|Pardon the dust!
This page includes some jargon that hasn't been added to the site's glossary yet. I'll be around to fix this later, but sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime.
Review: Captain Bible in The Dome of Darkness
At a Glance
|This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!
|ESRB Rating:||NR - Not Rated|
|Genre:||Trivia / Adventure|
|License:||Freeware / Commercial|
|Review Published On:||October 21st, 2020|
Being a DOS game, there is no autosave. Instead, you need to select SAVE GAME from the menu to record your progress. There are several save slots to choose between, so multiple games can be in progress at any one time.
Captain Bible fights robotic enemies, causing them to explode upon defeat, and some of the questions are about sexual behavior.
Captain Bible in the Dome of Darkness is one of those rare examples that managed to hit a healthy balance between teaching the player and providing interesting gameplay. It's gameplay mixes trivia questions with a scavenger hunt-like adventure, and the occasional battle sequence is added in to spice things up. If you really wanted to shoehorn this game into a single category, I'd put it with point and click adventures, as you're directing a character through areas, locating useful items, and navigating dialogue trees in an attempt to complete their goals. I'd even go so far as to say that this adventure holds up fairly well with modern point and click adventure games. Sadly, this genre as a whole is much less popular than it used to be, as much more flashy and action-heavy games have taken center stage over the years.
But enough about that; let's talk about the adventure that lies before us. The story is fairly direct: in the far distant future, a town has been covered in a Dome of Darkness by the Enemy, and it's up to the heroic Bible Corps to rescue the people trapped inside. This dome not only covers the land in darkness, it also acts as a sort of mind control device, causing the people within its sphere of influence to be easily convinced by whatever they are told. This is bad enough, but the Enemy has also sent an army of robot Cyber Deceivers into the town to spread lies and misinformation among the people. Without the Truth to guide them, these people will fall victim to the lies and become trapped in false, confused realities -- some even undergo bizarre transformations into something less than human!
While the Bible Corps is strong, they still have their limits. Unable to dispel the Dome of Darkness completely, they managed to punch a hole in its outer shell that is just large enough to allow a single operative and some supplies through. Known for his strong Faith, Captain Bible is selected for this task, and sent on his way. Unfortunately, the Dome and some of the Cybers lurking within are able to erase the memory of his electronic Bible, requiring him to search around to find the verses he'll need to combat the lies that are being spread.
Once seven victims have been freed of the Enemy's mind control, they can team up with Captain Bible to pilot a giant construction robot known as the Unibot. Together, armed with the robot's physical might and the holy scriptures' powerful Truth, they can tear down the Tower of Deception that generates the Dome of Darkness and save the day.
This is a pretty good set up for a game, even if it wasn't trying to be educational. The gameplay itself holds up very well too, though I did notice a problem. Old games didn't have the graphical advantages we have today, and this causes some lag when the game is trying to handle the more complicated Cyber designs. If this game was rereleased using nearly any modern GUI library, this problem would simply correct itself.
There is a problem from a practical standpoint, however. This game does a great job of showing how the Bible can answer so many questions and even provides rebuttals for a great many of the uncharitable claims I've encountered in person and on social media over the years, but it does so by using scripture and scripture alone. Quoting the Bible automatically convinces everybody in this game, but in real life, if the person you're talking with doesn't accept the Bible as Truth, then nothing you quote from it will sway their opinion.
That said, this was a great ride from start to finish, and there were a number of things I wasn't expecting. I'm even willing to say that I learned some unexpected things about the Bible playing through this one. Now, since this is a really old game, you'll need to either run it on an ancient system or use a tool like DOSbox, but if you're able to find a copy and get it running, I'd really suggest giving Captain Bible in the Dome of Darkness a go.
Points of Interest
Also, it's important to know that many of these falsehoods are also spread by well-meaning but misinformed Christians. Interestingly enough, this is reflected by how Captain Bible only focuses on what is and what is not true according to the Bible. There's no separation into "evil unbelievers" and "good Christians"; only the merits of the statements are looked at.
Freeing a victim also involves a conversation, but this time you'll need to find the verses that back up Captain Bible's points. Make a mistake, and you'll usually need to either start over. These conversations are fairly long, so after awhile you'll reach a checkpoint and only need to reset from there.
Denial of scientific fact is a serious problem with some pockets of modern Christianity, and it'd be a shame if a wonderful game like this was tainted by those ideas. But, when I found this Cyber in the game, I noticed that it was the critic, not the game, that was in the wrong.
The Cyber actually says: "The rainbow is just light refracting through water, not a creation of God with a divine purpose.". The critic, for whatever reason, did not finish the quote before passing judgement. It's this missing portion that reveals the lie for what it is -- according to the Bible, God did indeed give the rainbow a divine meaning, so while the robot was correct about the origins of the rainbow, it was lying about its purpose.
Normally I don't comment on what other people have to say about a game, but this remark really stuck out to me since it's the same sort of half-truth that the game is trying to teach us to guard against.
Concerns and Issues
It's also possible to completely disable the combat scenes during install, but I personally wouldn't recommend doing that. Even the game's developers admit that turning them off makes the game less fun.
Also, two of the victims are worth talking mentioning. One is hooked on drugs, and other was trapped by the occult. The "drugs" the former is taking are pumped into him by a spider-like cyber robot, and are a weird green liquid of some sort. This makes its point without showing real drugs. Oddly, the addict is depicted surprisingly realistically, with a creepy smile and bags under his sunken eyes.
The other victim, the one who was trapped by the occult, is trapped in a big crystal and desperately wants out of his prison. While crystals are often said to contain "powers" by various practices, it's nowhere near as realistic and dark as video games tend to get on the subject. In fact, I didn't know what was going on until Captain Bible said something!
While most of the victims suffer from delusions related to the traps you freed them from, one of the victims hears voices telling him to kill himself. If you select the wrong verse, his screen goes dark, and the game ends. This sort of implies the worst possible outcome.
The second thing that I find noteworthy about the finale isn't actually a problem as much as it is important. At the very end, when every power station has been destroyed and the group is about to destroy the Tower of Deception...
...it finally snares Captain Bible himself.
The hero was not so perfect after all. It takes his seven friends to snap him out of it and motivate him to save the day. This is a good reminder that even the best of us can be tricked by the Enemy, even when we're winning our spiritual battles.
Some tips on finding this game
There are two versions of this game. The first is the full version, which I played through in order to create this review. This version is not available for free, and a bit hard to find. Amazon.com doesn't appear to list it if you search for Captain Bible, but if you search for the entire title, Captain Bible in the Dome of Darkness, the CD-ROM sometimes pops up. You might also want to check ebay and other second hand retailers.
The other version of this game is known as the Special Edition. It's free, but you are limited to only three of the seven areas, effectively making it a demo rather than a complete game. DOSGames.com has a copy of this version available, and you can even play it in your browser with their online DOS emulator.