Simultaneously alluring and repugnant, Blood delivers what it promises.
Blood is a typical Build-powered shooter with a gory twist to the action. While not being the first ever horror-themed FPS in existence, Blood does get dubious praise for being more dark and visceral than anything before it. Zombies, demons, religious fanatics and other nasty things are out to get you in this dark, tattered, maggoty, festering computer game.
Even though Blood can be gross as hell, it’s not the least bit off-putting because of it. In fact, its bleak atmosphere and numerous horror-film references scattered throughout the game make it a joy to play. Picture walking through a moonlit Crystal Lake and finding Jason’s iconic ski mask in his rickety cabin. Or stumbling upon a frozen Jack Torrence in a snowy hedge maze. All of that is here, plus much more. With its quirky humor and macabre imagery, Blood has the strange quality of being both foul and alluring at the same time.
Playing the role of a resurrected gunslinger out for revenge, Blood successfully copies what made Duke Nukem 3D great and places the action in a sort of hellish version of the world, one ruled by dark gods, insane cultists, vicious demons and loinclothed loons who fling their arms in panic. Other than the poor loinclothed guys who always get caught in a crossfire, Blood throws in everything from pesky rats and spiders to giant stone gargoyles, with a great many drawn from famous works of horror.
Most common among them are axe-wielding George Romero-style Zombies and machingun-totting cultists that spout insane babble. The trigger-happy Cultists will cause the most trouble, as their lightning-quick reflexes and sharp aim make them awfully challenging to kill. Other enemies up for spillage is the Bloated Butcher, Phantasm (a spooky ghost with a scythe), Hell Hound and four different boss characters. Blood’s most novel enemy is the disembodied hand that chokes the life out of you. Pressing ‘Use’ repeatedly will force it off. You can even here the hand utter ‘I’ll swallow your soul‘ (Evil Dead).
The weapons used to kill these guys come in different sizes. The shotgun and Tommy Gun are available early on but are pretty basic compared to later guns. The Aerosol Can and Flare gun have the cool ability of lighting enemies up like a Christmas tree, offering a grim show to watch. Hurling bundles of TNT into packs of enemies and watching the mayhem is also fun as long as you keep your distance. One of the most powerful and slightly unbalanced weapon is the Incinerator (a.k.a. the Napalm Launcher), which hurls flammable projectiles at bad guys, almost always killing the poor suckers in an instant.
There’s not a whole lot of innovation here except for the almost negligible alternate firing modes. Each weapon has a secondary attack that delivers a heavier blow but costs more in terms of ammunition and accuracy. The double-barreled shotgun, for instance, can fire both barrels instead of just one, and the Tommy Gun can spray lead sideways for a fast horizontal sweep. The Aerosol Can fires continuously but can also be turned into a makeshift Molotov Cocktail and thrown into a busy crowd of zombies for a good undead roasting.
Out For Blood
Blood spans four long chapters that are sub-divided into a total of 34 levels. Map design is well done and the locations are varied, though equally gruesome – graveyards, morgues, sewers, saw-mills, dark temples, Frankenstein-inspired labs and a freakish carnival (you must visit this place!) to name a few. But central to level design are always the sinister locations themselves, to which the pop-culture references and jokes make a fine addition to people that actually get them. But despite their setting, levels are pretty average in terms of gameplay, as most Build games tend to be. Occasional simple key hunts and secret areas serve as minor distractions from the game’s central run ‘n’ gun play style, which is damn good fun.
System Requirements: Pentium 66 Mhz CPU, 16 MB RAM, MS-DOS 6.2
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