Click here to download Cryptic Passage!

AV Game Review
Game Demo Review


Publisher / Developer:
GT Interactive / Monolith

System Requirements:
Pentium 75 or faster, 16 MB RAM, VGA video card (SVGA recommended), 27 MB hard disk space (shareware), MS-DOS 6.2 or greater (or Windows 95).

DOWNLOAD the shareware of Blood!

r e v i e w  (revised)
by Brian

You've waited and waited, and now at long last your wait is over - Blood has arrived. You're probably all thinking that you play the hero in this game too. Well, protagonist is probably a better term for your character, a betrayed general who fought for a dark god known as, Tchernobog. Your god promised that you would stand by his side as one of his dark angels, one of those who would inherit the earth. Now you are cast down from the heavens, back to a mortal body. Your only thought is to seek out the others who were Chosen and to confront your god once more.

Blood was built using the now famous Build engine which, of course, constructed Duke Nukem 3D. So, how different is Blood from DN3D or Quake? Well, the gang at Monolith did a great job of building an original game without resorting to copying weapons or huge sections of the game interface. Blood contains 12 different weapons ranging from a rusty pitchfork to the insanely powerful Tesla cannon. In the shareware, your weapon options are a bit limited, but you still get to have fun with your trusty shotgun and a flare gun! I can't describe what it first looked like when I used the flare gun. You fire it at an enemy and the flare lodges in the creature's chest. Then the flare explodes and he catches on fire, running around and screaming as he burns to death! Creature death gets even better when ones head pops off the body with blood squirting out of the severed head and neck - you can even kick the head around like a ball! Also, unlike in DN3D and Quake where different weapons were really only there for some variety (some were more powerful than others but they all worked essentially the same), the weapons in Blood serve a purpose. For instance, if you try and kill a zombie with a shotgun, you're going to end up shooting it at least three times. However, if you use the flare gun, it's a gory kill every time! On that same token, other monsters are able to shrug off a flare gun attack but have trouble with the tommy-gun.

Now, unlike DN3D and Quake where people complained about the lack of monster variation, there are over 18 different creatures in Blood to slay. These range from rats to zombies and hell hounds - with the "sentient" creatures being armed with some brutal weapons. The intelligent creatures just don't stand around either, they'll lay traps for you on occasion as well. Don't expect the same lame brained guys from other 3D action games here, unless you play on the easy level. There are also a wide variety of power-ups in Blood which include things like life seeds and magical armors. Each one provides special bonuses which will prove vital to your survival and look pretty cool to boot.

Case in point as to what makes Blood so much fun to play and so original. In one part of the game you're on a train. Now, in most games this doesn't happen and when it does, it's a bit faked. In Blood you can travel on the outside of the train and it looks good! You see the ground moving underneath you and fade away into the distance. Plus, if you're inside the train and you break a window, you can hear as if you were outside as the wind rushes past your ears!

Here's how it matched up with our criteria:

Graphics:4.5 Stars The graphics in Blood are just as good as those in it's Build engine counterpart, DN3D, if not better. You can play the game in either low-res VGA or SVGA in resolutions up to 800x600. The major difference between the two is the amount of pixilation you see in the game. I played the game at 800x600 and still saw frame rates of around 25 frames per second, so you shouldn't have any major trouble with speed. If you do have trouble, Monolith has made it possible to switch screen modes on the fly by hitting the F8 key - a great feature. The amount of detail in the game however is even more impressive. As I described above, heads pop off, bodies burn to death, and blood squirts everywhere. There is also scenic damage in the game, just like in DN3D - albeit a bit more accurate. Monolith has told us that the final version of Blood will also be equipped with support for 3Dfx and other 3D chipsets which should make the game even better.

Gameplay & Interface:5 Stars The gameplay and interface in Blood are a definite step above Duke Nukem 3D and equivalent to Quake. If you imagine Duke's interface on steroids, that's what you get with Blood. The game not only allows you to configure every key, but joysticks and gamepads as well. You can change your sound, music, gamma correction and even your controls - during the game! If you like being able to precision aim your weapons, Blood is equipped with a crosshair and mouse-aiming. If you don't like precision aiming, you can have the game do most of it for you. For those of you with younger children, the game is also equipped with a parental lock which keeps the gore down. Apart from this, the game plays the same as all 3D action games do which makes it feature packed but still very robust. The only major difference I found was that there isn't just one key to hit when you want to use one of your special items - many have their own. While you can customize these keys, it's all a lot to remember.

Sound FX:4.5 Stars The sound fx in Blood are quite good, the game still lost some points however because I still get some pops and crackles during the game. This problem seems to stem from playing the game within Windows 95, as when I played Blood in DOS much of the distortion disappeared. Apart from this, Blood comes about as close to the legendary sound fx of DOOM as any game I've played - I may even go so far as to say that Blood matches DOOM (but I'll have to play the final version of the game to render that verdict). You can hear sounds in the distance like you could in DOOM and most of them are 3-dimensional (which I noticed since I was wearing headphones). While you still cannot hear creatures lurking behind corners, all the other sounds in the game sounded perfect. The digitized speech is quite interesting to listen to as well, as your character likes to sing parts of musicals and has a knack for famous one liners. The creatures are quite talkative as well and in one part of the game you enter a cathedral. Throughout this entire structure you hear this dark, deep, daemonic voice chant a litany over and over. It will freak you out completely, I guarantee. Monolith plans to add much more to the sound in the final version so things can only get better.

Musical Score:4 Stars Music in Blood was also quite good. The music in the shareware version is done entirely in MIDI, but the final version of the game will feature a redbook audio score - with some of the music coming from Type O Negative! The music in the shareware is fast paced at times and takes on the ominous tones you would expect. It definitely blends nicely into the overall game and isn't so distracting that it keeps getting you annoyed or killed.

Intelligence & Difficulty:5 Stars Blood has 5 different levels of difficulty to it. On the average level of difficulty you face more monsters which are much stronger than the those on easier levels. Blood is definitely much more difficult and challenging than the original Duke Nukem or Quake and should keep the average gamer challenged for quite some time. Also, once you start playing in Bloodbath (multiplayer) things really get nuts! It's no holds barred and you can expect the adrenaline to start pumping non-stop!

Overall:4.5 Stars Blood is destined to become one of the next great cult hits of the Internet. The game provides all of the fun and excitement that you would expect, plus it enhances a game engine which was already impressive. What can I say? This game is a non-stop orgy of blood! The game more than lives up to it's name and is certainly the most fun I've had this year so far. So, is Blood better than DN3D? In my opinion it is, the game is just everything Duke was and more. Is Blood better than Quake? Well, I'll leave that for you to decide if only because I don't want to get hate mail from either side of the argument. However, if this is the kind of effort we can expect from Monolith then I think we're probably all going to have a lot of fun in the future with original action games - something that has been sorely missing lately.

Copyright © 1995-1997
The Adrenaline Vault. All rights reserved.

[ review criteria | system specs ]