Blood II: The Chosen
Blood was a good game - nay, a great game. The weapons were original and funny, the levels were challenging and rewarding, and the monsters were, for the most part, both ridiculously funny and, for the first time since Doom, scary.
But, technologically speaking, Blood looked pants. The 3D graphics were two years behind, and anyone who'd played Duke Nukem 3D was unlikely to be impressed. None of that matters now though, because Blood II is almost here and its technology is up there with the best of 'em.
Part of what makes the prospect of Blood II so enticing is the graphics engine. There may be a slew of first-person action games on the way, but there are really only a couple of engines to choose from: Quake Il's and Unreal's. SiN uses a modified Quake II engine. Both Klingon: Honour Guard and Duke Nukem 4Ever will use the Unreal engine. Blood II, on the other hand, uses the new LithTech engine, created by Monolith themselves to power their own games. And you know what? It ain't half bad.
We can have separate gun models in the hands of an enemy, says Jay Wilson, games designer and Level God at Monolith. You'll see muzzle flashes attached to guns, and flashes on other characters. We'll have realistic outdoor areas, with cloud shadows on the ground. LithTech stacks up very well against the best 3D engines out there.
The list goes on. Apart from native Direct3D support, we can expect to get our heads around spoddy terms like Cshape deformation'. This speaks for itself, and surely you can picture the possibilities: small nasty things turning into big nasty things after they've feasted on a nearby corpse.
Then there are the Chit locationsensitive' enemies. It now matters whether you shoot your enemy in the foot or between the eyes. You can take an arm off and they'll keep on coming. And then what about the ability to knock down walls and bum down wooden doors? Then there are dynamic death scenes, humiliation kills in multiplayer games, even realtime shadows. And, for once, weapons won't spin in the air; they'll lie on the ground. Don't expect to see items and ammo just lying there either, you'll have to scratch around.
Monolith may be relying on an old script, but they sure as hell have been working on the dialogue.
Our reluctant hero, Caleb, returns and this time he's brought a couple of chums along, giving you a choice of four characters, all with very different abilities.
Each character is defined by their attributes and special abilities," says Jay. Attributes define things like which weapons can be used, how fast the player can move and how much damage they can take. Each character also has a unique special ability suited to them. Attributes can be edited when the player chooses their character, but special abilities can't.
Of the four CChosen', Caleb can be regarded as the vanilla-flavoured character: he's tough, quick, and can handle most of the weapons in the game. Ophelia's the fastest, relying on stealth and unable to carry masses of armour or heavy weaponry. Gabriella is the heavy weapons dude - surely a first for a female character. Physically, she's the largest, can carry the weapons that make the loudest bang, and she moves like a hairy-arsed caterpillar on velcro. Finally we have Ishmael, the token Carchmage', who's reliant on dark magic and is as much use in a fist-fight as a Cadbury's Flake.
Course Of Leeches
We want the player to be surprised and frightened, says Jay when asked about the new creatures that inhabit Blood 2. We're trying to keep quite a bit about the creatures under wraps. (Readers may like to skip the next couple of paragraphs.)
What is known about the new atrocities is that there are two separate Cfactions'. One is the Cabal, comprised of cultists, fanatics and zealots, and the other is what Jay terms the freaky stuff'. They are a horde of creatures, ranging from intelligent parasites and the victims they create, to pack hunters with extremely acute senses. Every creature is designed with a complex personality and goals.
Most of the creatures are hostile, but for different reasons and in different ways. The Shikari, for example, is an insectile carnivore that hunts its prey, but once it finds food it will leave the player alone - unless they feel their food source is threatened, that is. The gremlins are small, timid scavengers who only attack when the odds are very much in their favour. The Cabal's fanatics are just that -fanatical. They will stop at nothing to kill you, and can even inject themselves with a combat drug via canisters on their back. Fanatics may also do suicide runs where they detonate bombs near you in order to take you and themselves out.
Of the 20 or so enemy creatures that infest Blood II, the bone leech is one to look out for. They're small, slimy and pretty pathetic... but they grow. Put a bone leech in contact with a human host and they'll reproduce and eventually turn them into an aoul drudge, a relatively slow, zombie-like creature whose aim is to find more human bodies to serve as hosts for more leeches. Any drudges that survive slowly evolve into drudge lords, and finally into drudge priests, the leeches eventually outgrowing the host and ending up looking like one of HR Giger's aliens wearing a human body like a kind of shell suit. Charming thought, isn't it? It's not all bad news though. Thankfully there will be over 30 weapons with which to mutilate the foe.
Every weapon from Blood, except the pitchfork, will make a literal or at least functional return, says Jay. The flare gun, voodoo doll, flamethrower, tesla cannon and napalm launcher are all in there. We've also added more conventional weapons, like the Beretta, a sub-machine gun and a sniper rifle; more magical weapons, like the Flayer; and more makeshift weapons, like the makeshift grenade launcher.
It's Unreal. Man'
Ask the developers whether they want their game to be the next Quake 2 and they'll probably bark back that they would be content with it being the next Blood. In this genre, it's a case of the more the merrier.
A lot of people say that there are too many 3D shooters coming out, but I disagree, says Jay. Six months passed between Quake II and Unreal, and that isn't uncommon. Compared to other genres, very few 3D shooters come out in the average year, usually only about three or four. I love 3D action games, and I'm really looking forward to what's coming, especially Half-Life, which looks incredible, and Shogo. Yeah, I know we're making it, but that's how good it looks.
I think Blood II has a lot to offer that distinguishes it from other games on the market. The horror atmosphere alone is a big draw, but Blood II also offers other things: a highly interactive storyline with major characters and an identifiable villain; multiple playable characters; location-specific deaths and recoils; spectacularly over-the-top weapon effects; and lots of death and gore. Also, Blood II promises to have the same high-speed multiplayer game that Blood had.
The point is that it's unhelpful to just label a genre-specific game as a clone. A game is either good or bad or somewhere in between. Blood II, even now, is considered by many as an also-ran. But like the criticisms levelled at the first game, none of it will really matter. It's got a promising new engine, and I for one look forward to the unholy second coming. At the very least it's going to be a bloody good laugh (ahem).
Download Blood II: The Chosen
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
While We Patiently Await The Return of cigar-chewing '80s throwback Duke Nukem, another sequel is waiting in the wings, promising just as much schlock-horror action.
In many ways Monolith started a trend by developing a game around someone else's 3D engine. The original Blood was based on Epic's Duke Nukem 3D engine, just as every developer now clambers to use Unreal or id's Quake engine. For Blood II Monolith have completely changed strategy and, in an effort to stand out from the crowd, created their own 3D engine. The LithTech engine, as it is now known, is not only capable of generating pretty coloured lighting effects, but also promises to give you much more interaction with the in-game environment. Until now we've only been able to smash windows and small bits of furniture, and spray walls with bullet holes. With the LithTech engine, however, each element within the environment will be able to take on different properties. Walls can be assigned specific properties and constructed from tone or wood, and consequently they will 'react' differently: spray machine-gun fire across a room and every round will sound distinct as it ricochets into corners or embeds itself into wooden doors.
As well as working on the technicalities. Monolith have also updated the story behind Blood II, bringing in new characters to join Caleb in the fight against The Cabal.
It is now 2028. The Cabal has developed into a worldwide organisation whose sole aim is to bring about the next incarnation of Tchernobog. You choose one of the four characters and enter into a quest to stop The Cabal. Of course, being an undead rotting corpse you are purely selfdriven by revenge and hatred.
Many of the original weapons are destined to make a welcome return, including the infamous voodoo doll and flare gun. As for new weapons, Monolith are being very cagey about the details, but they have revealed that there'll be new enemies to blow limbs off, and 'dynamic death scenes'. All the usual deathmatch options will be catered for, along with some quirky new ideas, but again Monolith are yet to reveal exactly what thay have planned.
What characterised Blood was its unashamed references to the great schlock-horror films of the '70s and '80s - zombies, rats, mad monks and dismembered hands. In many ways Blood was the game equivalent of Evil Dead- darkly funny, cheap and with a whole lotta blood. The sequel promises to take everything a stage further, and with a brand new engine at their fingertips, maybe this time Monolith will finally get the credit they deserve.
Gamers who enjoyed the carnage in the first Blood game (see "PC GamePro," July '97) will be pleased to hear it looks like the series has lost none of its gory edge in Blood II: The Chosen. If anything, this sequel reaches new heights, with more weapons and enemies, bigger levels, a new graphics engine, and, of course, more blood.
Reign of Pain
Set in the future, Blood II lets you choose from one of four characters: Gabriella, Ishmael, Ophelia, and the original game's hero, Caleb. Blood vets will remember these four were banished at the start of the first game. However, the different characters promise to be more than a mere palette swap: each has adjustable characteristics (physical attributes, for instance) that affect how you will play the game.
The most striking difference between Blood II and its predecessor, though, is the graphics engine. Blood II uses a proprietary 3D engine--not unlike that of Unreal or Quake II--with some help from 3Dfx acceleration. Although the alpha version we previewed had bugs, the environments and enemies were highly detailed--and the light sourcing was the icing on the cake. Other options to be implemented are 30-plus one-player levels and eight multiplayer Bloodbath levels where you can take on up to 32 gamers.
With 30 tools of destruction, Blood II doesn't lack for weapons, either. Some, like the flare gun, the shotgun, and the voodoo doll, are holdovers from the previous game; new additions such as the sniper rifle and 9mm pistol round out the arsenal. Another improvement is the reactive computer A.I. For example, if you shoot an enemy in the leg, they'll hop and limp; if you hit someone in the arm, they'll clutch the wound.
At this stage of its development, Blood II looks like it could be the next big thing in the wake of big-name corridor shooters such as Quake II and Unreal. Blood never means having to say you're sorry.
Blood's back with brand-new graphics, more weapons, and four playable characters. But while most game sequels are bigger and better than their predecessors. Blood II: The Chosen only goes halfway. Aside from the improved graphics and new weapons, it was better the first time around.
The original Blood was a very fun and violent corridor shooter with tacky B-grade horror-movie sprite graphics similar to Doom's--but that was part of the game's allure. What Blood lacked in visual flair, it more than compensated for with intense action, screen-filling carnage, and wry humor:--it was the most fun you could have on a trip to hell.
Blood II is fun to play and keeps most of the elements of the first game. However, some of the freshness is gone: Turning zombies into hamburger with a shotgun isn't as exciting as it used to be, and some clever touches, like zombies chanting "more brains" as they ambled toward you, are sorely missing. Blood II also lacks the clever level design of the original game as most of the stages are fairly straightforward. And although you have a selection of four characters to choose from, you play the same adventure regardless of whom you pick.
Blood II isn't all minuses, though; it does have a few strong points. First and foremost is its new graphics engine: Blood II looks spectacular with its plethora of awesome lighting and special effects. The graphics are sharp and smooth, although when you move in close the polygonal characters grow bulky, souring the sweet eye-candy.
Blood II's new weapons are. also killer. The most enjoyable are the sniper rifle, which lets you pick off enemies from several yards away, and the flying sphere, which attaches to an enemy's head and drills into their skull (a la Phantasm). Yes, there's plenty of blood to spill--even more than in the first game.
The Last Drop
Despite its new graphics and game elements. Blood II pales a bit in comparison to the first tide. Most corridor-shooter fans will be pleased with the sequel, but bloodthirsty fans of the original may be disappointed. Spilling Blood is still a thrill, but it was more fun the first time.
- Be careful around big appliances as some of them explode if you shoot them.
- Clkk on your night-vision goggles to spot approaching critters whenever you hear a squishing sound.
- It's cruel, but eliminate innocent bystanders whenever possible; they lust get in the way.
- Use the laser gun with caution. Its beams can ricochet off walls and bounce back at you.
- The double-barreled shotgun Is a true proximity weapon-the closer you are to your target when you fire, the more damage It does.
Blood IIs visuals are excellent, courtesy of the brand-new graphics engine. The environments are well-rendered, but some of the enemies and monsters suffer from blocky-polygon syndrome.
The voices are intelligible and dean, but some of the various screams and other sounds of carnage are muted. The music is so low-key you'll hardly notice it.
Moving your character is simple enough, and maintaining your various item inventories is also a breeze. The only control problems are imprecise shooting and some faulty collision detection.
No doubt about it. Blood II is really fun to play. However, fens of Blood will ultimately be disappointed with The Chosen. It delivers gore and cool new visuals, but it can't top the original.
Blood II: The Chosen begins in the year 2028, 100 years after the original events in Blood. Caleb, Blood’s undead anti-hero, has walked the earth this entire time, mostly minding his own business, trying to get through day-to-day life, and going on the occasional mindless rampage when the mood strikes him.
The Cabal, the cult dedicated to the worship of the Dark God Tchernobog (Caleb’s nemesis in Blood), has changed drastically over the years. No longer content to remain a disjointed army of fanatics, they have organized a corporation to front their activities. Cabalco, as it is called, has grown to hold global interests in every major economic market. The Cabal’s operations extend throughout this entire corporation, even to the point of recruiting its members from Cabalco employees. Some join willingly, some not so willingly. They are everywhere, and they consider Caleb to be The Great Betrayer, the individual that destroyed the 16th incarnation of Tchernobog. The Cabal has dedicated itself to stopping Caleb. Gideon, the current leader of the Cabal, referred to by his followers as "The Word," has been raised from childhood to lead, and views the conflict between himself and Caleb as being very personal.
Unfortunately for Caleb, there is more to him than just being a pissed-off dealer of death and destruction. He is a living conduit of the power of every individual he’s killed, including the Cabal’s Dark God. Gideon and his Cabal will not rest until they restore Tchernobog. To achieve their goals, they will hound Caleb to the ends of the Earth, destroy entire dimensions and bring the world to its knees.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The gameplay in Blood II is fast and bloody. (I know, I know, bad use of words.) If you have ever played a 3D shooter before, you should have no trouble picking up the controls in Blood II.
The levels are kind of small (as in Shogo) so they don’t take long to get through. I like how the enemies are spaced in the game; there are not too many of them in a room and most of the time they don’t throw too many stronger ones at you at the same time. One thing that can be frustrating, though, is when you clear a room and then come back to it and someone has "appeared" there from out of the blue.
I will have to admit that I was not a really big fan of the first Blood game. I did play it for a while and it was enjoyable, but I leaned toward Duke Nukem. I do remember a few things about the first one that I was happy to see make it into the second game. I think the flare gun is by far the funniest weapon of the game. I guess watching someone get a flare shot into them and then walking around screaming is kind of warped, but I thought it was humorous. I also appreciated GT Interactive keeping in the chance to play soccer with your enemies' heads. I LOVE IT! Sick humor in a game is so hard to find nowadays.
The graphics for Blood II are pretty close to anything else on the market right now. Blood II uses the Lithtech game engine and it seems as though they didn’t have to tweak it much. As many of you already know, Shogo uses the Lithtech game engine as well. While Blood II looks better than Shogo, in my opinion, I found the storyline in Blood II wasn’t as good.
My favorite level has got to be the Cathedral. It is a level with a church in it and some of the graphics for it are quite beautiful. I was impressed when the lightning struck outside and there was a reflection on the ground from the stained glass windows. It is simply stunning. I don’t believe I have seen anything like it in any other game yet.
The audio in the game is just plain creepy. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the annoying background talk. Most people won’t know what I am talking about, but if you have the game you will understand. There is a voice that mocks you every once in a while, and it can be downright irritating. I think the biggest problem I had with this voice is the fact that I couldn’t track the guy down and take out my frustrations on his skull. Oh well.
Pentium 166 MHz, 32 MB RAM, minimum 175 MB hard drive space (475 MB for a full install), 4X CD-ROM drive, sound card, DirectX 6.0, and Windows 95 or 98
The documentation gives you the basics. It gives brief descriptions of some of the enemies and the weapons you might find in the game. It also has the standard installation instructions.
This game is not for little kids. I had to play it after my son went to bed because he kept trying to torture his little sister after watching me play. The only bad thing about having a game this violent is that I had to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to play. (Don’t tell my boss; he thinks I had the flu for a week.)
Blood II is a game definitely worth looking at. The first game turned into an instant cult classic, and I believe this one will have the same kind of following. The first one had some things about it that made you play it and say, "Wow, that was cool. I have never seen anything like that before." This installment will have you sitting back and saying the same thing. The only thing that might hurt this game is the influx of 3D shooters on the market right now. My advice to you is to go out and get this game before everyone finishes Half-Life; otherwise it will disappear.