Victorian Steampunk: Refuelling The Chaos Engine

By Adam Smith on June 21st, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

When is it acceptable to do an excited dance upon seeing a thirty second teaser trailer that contains little more than some floating faces and a game title? Well, permit to take the floor and perform a prim fandango because when the video in question heralds a remake/reboot of top-down steampunk shooter The Chaos Engine, I cannot help but celebrate. The original, from the minds of The Bitmap Brothers, provided me with some of my first experiences of co-op, as I took control of a gentleman and my sister became a navvie in order to save the Empire from the warped machinations of the titular device.

This new version comes from Dutch team Abstraction Games, assisted by Mike from The Bitmaps.

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70 Comments »

  1. trueplayer says:

    I absolutely loved the original back in the day. Hoping this one delivers!

  2. Continuity says:

    Chaos Engine, one of the best top down shooters I remember playing on my old Amiga 1200. Will be interested to see what they do with the IP.

  3. subedii says:

    Man whatever happened to the Bitmap Brothers? They were basically untouchable during the early 90′s, but after Z: Steel Soldiers didn’t do so well it looks like the company’s become a permanent zombie.

    • PostieDoc says:

      They are legends. I actually don’t remember Z: Steel Soldiers but the original Z was a great game.
      Can still remember Bomb The Base blasting out as I played Xenon 2.
      Legends.

  4. Continuity says:

    The original had a very specific look and feel, atmosphere even, I hope they recapture that because without it it was basically a generic top down shooter.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Indeed, it seemed the story made a huge difference in the original, and really set it apart from the other shooters. It’s one of the earliest games I can remember having a strong story that wasn’t a point & clicker or turn based RPG.

      • Imbecile says:

        Say what now? I loved the Chaos Engine. Its atmosphere was great, as was the ability to play through without taking the same route (even when you wanted to) – but I don’t remember its story being particularly noteworthy.

  5. Dana says:

    Some time in the last century, and experimenter in time and space, created a bizarre machine. The Chaos Engine. Although primitive, it became incredibly powerful, and turned against its creator. Its power to corrupt time and matter wast out of control, humans and animals were turned into ravenous beasts. Someone must destroy the Chaos Engine before its too late, six soldiers of fortune are available for hire, The Gentlemen, The Brigand, The Thug, The Mercenary, The Preacher, The Navy.

  6. captain nemo says:

    Spiffing Chaos Engine Music here

  7. Schadenfreude says:

    Adam Smith: His perverse nature is not to be trusted.

  8. clippa says:

    Oohoohoo! Bloody loved this on the amiga, chaos engine with decent mouse and keyboard controls would be a thing of wonder. Fingers crossed :D

  9. Mark_S says:

    NODE ACTIVATED.

  10. apocraphyn says:

    HOLY DAMNATION, this is a blast to the past and a half! Chaos Engine was one of my favourite games on the Amiga, and it’s in solid hands with Devolver, too! Very interesting.

  11. Jimbo says:

    Great box or greatest box?

  12. BurningPet says:

    Wait, does “Dennaton Games” develop it?

  13. Unrein says:

    The best Amiga game I have ever played, and pretty damn high in my overall personal videogame rankings. Its soundtrack no doubt influenced my music taste for all time. The graphics were pixel ART.

    I predict disappointment.

  14. fuggles says:

    NODE ACTIVATED

  15. b0rsuk says:

    A big part of Chaos Engine’s draw was its visual style, and that in turn was because it was tile-based and isometric. It just played differently, like it or not you have more awareness if you see your character from far above. Unless this remake is not a FPS, I’m not interested.

  16. Easydog says:

    SQUUEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. dangermouse76 says:

    My first purchase when my life insurance matured was an Amiga 1200, then Chaos Engine. Great game loved it and was actually thinking recently that I would love to see something new from this .

    Here is the intro music on Amiga.

    Preacher: The smartest of the six characters. But then, he has God on his side.

  18. Squire says:

    SPECIAL POWER

  19. Radiant says:

    Holy shit my heart.

  20. Guzzleguts says:

    I was mid-sentence talking to someone when I saw this. That conversation immediately ended. Yipee!

  21. Tuggy Tug says:

    The original was great fun. Looking forward to this one…

  22. Radiant says:

    Wait what have devolver done previously?

    • LTK says:

      Devolver Digital is the publisher of such awesome titles as Serious Sam 3, Serious Sam HD, Hotline Miami, and the upcoming Luftrausers and Shadow Warrior remake. They are pretty excellent.

  23. JamesTheNumberless says:

    In response to everyone asking what happened to the Bitmap Brothers

    Xenon II, The Chaos Engine, Speedball (I & II) and (even) Magic Pockets are among my favourite games of all time… Nay, defining moments of my childhood!!

    I remember reading an ST Action interview with them in which the interviewer asked them if (after producing hit game after hit game) they were all filthy rich… (This interested me a lot at the time because I was sizing the games industry as a career path :) ). They denied they were, of course, and complained about publishers taking the lion’s share.

    So I like to imagine this was partially true and they were reliant on publishers funding development of their games. They only really had one shot at making the transition from 2D to 3D (Z – steel soldiers) and it was a bad experience for all involved, after which they decided they’d had their day in the sun as far as their own games were concerned and became consultants. (I like to think this means they’ve all retired to their respective mansions and now get to dip in and out of projects they like the sound of)

    So if you have a game…if no one else can help…and if you can find them…maybe you can hire The Bitmap Brothers.

    Plus they also run one of the best websites I’ve ever seen on breaking into the games industry.

    http://www.bitmap-brothers.co.uk/employment/help/index.htm

  24. Jojolion says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3enImd8QVQ4

    WEE. WOO. WEE. WOO. WEE. WOO. WEE. WOO.

  25. b0rsuk says:

    The only way I can see it working as a FPS would be if it was closer to DooM than to Call of Duty:
    - levels instead of realistic locations
    - difficult; levels to beat instead of a rollercoaster ride
    - NO CUTSCENES, nothing that interrupts the action flow
    - great pacing and level design
    - most weapons are not hitscan, most enemies are not hitscan either

  26. RProxyOnly says:

    This game was awesome, one of the few I played multiple times on my old Amiga.. looking forwards to it. I would really have liked to see some gameplay. :(

    I have an overwhelming urge to play it again… well I’m of to the emulation zone.

    EDIT…Lol.. yep the memories, I’m still as shit at it as was back then.. great game though. Remember to play the Amiga version it’s a rocking sound track and the other versions have REALLY bad sound.

    *NODE ACTIVATED*

  27. Aysir says:

    I loved this game!! Absolutely brilliant back in the day – completed this solo and co-op countless numbers of times. The sequel was painfully crap and totally didn’t seem to understand the genius of the first :( I bet they’re going to screw this up.

  28. lfcpops says:

    I just spent ten minutes drunken registering for the site just so I could say…

    OMG!! OMG!!! OMG!!! woop!! wooop!!!

    I just went into the bedroom and did a little dance in front of my wife saying “The Chaos Engine!!” in a squeaky voice over and over while spinning in a circle.

    Excited?

    I’m a little moist…

  29. Morph says:

    I don’t think I ever actually played this, but I’m sure there was an advert for it in the back of some games magazine and I just stared at it salivating enough that I imagine it was amazing.

  30. neems says:

    It should still be a vertically scrolling shooter, only utilising 2.5d graphics.

  31. Cim says:

    As long as they keep the art style and music EXACTLY the same, I’ll be happy.

  32. Crossbit says:

    I have fond memories of the original… probably one of my most-played games on the Super Nintendo after Star Wing, Plok, and Mario Kart, and one of very few multiplayer games that wouldn’t end up in a shouting match with my older brother.

    It will certainly be interesting to see how this develops.

  33. Chubzdoomer says:

    The gaming industry is starting to look more like the movie industry as each week goes by. Remakes/reboots and sequels galore. I suppose indie developers and folks like Tim Schafer are among the few who have an ounce of originality in their veins.

    • daktaklakpak says:

      You forgot something that totally invalidates your point:

      The Chaos Engine!

      ’nuff said.

    • c-Row says:

      Most of us want to relive their golden past of the classics they loved as kids, or journey to a better future were manshoots don’t play the dominant role anymore and man discovered more colours that grey, brown and… wait, is there even a third colour?

    • sinister agent says:

      There’s far more justification for it in games, though. Firstly, compatibility and cross-platform issues that simple don’t exist in modern cinema – without remakes or heavy modification, many more games would simply vanish. It’s only in the last five or six years that the industry’s finally started to view its past with any kind of respect or concern for posterity.

      Secondly, technology has marched on to an enormous degree in 20 years. Put pretty much any modern game alongside any game from 1990 and the difference will be huge and immediately obvious. Put a modern film alongside one from 1990 and they could look pretty much identical, depending on the setting and budget.

  34. tossrStu says:

    https://twitter.com/ChaosEngineGame/status/348051897745285120

    Exciting news for anyone going to Rezzed this weekend…

  35. somnolentsurfer says:

    Presumably if they own the rights they should be free to put the original up on GOG? Always been a bit of a mystery to me that it has so few votes there…

    Although, given the amount of original art they seem to be using, I’m wondering if this is a straight HD remake, or something similar in the style of Speedball 2 for iOS.

  36. fuggles says:

    Straight hd with internet coop is all it needs, the original is a marvel with almost perfect game design – the silver key are too clever. Also, glad to see I’m not the only one who played as the gentleman, despite him having the worst special.

    MAP

    Finally, this better not have the scientist in it.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Seeing from the vine clip their twitter just posted, it does just seem to be a HD re-release.
      Of a game which is twenty years old.

    • sinister agent says:

      There wasn’t a scientist in it! He was the Preacher, damn it, and he has god on his side.

      He wasn’t as bad as that though – his speed was a lifesaver, and in two player his special powers could come in handy. Pair him up with the Gentleman for a good laugh. And then restart very soon afterwards because you’re both outgunned by the average wasp.

  37. thekelvingreen says:

    I am hoping — and it’s probably futile to do so given what they did to Syndicate — that this won’t be a first-person shooter.

  38. Cpt.Average says:

    HOLY SHIT I AM WAY TOO EXCITED ABOUT THIS. OMGFSRHAKJDHSUIHNFJFBIKISJBF

  39. sinister agent says:

    Oh man. I scrolled down the front page and saw that image and genuinely felt a surge of glee, of a kind I haven’t felt about any remakes of old games before. The Chaos Engine was so damn fun back in the day, and that music!

    Pity the sequel was fucking awful though. High hopes for this!

    They should have played a sample from the title music, though.

  40. Screwie says:

    On the one hand, I would be kind of happy if they re-used the same 2D graphics, or stuck with a hi-res version of such. My old Amiga never looked so pretty.

    On the other, I’m curious to see what they do with this. A 4-player online co-op would be quite something.

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