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Blood

Published By: Monolith
Reviewed By:
Eric Eckstein

 

"It doesn't get any better than this!"

-- Eric Eckstein, GamePen --

Summary:

"You carved your soul to shreds in service of a forgotten, terrible god, but all your loyalty bought you were false promises and betrayal. You were among the Chosen, Tchernobog's most esteemed generals, dark angels who were to stand by his side and inherit the earth. But that was not to be.

Cast down and once again a prisoner of mortal flesh, you must seek out the rest of the Chosen-Ishmael, Gabriel, and your beloved Ophelia. Only with your combined strength can you find your way back to the Hall of the Epiphany and
face Tchernobog again. Only then will you understand why he has forsaken you.

Your journey will not be an easy one, but one thing is certain. Blood will flow."

Whoa, heavy!

 

The Preview:

Blood is the latest 3D action game from Monolith Productions, at least the latest one in shareware form, and so far so good. Utilizing a refined version of Duke Nukem 3D's BUILD engine, Blood soaks us in macabre tongue-in-cheek action from start to finish.

As the above somewhat stumbles upon, the object of the game is to work your way through four episodes (only one for the shareware) and defeat the main boss, Tchernobog. You accomplish this by blowing away a lot of bad guys with a variety of heavy weaponry a la every other 3D action game. It doesn't get any better than this!

System Requirements:

Pentium: 75MHz
16MB RAM
40MB HD
(Distribution Media) 4X CD-ROM drive
100% Sound Blaster Compatible
VGA 256-color
Keyboard, Mouse, Gamepad, Advanced Input
DOS 6.2

Screen ShotActually, the above is a lie, it does get better. You see, Blood improves upon past 2D/3D engines by providing true rooms over rooms (as well as real bridges). There are new touches to just about every part of the game. The weapon system has both a primary and secondary firing option, where you can shoot the tommy gun regular or spray the room with twice the ammo. You can even throw dynamite for long distances by holding down the button longer, not to mention lighting the dynamite, holding it a while and then throw it as it nears detonation. For the shareware, there is also the requisite shotgun, a flare gun, a napalm launcher and your basic weapon, a pitchfork. As in Duke Nukem 3D, there is an inventory system where players can gather items and power-ups such as jump boots, reflective shots, and guns akimbo (which lets you use a shotgun, flare gun or Tommy gun in each hand!). Players also don different types of armor (body and fire) which block bullets and resist flares and dynamite respectively. There is also spirit armor to protect against spirtual attacks like the Voodoo Doll, but as it is not included in the shareware, it's useless.

Screen ShotI confess, I like a use button. I like opening my own doors. I like flipping switches and seeing what happens. That's why I like this style of 3D action, it gives the player something to do other than aim and fire. Blood's interactive environment is one of the game's best features. Vases and urns can be destroyed, walls can be blown up, and levers can be pulled to reveal secrets hidden within bookcases. The levels themselves are impressive, one of which takes place on a moving train, complete with whistling wind if you blow out a window. It's these touches that really add to the single-player experience. Blood is also horrificly funny, both in its gruesome displays of death (you can kick around the zombie heads like soccer balls) to the various film homages sprinkled throughout. Nothing cracks a smile faster than when upon entering a freak show you hear the constant chanting of "One of us.. one of us."

The monsters, while still 2D sprites compared to Quake's awesome 3D polygons, are for the most part refreshing. Gargoyles swoop down to claw at you and rats scurry out of dark corners to bite your toes all while crazed cultists lob dynamite and spray the room with tommy gun fury. It can be a little much at times, but that's why you carry the big guns. One interesting, and soon to be over-used, feature is shooting the flare gun into an enemy and watching him subsequently catch on fire, running about as he is engulfed in flames and dies. I'm sure BloodBaths will soon be full of smoldering bodies. Speaking of BloodBaths (the equivalent of Deathmatch for multiplayer), multiplayer is unfortunately limited to modem and network (up to 8). There is no internet support in the shareware, and little reason to think it will be included for the registered version. Screen ShotHowever, services like TEN and programs like Kali should help alleviate this problem. As with any brand new product in the '90s, there are a few bugs (which will inevitably be corrected in the release if not in patches prior to).

One bad bug I've encountered is the game booting me back to DOS when stone gargoyles come to life. As this doesn't hinder play until about the sixth level, there is still a lot of Blood to be spilled. The registered version will contain three more episodes, more weapons and power-ups, and of course more monsters. It should be available late Spring '97 but here's hoping the patch comes out soon as I just got the napalm launcher, and I have yet to REALLY put it to the test!

Monolith Productions says:

  • Sloped or slanted floors and ceilings, allowing levels to have interesting and realistic architecture.
  • True rooms above rooms and real bridges. (said that! - EE)
  • Moving sectors that can be made to rotate, incline, and move in numerous other ways, making for a dynamic, realistic, and often dangerous environment.
  • Multiple colors of light.
  • All sprites and game characters cast realtime shadows, adding to realism and anchoring enemies in the environment.
  • Head canting, clockwise and counterclockwise, a full 360 degrees.
  • The ability to look up and down by about 40 degrees each way.
  • Many X mode and SVGA resolutions supported.
  • The Mapedit level editor, a significantly enhanced version of Build, is extremely powerful and easy to use. It allows for fast editing in both 2D view mode and 3D mode.
  • The 3D editing mode allows level designers to see what they're creating in real-time—including lighting effects and z motion positions (i.e. you can open and close doors).
  • Parts of the environment can be destroyed or otherwise affected during gameplay.

Tips:

  • Try hitting "t" and the following: "Lara Croft". No, this does not unlock the Tomb Raider game hidden on your hard drive, but rather bestows upon you all the weapons and unlimitted ammo. Happy Hunting!
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Saturn Playstation N64

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