Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold
Dr. Pyrus Goldfire is one bad dude. He discovered a way to replicate gold, but instead of buying himself a tropical island (as most of us would) the man went full Dr. Evil, creating a space installation guarded by rows of hideous mutants. It’s up to you, as Blake Stone, to traverse sixty levels full of his monstrous creations to destroy the evil Goldfire.
Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold never made its way into the limelight because it was going head-to-head with id Software’s Doom. As one can easily tell from the screenshots, the game is more Wolfenstein than Doom in quality, although it does have a few gimmicks that still make it a passable early 90s action game.
Instead of mowing down Wolfie’s German soldiers and finding keys, you have to blast fiendish aliens… finding keys. Littered through the game are a handful of characters that you don’t actually want to shoot — “informants” who will hook you up with useful info. Enemy artificial intelligence is a step up from Wolfenstein, with baddies going for fallen ammo or retreating behind corners when low on health.
Level design is quite sterile because of the engine’s 90 degree wall limitation. As in Wolfenstein, everything looks blocky and simplistic, though rendered walls and ceilings do give the game a bit more visual flair. Blake Stone also features somewhat non-linear gameplay. You can hop into an elevator and go up and down floors whenever you want, as long as you have the proper keycard. As always, finding keys and flipping switches is paramount.
The enemies are a bit underwhelming. Despite the copious amounts of blood used in their death animations, the enemies – as the game at large – go for a cartoony style which you can either love or hate. Music is standard, jazzy SoundBlaster fare, and sound effects are satisfying – mow down a bad guy in the Star Institute and he’ll cry out “medic!” as he dies.
In all, if you fancy some simple Wolfenstein-ish action, then Blake Stone is a safe way to go. But as a shooter competing against Doom, the game fails on many levels.
System Requirements: 80286 CPU, 640 KB RAM, DOS