requirements for the game are well underestimated and you should opt for those closer to the recommended. The graphics are very well done, game play and character movement is smooth and virtually without glitches -- with one minor, albeit annoying, exception. One of the movement features of your character is the ability to “stick” to a wall. This means that your character does the typical “back against the wall peep around the corner” movement seen in so many action movies. This is cool, but in some cases he gets stuck in a minor time warp for a few seconds, moving at a reduced rate until far enough away from the object. In that second or two you can take a good deal of damage, since opponents tend to be both very good and aggressive shots.

The locations of the game are varied; from a Monastery of cloistered and very, very well armed monks to an aircraft carrier. Considering how slick and smooth the graphics are, I personally wish the developers would have put more imagination into the locations. While well done, many lack any real visual “bang” that would separate them from a movie set.  You run through hallways, up and down ramps, over fences and open spaces that have rather spartan detail. The premise of the game could have opened up a number of unusual and imaginative locations, but we are given the like of an abandoned steel mill and rail yard.

Sound, Voice Acting, Music

Acceptable. The theme music is a kind of heavy metal James Bond sound, which I liked. It's not too obtrusive, but heavy enough to add to the somewhat edgy style of the game, and it takes fairly good advantage of a multi-channel sound system. Sound effects are equally good, with convincing footsteps, object movement sounds, gunfire and explosions. Voice acting by the main character and Lucius Black is well done, although the script itself can be a little mundane. Ryan lacks any real charisma, playing your basic smart-mouthed bad boy most of the time. The voiceovers you hear on your opponents’ radios range from battle banter to laughable quotes that (I think) might be the result of a translation barrier. A common exchange you will hear during the game:

Security Patrol: “The enemy is in the area.”

Response over radio: “Shoot him dead, over and out!”

That's about as deep as it gets, so don't expect any revelations or epiphanies during battle. There is also a point during the game where your character pairs up with Barbara. Her constant reminders about your lack of time become grating after awhile, reminiscent of Bart and Lisa Simpson’s whining: “Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet!” until you reach the point where you begin to think about collecting one more soul for your shelf, if the game would only let you.

Summary and Conclusion

This game received mediocre reviews, mostly, I think, due to its very old-school style.  If you can get by the odd premise, the less-than-striking settings and the sometimes mundane banter, you can have a real blast with Infernal. It sets up difficult enough challenges that your average gamer will need to replay the boss showdowns to get through them, but not so much as to make you throw up your hands in frustration.  It's basically a linear shoot-‘em-up romp that gives you a chance to be bad for a time. It doesn't have much “re-playability” (what a word!), but I would still recommend it, especially for the  reasonable price for which it can be found at some online game dealers.  Don't look to be blown away; just have some good shooter fun.

Overall Rating: B-

Game Requirements (The truth is somewhere in between)


Operating Systems: Windows 2000, XP, Vista (admin rights required)

CPU: Pentium 4 1.7GHz or equivalent

Hard Drive: 2GB Free Disk Space

Ram: 512MB

Graphic Cards: Supporting Pixel Shader 2.0 -Nvidia GeForce 5960/ATI Radeon 9600 or better



Ram: 1GB

CPU: Dual Core 3.0 GHz

Graphics Card: Pixel Shader 3.0 Compatible

Sound: Sound Blaster X-Fi Series

Gaming Machine Used (PC):

Custom Build – Asus 680i SLI Main Board, 4GB DDR2 800, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, Wester Digital Raptor 150GB HDD, two XFX 7900GT video cards in SLI, Lite-On 16X DVD-Rom Drive, Logitech 5.1 Surround Sound through a Creative X-Fi Platinum Sound Card.

Operating System: XP Professional 32Bit

Game Settings

Resolution: 1680 x 1050 (4x3 perspective on a wide screen monitor)

2x Anti aliasing

All other graphics settings at maximum

Difficulty: Medium (selections available are Easy, Medium and Difficult)

May, 2008

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