|Blood Review by Fragmaster, planetquake.com on 1997|
|Yup. Yet another game based on Ken Silverman's BUILD engine. Like it or not, you got to rank Silverman up with the likes of Carmack. I mean, this guy had a Wolf3D clone out when he was 13 years old. As much as you might hate to admit it, BUILD is a much faster engine.
Of course, one could argue, the added speed of the BUILD engine is a result of BUILD being less complex than the Quake engine. While Quake is "true 3D", BUILD is pretty much 2 ½ D. However, the BUILD engine has grown up a little from it's Duke3D incarnation and now supports things like limited levels above levels among other things.
Witch brings us to the second in the Next-Generation of BUILD games: Blood. If you didn't know, this was originally one of 3Drealms "Big Four" (Ruins, Duke3D, Shadow Warrior, Blood. Ruins was canceled), it was sold to Monolith productions and removed off the 3Drealms web site about a month ago. 3Drealms didn't do the development (Qstudios did if memory serves me correctly), this didn't affect the 3Drealms team.
Following on the footsteps of Redneck Rampage, a very funny game in my opinion and one of the more popular games on my online service, Blood had some big footsteps to fill. This isn't even mentioning the even bigger footsteps of Quake.
The game begins in a coffin. You rise out of the ground and wheeze "I live again…" The music and the dismembered body parts and the eerie set the mood right off the bat. You step outside and see two graves. Then a weird looking zombie rises from the ground of the grave and steps toward you. I stab it with my pitchfork and it falls to the ground. Gee, that was tough. I start to examine the gravestones, trying to wonder if they're 3D Sprites or just textures (I'm a nerd ok?) when all of the sudden I get axed in the back. It seems old Zombie boy was just playing dead.
I haven't seen this in a game since ROTT (Rise of The Triad). I put him down for the count again…keep an eye on him and start to walk away when he gets up again. This time he screams a little louder before and his heart pops out. You can get the heart to increase your health, I haven't seen any "Health Boxes" laying around. A "Doctor's Bag" serves as a medikit, however. Also, this would be a good time to mention that the Death Animations are very bloody and "squirty". I go down the stairs into a graveyard. The iron gates clank as they open and I step into the main graveyard. There on the ground is a gun, rotating around. Sound familiar? This is the first BUILD game I've seen to have this feature.
The gun I pick up is called a flare gun. A zombie pops up out of the grave and I toast it. He falls over, the flare starts to smoke (The game also has translucent smoke) and BOOM! He bursts into flames and lunges towards me. Very cool. All that's left is some gibs and a head. I accidentally discover you can kick the head around! But while I was playing soccer, some monk with a gun fires off a few shots. I kill him and get his Sawed-Off shotgun and his key. Yeah, the monsters carry keys too you won't find this stuff laying around.
The key rotates also. I try a door to a crypt nearby but the guy growls "Grrr.. it's stuck!". This guy does talk, ALA Duke, but he's less annoying. Seems like he has more "sayings" too. The next part of the level is a funeral home, you can break stuff like vases, there's a pretty cool piano and a Laboratory. There's also rats…annoying little buggers. The Laboratory has some cool things like dead bodies and weird torture devices and an oven (Try going into the oven for a surprise).
Once you finish the level, you don't just jump someplace else. There's a type of continuity. For example, in the last room of the first level you can see some of the second level. When you get to the second level, you can go back to second to last room in the first.
Allright, now to the bad: The monsters aren't polygons, they're still sprites. They're pretty good for sprites but once you go poly, you can't go back. The levels aren't close to Quake's 3D-ism, but they're not too bad. Nothing dramatically new as far as basic gameplay goes. If you hated Duke3D, this probably won't change your mind.
The music is allright, the sound is pretty good, the levels are pretty well designed as is the art. It's a blast gibbing the bodies laying around and kicking heads like soccer balls. Very interactive. Pretty much anything can be damaged or destroyed. The weapons are what you would expect and even though the dynamite weapon was done in Redneck Rampage, I think it's works better with Blood. Check out level 4, it's awesome. The water sequences MIGHT just be better than Quake. What I REALLY like about level 4 was blowing up the mimes!
I hate mimes! It's standard procedure in my book to slap a mime if you see one, it's not like they can scream and they can't run 'cause they're in an invisible box. It's also cool when the "reaper" sics monsters on you 'cause you don't have a ticket for the carnival. The rat dogs on the grill are cool too. Look around there's a lot of little details and extras that make the game "different". Also cool is having to walk a tightrope to get a key….over a tank of snakes(!!!).
Overall, I think it's worth the download unless you're on a REALLY slow connection. It's about 17MB but just let it run overnight if that's a problem. Monolith put alot of work in this game and it shows. Hey, it's not Quake but what is? (I guess the answer to that would be Quake, but you know what I mean) It's different. And as any cholesteral clogged Arby's lover will tell you: "Different is Good"