Did we ever talk about Between Heaven and Hell?

qrleon's picture

BH&H is a freeware platformer that both respectfully apes "Out of this World" and revels in the campy dialog of b-movies and summer hollywood blockbusters. The author digitized himself and his friends to make the ingame characters. He couldn't draw backgrounds, so he just drew splotches and applied several photoshop filters to them.

Puzzles mostly involve avoiding vague-but-dangerous things; most hazards are telegraphed ahead of time. The painful/funny cinematics only get funnier as the game progresses, entering (in my opinion) OH SHIT I JUST WANT TO FINISH THIS territory near the end.

BH&H was written for the AGAST engine, which causes some problems on certain systems. AGAST apparantly can't free resources; I had to restart the game a few times to reach the end. Also, it's like a 160 MB download.

Finally, there's an interesting tell-all post-mortem on the author's site. Although not really a trainwreck (the levels are actually very well polished), I thought the slapdash graphics and storyline (and final boss, if you ever reach him) give it a strange "shoestring budget" quality, even though it didn't have a budget.

snapman's picture

I just watched the opening

I just watched the opening sequence played by the author on Youtube. I think he would have been better served by using photograph backgrounds as well, but I guess the filter frenzy art creates a style all its own. And I would definitely classify this as a trainwreck. Live-action freeware is almost a guaranteed trainwreck.

SpindleyQ's picture



The "running" animation is pretty incredible. Live action freeware is far too rare for my liking.

snapman's picture

Working on it.

Working on it.

Pizza Time's picture




Hi there, this is Matt D, the creator/"star" of Between Heaven and Hell.

You know, sometimes I wonder to myself why I decided to do the cutscenes the way I did. I never really expected to be able to accomplish anything but campiness. I mean, non-actor voice actors + digitized graphics, that was always a recipe for cheesy. I really just wanted to emulate the games of this nature that were released in the early '90s.

On the other hand, I think if cutscenes had been handled a bit differently -- for example, no voice actors, and if I'd made an effort to obscure the fact that I was using real photographs of actual people in the cutscenes -- the game might have worked much better as a whole. The campiness and the art style just don't mesh that well in my opinion. 'May have shot myself in the foot.

I think I ended up with something that wasn't really appealing to a lot of people judging from the game's relative lack of popularity, though some people seem to dig it a lot. The Czech Republic gave it some good reviews. :P To my knowledge it's still one of the only Out of This World style freeware games around, but I can see why there's not a whole lot of demand for that type of gameplay these days.

Anyways, it was an enormous project, but I enjoyed working on it and I generally like how it came out, plus it's a nice little resume piece. I might end up starting on a Metroidvania style game one of these days, the Tigsource kids'll love that! :D

qrleon's picture

I appreciated that you used

I appreciated that you used OOTW as a model over the more rigid platformers like Prince of Persia and Flashback. Too bad it didn't get much attention, it's a pretty enjoyable game and the cheese greatly added to the fun.

agj's picture

Haven't played it yet, but

Haven't played it yet, but that video was completely epic. Congrats.