Genre: Platform Developer: Wisdom Tree Publisher: Wisdom Tree Players: 1 Released: 1995
There had been plenty of Christian software released prior to Bible Adventures, mostly reference programs and quiz shareware, but Wisdom Tree was one of the first to put the Bible and video games together. They were certainly the first to achieve market penetration on a grand scale, with the NES original of Bible Adventures selling a healthy 350,000 copies. It was a no-brainer, therefore, to slap their flagship title onto the new console in town: the Sega Genesis.
Considering the infamy of this game, there’s no real point in beating around the bush. Bible Adventures is a regular guest on all the “worst game” lists, and this isn’t the time to disagree for the sake of originality. This is one of those few titles that’s bad to the core. Actually, all three games included on the cart are bad.
Don’t misunderstand me; it’s not just the graphics. This game is no showboat, but worse artwork has been seen in other titles that salvage themselves with great gameplay. The main problem with Bible Adventures is its stubborn refusal to aspire to anything greater than clunky platforming and item collecting. A battle between David and Goliath could have been fun. But actual Bible passages must be too violent for Wisdom Tree, because, instead of allowing the player to chop off Goliath’s head just like it happened, we get to collect sheep instead. And avoid bears the size of gerbils. And get attacked by nut-throwing squirrels. The Noah levels go along similar lines, and the only advantage the Baby Moses variety offers is the convenience of only having to get one item to the finish line instead of several. One quickly realizes that the three games offered are basically the same.
The premise that Wisdom Tree chose isn’t actually irredeemable: chasing down animals and getting them to a goal could conceivably be fun, albeit a mite cheesy. But when the process of gathering these animals and making it back to the save point with them all in tow is an exercise in masochism? That’s another story altogether. You see, this is one of those games that’s difficult not out of design, but out of sloppy control and tedious level design. The jumping here is of the “floaty” kind that was so rife back in the NES days, the kind with the exaggerated inertia and low gravity. This means that a usually simple task of jumping over a spider becomes something like this: you jump, float so long you get chased down and bitten, lose Baby Moses, get bitten again trying to retrieve him, and again, and again, then try to jump but overshoot and drown in a puddle. In the Noah and David games, there’s added frustration because the animals return to their original positions once their sprites go offscreen.
Unsurprisingly, the music is simplistic at best and the sound effects bear no resemblance to reality.
This is one of the few games I’ve played in my lifetime that is devoid of any positive aspects. Bible Adventures tanks in all categories: graphics, gameplay, control, and sound. I can’t imagine any sane gamer having fun with it, and although collectors might want it for the dubious piece of gaming history the game represents, they might as well go for the original NES version. On the Sega Genesis it’s nothing more than an unmitigated disaster that – with any luck – will be swallowed up by the waves of time and drift into merciful oblivion.