This cult open world bugfest from 2005 is making a comeback

A man sits at a desk in Boiling Point.
(Image credit: Deep Shadows)

Originally released in 2005, and developed by the Ukrainian studio Deep Shadows, Boiling Point: Road to Hell is an extremely buggy, flawed, and some would claim unforgettable open world FPS. It arrived at a time when open worlds were relatively uncommon and, well, kinda showed why: the game was absolutely overreaching in its goals, and pratfalled at nearly every turn. Now it's being re-released on both Steam and GOG.

Get a load of the Steam store description. "Upon finding out his daughter has been kidnapped in the pseudo-South American country of Realia, Saul Myers, a veteran of the French Foreign Legion, must head to Realia on a rescue mission." Saul Myers himself is a candidate for most forgettable protagonist ever, but that's of a piece with a cast that includes the likes of villain Don Esteban. To give an idea of the game's ambition, it takes place on a map that's 450 kilometres squared, with six factions scattered across it that you can align or oppose, a reputation system, wildlife, destructible scenery, and vehicles including tanks, helicopters, planes and boats.

If you're thinking "well this sounds like the best game ever" then you wouldn't be alone. Despite its manifold faults and endemic bugs, Boiling Point did find something of an audience when it originally released. PC Gamer's review awarded it a generous 61%, calling the game a "classic example of a small, scrappy, but wildly ambitious developer trying to build something on a scale that would make even a blockbuster studio’s eyes water. The result is a hilariously buggy open-world FPS that isn’t quite funny enough to justify playing it. The patch notes, however, are hilarious, including 'Police station cannot be destroyed by crossbow anymore.'"

Also memorable was PCG's stablemate Edge, which awarded the game one of its lowest-ever scores of [2] before magisterially noting that several months after launch many of the most notable bugs had been fixed: which removed what little fun there was. 

So this is not so much the return of a forgotten classic as one of those cult games where your mileage will depend very much on whether you genuinely love jank or just the idea of it. This is a game where a tank will get flipped by a stray branch, or a grenade will decide to just hang in the air for a while ignoring gravity, or indeed the enemies will all just freeze on the spot and wait for you to leisurely dole-out headshots.

Boiling Point: Road to Hell will release on Steam and GOG on November 14, and is being published by retro specialist Ziggurat (it was originally published by Atari). There's no price listed for the game, but suffice to say that, even if you're interested, it may be one to wait for a sale.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."