Catechumen (video game)
North American cover art for Catechumen
|Genre(s)||Action, first-person shooter|
Catechumen (//) is a 3D Roman first-person shooter video game developed by the now defunct N'Lightning Software and released in 2000. Catechumen is one of the highest budgeted Christian video games ever created. N'Lightning Software spent nearly $830,000 in the development of Catechumen, although the game's disappointing sales along with its spiritual successor released in 2001, Ominous Horizons: A Paladin's Calling, eventually led to the company's disbandment.
According to N'Lightning Software's founder Ralph Bagley, investors were initially hesitant to fund Catechumen until after the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. 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. Being a Catechumen, it is the player's job to delve 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 travels 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 power, 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 three bosses: the Minotaur, a pair of Leviathans, and 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, holding a score of 53% on GameRankings. Being a religious game, Catechumen was generally received better by Christian critics than secular ones. Movieguide reviewer Michael Ballmann 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.
Secular reviewer Johnny Liu from Game Revolution was more critical towards the game, giving it a D-. Criticizing the game's poor enemy AI and outdated graphics, he concluded his review by saying that "[t]he only thing saving it from an F is our healthy fear of God."
- Casteel, Rick. "CATECHUMEN". Christian Answers. Films for Christ. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- "Christian First Person Shooters". Hardcore Gaming 101. p. 2. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- "Catechumen for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- Ballmann, Michael. "CATECHUMEN". Movieguide. Baehr. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- Liu, Johnny (January 10, 2000). "Catechumen Review". Game Revolution. CraveOnline. Retrieved April 12, 2016.