Total RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.  

Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller was a PC adventure game released in 1994. It's OK if you've never heard of it, or can't remember it.

Actually, no, it's not OK. Because you really should know as much as you can about a video game that didn't just star Dennis Hopper, but Grace Jones as well.

Hell, released on not just PC but the ill-fated 3DO as well, was actually developed by Take-Two, now better known as a giant publisher but then a fledgling little developer which got caught up in the multimedia craze of the mid-1990s.


It had a pretty unique premise: the year is 2095, and the US government, run by ultra-religious nutjobs, has the power to send its enemies directly, and quite literally, to hell.

You can choose to play one of two agents working for this government's version of a religious KGB, the ARC (Artificial Reality Containment). Gameplay involved standard adventure fare, lots of clicking, and in this case lots of sitting around watching 3D cutscenes that at the time no doubt looked amazing, but which haven't exactly aged well.


What made the game stand out for me at the time, and which keeps it standing out today, was its voice acting, particularly the bizarre casting of Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper and disco superstar (and barbarian sidekick) Grace Jones. Oh, it also starred Sports Illustrated covergirl and November Rain's own Stephanie Seymour.

All three actually appear in game, albeit not in the main roles, a visual rarity for the time. Actually, most of the game's visuals were rare for the time; Hell was surprisingly advanced for a humble adventure game, packing in hi-res textures and a 3D map screen that wouldn't look too bad were it in a 2012 game.


And what about that name! Hell: a Cyberpunk Thriller. It's brash, but appreciated, as it pretty much sells the game on its own. Like Dudes: Gun Shooters, or Race: Car Racing.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends. You'll find Total Recall stories every Mon-Fri between 11pm and Midnight ET.