A Hype Over 3D Games

Aahhh! Blood. Now THAT is a proper name for a first-person shooter. And, man, does it live up to it. This is one disturbing and dark title, brought to you by none other than 3D Realms and Monolith. Blood was released in 1997, fresh off the success of Duke Nukem 3D. The developer of the game, 3D Realms, looked to repeat its success with another game based on Duke’s build engine, this time focusing on parodies of horror and slasher films. However, when it was nearing completion, 3D Realms sold the game to Monolith, and they finished the game off and released it that way. 3D Realms did this in order to focus on another game they were working on at the time, Shadow Warrior, which was also set to be released that same year. Soon after this, they started work on Duke Nukem Forever, and the rest is a very sad and unfortunate history.

Speaking of history, you may be wondering what time period or location Blood finds itself in. Well, feel free to speculate, because it never is specifically mentioned. In fact, the story itself is barely worth going into. But I’m going to anyway. You play as Caleb, who is a gunslinger in the American Wild West in the 1800s, and the ex-leader of the Cabal cult, worshippers of the forgotten god of Tchernobog. The cult becomes awesome, but for some reason their god smites them all. And then Caleb somehow rises from the grave Army of Darkness-style, blah, blah, blah. I don’t even know why there’s any kind of story at all, especially when every last bit of the game is a parody or ripoff of some movie or pop culture and the game never really contains many story elements that lead anywhere. You’ll occasionally get a little hint, but it’s really not that important.

All you need to know is you’re an evil undead guy with glowing red eyes, a trench coat and a thirst for blood. The gameplay is nearly identical to its forerunner, Duke Nukem 3D. The engine is a bit more advanced. Not as much as Shadow Warrior, but it does still use the 3D voxel objects instead of sprites for things like weapons. There are linear levels to navigate and shoot hundreds of enemies in, and find keys to get to the next level, with a boss fight in between episodes. Nothing amazing here. It’s very standard ’90s first-person shooter fare. But what is amazing is the level design, atmosphere, and the feel of the game itself. First thing’s first: you’re going to need a way to shed all of that blood, so there are plenty of deadly weapons at your disposal. You start off with a pitchfork that can gorge and decapitate enemies, then quickly move on to a flare gun that sets enemies on fire and blows them up in almost one shot. You can also get sticks of dynamite, a double-barreled shotgun straight from Evil Dead, a Tommy gun, napalm launcher, the shocking Tesla rifle, and even a voodoo doll. And flaming… skull thing. Almost all of the weapons have something very unique for the time: alternate fire modes.