Yesterday, Easter Sunday, I noticed something on Steam.
A game called “Jesus Christ RPG Trilogy.”
I clicked on it. It was a trilogy of short, turn-based RPGs about Jesus. And it was free. So what better way to celebrate Easter than with a series of Jesus RPGs?
I didn’t know what to expect. Parody? Something preachy? It seemed doomed to hit one extreme or the other.
Yet the Jesus Christ RPG Trilogy finds a middle ground. It comes across as though developers with a bizarre sense of humor honestly wanted to convey Bible stories through video games. And that makes it oddly endearing.
Jesus Christ RPG
The first game walks you through Jesus’s ministry, and uses actual Biblical quotes in its rather loose account of events. Once John baptizes you in the Jordan and you overcome the Devil in the desert, Jesus gains the ability to perform miracles (and exorcise demons, which is good since he is not a physical combatant). He learns more miracles as he levels up, and you must perform 7 miracles to beat the game.
You also must gather the Apostles, although to my dismay, you don’t get to use all 12 as party members.
Instead, two Apostles (Peter and Judas) join your party, as does Mary Magdalene.
The game enjoys a significant amount of dark, twisted humor at Judas’s expense. For example, you can “kiss” enemies to make Roman guards attack the target. Later on, he gains an even stronger special ability that convinces the enemy to commit suicide.
Macabre Judas jokes aside, the Jesus Christ RPG is fairly inoffensive, both in terms of content and gameplay.
It’s a basic RPG Maker game. There are a few annoyances, such as having only a couple healing spots, but your party is generally overpowered compared to the enemies. The majority of enemies are demons, although there are a few humans you kill, which is probably the most dubious aspect. (Then again, Jesus can exorcise them to death…)
The game ends before the Passion, however. Once Jesus has been revealed to his Apostles, complete with the “Who do you say that I am?” conversation, the Devil gets annoyed and attacks. Or at least, he sends his robot to attack you.
Did I mention this game has a weird sense of humor?
Baby Jesus Christ RPG
The second game in the trilogy is a prequel, and despite the title, you don’t play as the baby Jesus.
Instead, the game is divided into sections. First, you play as Mary on her journey with Joseph to Bethlehem. Once the innkeeper directs you to the stable, however, you take control of Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar on their journey to find him.
This game actually comes across even weirder than the first one. The Magi spend their time fighting evil spirits, which they defeat using magic… including bizarre attacks like summoning Aladdin’s genie or Gilgamesh.
While it really only covers the story of Jesus’s birth, it sneaks in references to the Tower of Babel. The Magi must stop there on their journey to get a dictionary, because they can’t enter Judea if they don’t know the language.
Eventually, you regain control of your old party (now with newborn Jesus as a party member) to flee into Egypt. Since this is an RPG, it culminates in a boss battle against Herod.
Yes. You kill Herod as Mary and Joseph. And he’s a tough boss, too!
Rise Jesus Christ RPG
The third game in the trilogy is a sequel to the first, and the most fitting for the Easter season. It’s split into chapters and is more linear than either of the others. Instead of exploring a small overworld and towns, you follow a set series of events during Jesus’s final days.
You even get to play briefly as Judas when he betrays Jesus (which leads to a brief hopeless boss battle against Judas and a Roman soldier), and as Peter when he denies Jesus.
Then things get weird.
It might have the strangest sense of humor, but it sticks to the trilogy’s idea of more or less covering the important Biblical events, complete with quotes.
After Jesus’s death, you go to Heaven (where all items are free) and take a new party (consisting of Jesus, the good thief, and Gabriel) into Hell to rescue the innocent souls imprisoned there.
Yes, you play the Harrowing of Hell. You’re incredibly overpowered, so you basically blast through demons while collecting people like Noah, Adam and Eve, etc. You even can forgive Judas, which sends him to Purgatory.
This takes us all the way up to Easter morning, with the player put in control of Mary Magdalene as she inspects the empty tomb. Happy Easter!
Overall, the Jesus Christ RPG Trilogy is a lot better than I expected when I saw the name. Each game only lasts about an hour, and the gameplay is nothing thrilling, but they’re amusing, weird, and not half bad for being free. It was an entertaining discovery, and a perfect one for Easter.
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