Catechumen (video game)
Catechumen box art
|Developer(s)||N'Lightning Software Development|
First Person Shooter
Catechumen (//) is a 3D Roman first person shooter video game developed by the now defunct N'Lightning Software Development and released in 2000. Catechumen is one of the highest budgeted Christian video games ever created. N'Lightning spent nearly $830,000 in the development of Catechumen, although the game's disappointing sales along with its spiritual successor, Ominous Horizons, eventually led to the company's disbandment.
According to N'Lightning company founder Ralph Bagley, investors were initially hesitant to fund Catechumen until the 1999 Columbine shootings. The two perpetrator's tendencies to play violent video games made a lower-violence video game alternative appealing to investors.
The game's opening cutscene reveals that the player's mentor and brethren have been captured by demon-possessed Roman soldiers and locked in the deepest Roman catacombs. It is the player's job, being a Catechumen, to delve deep into the Roman catacombs to free them. With the help of various angels, the player eventually frees his brethren at the end of the game by banishing the leader of the demons, Satan back into the underworld.
Catechumen's first person shooter gameplay is similar in many respects to Quake. The player battles through 18 different levels that progressively get darker and more demonic. The first levels take place in Rome and around the Roman Colosseum. As the player ventures deeper and deeper into the Roman catacombs, he eventually reaches Hell itself. As the player progresses, he receives weapons of increasing strength, given to him by different angels. The game features a total of 8 beam-shooting swords and staffs that function similarly to laser guns.
Enemies become more demonic as the player progresses in the game as well. Enemies include demon-possessed Roman soldiers as well as demons. The game also features 15 bosses, the final boss being Satan himself. Combat with Roman soldiers is unique, as players cannot kill Roman soldiers. Soldiers "die" by bowing down and praying after being defeated by the player.
A secret "Hall of Fame" level is unlocked if the player beats the game on the "Impossible" difficulty.
Catechumen received mixed reviews. Being a religious game, Catechumen was generally received better by Christian critics than secular ones. Christiangaming.com gave the game a review score of 3.8/5, praising the game's visuals, which were impressive for the time. They criticized the game's AI however, calling it "weak". They also criticized the game's lack of a multiplayer mode. Movieguide reviewer Thomas DeLong addressed similar issues, but also stated that the game "has done its job adequately" and that it was the best Christian game he had ever played.
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