Blood

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Blood Screamshot
Blood

Developer: Monolith Productions

Publisher: GT Interactive

Designer: Nick Newhard

Engine: Build

Version: N/A

Released: June 20, 1997

Genre: First Person Shooter

Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer

Platforms: MS-DOS

UPC/A7: 42725 12263 5

ISBN-10: 1-56893-364-9

Media: CD-ROM(1)

Blood as rated by the ESRB

"Blood will immerse you in a world of horror unlike any you've experienced before. Brace yourself for a nightmarish battle against the bloodthirsty minions of an ancient, forgotten god bent on wiping humanity from the face of the earth."
--Blood Website

Box art

Blood (sometimes informally called Blood: Spill Some) is a PC first person shooter computer game developed by Monolith Productions and distributed by GT Interactive. It was released on the June 20, 1997, and became well-known for its copious amounts of gore and numerous stylistic and cultural references to literary and cinematic horror works. It was also the first Build engine game to feature voxels. The game falls in the first-person shooter category and has an arsenal of curious weapons, numerous enemies and liberal amounts of gore.

Contents

[edit] Details

"Blood is already revealing itself to be rich and multi-dimensional, and as every day brings it a little closer to fruition, we recognize new possibilities and add new details to create the most immersive, terrifying 3D game we can. Perhaps it's the horror aspect that we find so compelling--the challenge of uniting artwork, monster behavior (AI), weapons, sound, level design, and special effects into an experience that will both frighten and entertain players of all skill levels."
--Blood Website

Like most games of its time, the developers garnered attention for the game by releasing the first episode as shareware. The full retail version featured all four original episodes as well as expanded weapons, multiplayer mode, and bonus features like the music video for the Type O Negative song "Love You to Death". The extreme violence in the game prompted the release of a version which removed all adult content (most notably, bleeding).

Two different expansions, Cryptic Passage and the Plasma Pak, were released shortly after the game was produced, although only the Plasma Pak added new weapon modes and enemies. Later, a special edition collection titled One Unit: Whole Blood was released, which included the fully-patched full version of Blood, the Cryptic Passage expansion pack, the Plasma Pak expansion pack, and the Game Wizards interactive walkthrough/strategy guide. Blood II: The Chosen, the sequel to Blood, was released in 1998 and a year later had its own expansion pack.

After the source code of many game engines had been released by their respective owners, an intense fan campaign called for the release the source code of Blood (See: Blood Source Campaign). This failed, but due to the cult-like fan support and lack of support from the right holders of Blood, it has been the subject of many fan games, media, and recreations. The fan project Transfusion is attempting to recreate the Blood game on the Dark Places engine and HYPERTENSION is attempting something of a spiritual successor. Other games like Blood TC and The Flesh Game expand on the game's storyline and scope.

[edit] Technical Specs

Minimum CPU Required: Pentium
Minimum OS Required: DOS 4.0 to 6.22
Minimum RAM Required: 16 MB
Minimum CD-ROM Drive Speed Required: 2X
Video Modes Supported: VGA
Sound Devices Supported: Adlib, General MIDI, Gravis Ultrasound / ACE, Pro Audio Spectrum / Plus / 16, Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster AWE32
Input Devices Supported: Joystick (Analog), Keyboard, Mouse
Multiplayer Options: IPX, Modem, Null-modem cable
Number of Players (Offline): 1 (2 on serial connection)
Number of Players (Online): 8

[edit] Gameplay

A Blood Logo

"In order to prevail, the player must face the Cabal, an ancient secret society, and the terrible Dark God it serves--Tchernobog. Numerous challenges and puzzles will await players along the way, of course, and we are working on various special features that will add even greater dimension to gameplay."
--Blood Website

[edit] Single-Player

Rail yard
Blood has many bombs
As a first-person shooter, Blood is played through the perspective of the player-controlled character. Like Doom and Duke Nukem 3D, the player must navigate through the maze-like levels of each episode (set of levels), seeking keys or activating switches to enable progress, looking for the goal that ends the level. The player does this for several levels until the "boss" level is reached and the player must defeat a large opponent to end the episode. While the player travels through the level, he/she must avoid or destroy the different enemies that attempt to kill the player.

Blood is organized in four episodes, with each episode containing a total of 8-9 different maps which consist of 6-7 regular levels, one "boss" level, and one secret level. Level design is varied, as some locations seem to lead into each other, but others jump out at the player. Some locations draw inspiration from cities in the era, with such locations as civil buildings, museums, pubs, shopping centers. Others are generic temples or mines.

Many levels are centered around a particular location, like a mortuary, a train station, a carnival, a sewer, a hospital or a lumber mill, and each is designed to include elements typical of these places (e.g. a crematorium in the mortuary, attractions at the carnival). These often have a Victorian or Edwardian architectural style, especially seen in the "haunted house" levels. Other areas are meant to resemble maze-like temples or generic catacombs, and some are completely original, such as E4M7: In The Flesh, which resembles the inside of a body, including walls which bleed when shot.

Blood was noted for its challenging, but realistic level design, as well as the abundance of enemies and weapons. Modern 3-D, fully-textured models require more computing power load, so the sprite-based game play of Blood allowed large numbers of enemies and objects on the screen at once. Also, due to the limited A.I., hostiles had to appear in large numbers to pose a significant challenge to the player.

The player's progress is further complicated by different types of traps, including crushing blocks, explosive barrels, lava pits, precarious cliff-sides, jumping puzzles, and combination lock doors. Blood was also one of the first first person shooter games (along with Marathon, Strife and Dark Forces) to feature alternate firing modes for each weapon. Most guns in Blood have two completely different methods of dealing damage, compared to earlier games in which each weapon had only a single type of firing mode.

The teleporter, a common trope in first person shooter games like Quake, is rarely used in Blood, which has a less high-tech motif and adds to the realism and super natural feel. Blood also contained secrets - areas that are difficult to access or find and often contain bonuses, but added the new concept of "Super Secrets" - areas are nearly impossible to find or reach, but which merit large rewards.

Frozen Jack Torrance
Graphic violence is one of the central features of Blood. Enemies can be blown to pieces, with streams of blood and chunks of flesh raining down. Zombie heads can be shot off and then kicked around like soccer balls, spewing fountains of blood from the neck. If enemies are set on fire, they burst into flames and run around flailing their limbs. Innocents (non-combatants) appear in several levels and can be killed without compunction. Each of these instances comes accompanied with screams of terror and pain, making sound an integral part of the violent atmosphere. The levels are designed in the same spirit, with locations such as torture chambers, funeral homes, scientific laboratories, and hellish temples. Each location features walls splattered with blood, dismembered corpses, bodies in metal drums, and other grotesque situations.

In addition, Blood contains a large number of cultural references, particularly to horror movies and slasher films. Many elements are deliberately anachronistic, including weapons, pop culture, and other details. In particular, E2M4: The Overlooked Hotel, E4M4: Crystal Lake, and E4M9: Mall of the Dead are whole levels based on the movies The Shining, Friday the 13th, and Dawn of the Dead. For a complete list, see "References in Blood".

[edit] Multiplayer

Bloodbath
Blood is essentially a single player game, but features the ability to battle other players across a computer connection. The two game modes are cooperative, which allows two players to play through a single player game, and Deathmatch (known in the game as BloodBath). The goal of this mode is to kill the other players before the player himself is killed. Gameplay takes place on an specially designed level with power-up & weapon caches and strategic areas, or a single-player level. To end the level or match, a time limit or 'frag limit' had to be reached.

One of the unique features of Bloodbath was "The Voice", an audio commentator who announced an irreverent or trite phrase on each frag, humiliating the player. This added to the bloody style and competitive nature of the game, and punctuates the death of opponent's death. "The Voice" is credited to Jason Hall, who was CEO of Monolith Productions at the time of the Blood development. It should be noted that The Voice is indistinguishable from Tchernobog's voice.

Another feature was "Humiliation". If the player had his or her health drained to exactly zero, he or she would be rendered immobile, but not dead. To an outside observer, the player would be kneeling. This would allow anyone to complete a humiliating death, such as jumping on the head, or death by Pitchfork. The victim, however, had a chance to resurrect him/herself by repeatedly pressing the space bar.

Like most games in this era, Internet play was not well established. Therefore Blood options for connecting to other computers relied upon the standard modem, LAN (IPX protocol), or serial cable connections. Modem and serial cable connections only allowed two player games, while an IPX network connection could support up to 8 players.

[edit] Technology

Main article Build

Blood is powered by the Build engine created by Ken Silverman for 3D Realms. The Build engine renders its world on a two-dimensional grid using closed 2D shapes called "sectors" and simple flat objects called "sprites" to populate the world geometry with objects. It is generally considered to be a 2.5D engine, since the basic world geometry is two-dimensional with an added height component, as each sector may have a different ceiling and floor height, and the ceiling and floor may be angled along one line of the sector. However the final result is that the world looks three-dimensional due to the way the engine renders it.

The version of the Build engine used in Blood makes use of voxels for smaller object like weapons, ammo, power-ups, and decorations, such as the tombstones in the first level of E1M1: Cradle to Grave.

[edit] Story

Blood takes place in 1928. The game documentation does not specify a specific year, but the game's sequel Blood II: The Chosen takes place in 2028 and states that it has been one hundred years since the events in Blood. Although the backstory was not delineated within the game itself, the Monolith website and a "read me" text document presented the few facts known about the precursory events, such as Caleb's relationship with Ophelia.

The game's hero (or anti-hero) is a man named Caleb (voiced by Stephan Weyte), a merciless gunfighter born in Texas who serves a cult called "The Cabal" that worships the dark god Tchernobog (voiced by Monolith CEO Jason Hall, who was credited simply as "The Voice"). Caleb joined the cult after meeting Ophelia Price, a woman whose homestead was burned down by the Cabal, killing her husband and baby son. She blamed her spouse for their deaths, because he wanted to rescind his membership. Half-crazy and rambling, Caleb nursed her back to health. It is implied that she later became Caleb's lover, and introduced him to the cult. Together they rose to the highest ranks and became "The Chosen", the four most esteemed generals of Tchernobog's army (the other two being Ishmael and Gabriel).

Caleb is a sarcastic man with a strong bent towards sadism, taking pleasure in killing almost anything, whether it impedes his quest or not. He has a prominent sense of humor, often making quips while taking the lives of others, or commenting cynically on surrounding events. Though when he comes to the Hall of the Epiphany at the end of the game, he takes a more serious, determined tone.

[edit] Episodes

Welcome my servants, my slaves.
Cheogh grabs Ophelia
Cerberus toasts Ishmael
[Introduction Video on YouTube]

The story starts in the Hall of the Epiphany, where Tchernobog sits on his throne, as chanting occurs in the background. The four Chosen stand before him.

TCHERNOBOG: Welcome, my servants... my slaves.

A cultist shuffles into the room (some think he may be the Cabal leader, as Tchernobog seems to speak through him). He pulls back his hood, revealing a face devoid of eyes, sharp teeth, and an ugly, gnarled face.

CALEB: What is thy bidding, my master?

The cultist stretches up, as if by an unknown force. His eyes glow white, his jaw drops, and he grunts and groans, as if choking.

TCHERNOBOG: You have failed me. I disavow you all.

The other Chosen react incredulously.

CALEB: What the?

OPHELIA: What?

The cultist smiles sadistically, right before his flesh quickly decomposes and melts off his skeleton. Caleb looks right and sees Shial descend upon Gabriel and carry her up into the darkness. To his left, Ishmael has burst into flames and collapses as Cerberus and two Hell Hounds approach.

OPHELIA: What's happening?

Ophelia looks around, too stunned to move. Cheogh flies in from behind and grabs her. Caleb jumps for her, but it is too late, and he all he can do is watch Cheogh's glowing white eyes fade into the blackness.

TCHERNOBOG: I have taken your love. Now I will take your life.

Caleb looks around as darkness descends upon him. He begins falling into the void.

TCHERNOBOG: Consider my power... in a hollow grave.

[edit] Episode 1: The Way of All Flesh

Caleb rises from his grave in a tomb located in a graveyard of the "Morningside Mortuary" funeral home with the words: "I live... again" (E1M1: Cradle to Grave). He begins by searching for his love Ophelia, taken by the gargoyle Cheogh. Unfortunately, Tchernobog's followers are everywhere. Caleb moves to the train station behind the cemetery (E1M2: Wrong Side of the Tracks) and boards the "Phantom Express" (E1M3: Phantom Express). He kills all the Cabal on the train and releases the safety locks on the boiler, exploding the engine and derails the train. He emerges from the wreckage and finds he has arrived at a carnival (E1M4: Dark Carnival) with several Cabal-controlled attractions. Caleb finds a broken bridge and a pond. If he crosses the bridge, he finds a side path to a new ride under construction (E1M8: House of Horrors). Either way, an underwater cavern leads him to one of the Cabal strongholds, a deconsecrated cathedral, where the droning chant in the Cabal's language echoes throughout the grounds (E1M5: Hallowed Grounds). Cutting through swarms of Cabal loyalists and other creatures, Caleb gains entrance to The Great Temple (E1M6: The Great Temple), a place protected by numerous underwater tunnels, traps, and Cabal minions. Caleb finds a teleporter that leads him to a rotunda, which leads to Cheogh's temple (E1M7: Altar of Stone). Caleb finds Ophelia at the top of the altar, crucified on a slab. He screams in anguish, when the temple begins to rumble, and a wall collapses. Cheogh emerges and Caleb slays him. He takes Ophelia down and places her on a funeral pyre to cremate her body. Afterward, he approaches the body of Cheogh, points his shotgun at the creature's head, and pulls the trigger one last time.

[edit] Episode 2: Even Death May Die

Finished with Cheogh, Caleb travels to the arctic to look for Shial who has taken Gabriel. He starts on a small rowboat and runs into a large, wooden sailing ship partially frozen in an iceberg (E2M1: Shipwrecked). Unfortunately, the Cabal are swarming all over it, but Caleb uses the ship to open a path through the ice to a lumber mill (E2M2: The Lumber Mill) that the Cabal has transformed into a crude human remains processing factory. He then proceeds to a snow-covered maze of hedges (E2M3: Rest for the Wicked) leading to the Overlooked Hotel (E2M4: The Overlooked Hotel). Within the hotel are a set of tomes, which Caleb can use to open the door to a mountainous area filled with Cabal loyalists (E2M9: Thin Ice). He then moves to a two-story haunted mansion (E2M5: The Haunting) with a kitchen, gardens, a library, a cellar and even an indoor pool. It is the pool that hides the passage to an abandoned mining facility (E2M6: The Cold Rush). Caleb navigates the mine and delves deeper into the treacherous tunnels (E2M7: Bowels of the Earth) until he arrives at the lair of Shial (E2M8: The Lair of Shial), deep under the Earth's surface. Within a small stony cavern, he finds Ishmael wrapped in a cocoon, along with the mother spider herself. Caleb kills her and her children, destroying her body with a well-placed boot stomp. He walks up to Gabriel, pulls her heart out of the cocoon, and drinks the heart blood in order to gain power.

[edit] Episode 3: A Farewell to Arms

With two of Tchernobog's lieutenants killed, Caleb has one left - Cerberus - the beast responsible for the death of Ishmael. Caleb travels to a small town in France (E3M1: Ghost Town) and occupies a small tenement. Few still live in the place, aside from the Cabal and its minions. No sooner does Caleb arrive (E3M2: The Siege) then he finds himself in the midst of airborne carpet bombings. This may be the result of Cabal, capitalizing on the war-torn city after the First World War. Finding access keys in the bank, a meat processing plant, and city hall, Caleb finds access to the sewers to reach the other side of the city (E3M3: Raw Sewage). He emerges in front of a hospital seized by the Cabal (E3M4: The Sick Ward).; The interior contains patient rooms, a morgue, and an "assisted" suicide room. If Caleb finds a secret access in the chapel, he can travel through the catacombs (E3M8: Catacombs). Once out of either the hospital or the catacombs, Caleb moves into a dam control installation (E3M5: Spare Parts) located close to Cerberus' cavern. Caleb overrides the dam controls and blows it up. The resulting flooding reveals the way to a lava-filled cavern under the Earth (E3M6: Monster Bait). Once in Cerberus' base (E3M7: The Pit of Cerberus), Hell Hounds guard several seals which Caleb breaks, allowing access to Cerberus' inner sanctum. The two-headed beast attacks, but proves to be no match for Caleb. After the beast dies, he fills its stomach with remote detonators and blows it up raining him in blood. Caleb says to Cerberus: "Rest in Pieces.", for the murder of his friend Ishmael.

[edit] Episode 4: Dead Reckoning

With the Chosen avenged, Caleb heads for the E4M8: The Hall of the Epiphany where the dark god is waiting. The first step is to cross a strange land with a dark laboratory (E4M1: Butchery Loves Company), possibly run by Cabal, and dive into an aquatic breeding laboratory (E4M2: Breeding Grounds). Traveling through the pipes, Caleb bursts out of a water cistern, and travels through a charnel house (E4M3: Charnel House) serving as a disposal site for dead creatures. Nearby there is a passage to a forest-rimmed lake with wood cabins (E4M4: Crystal Lake). The exit is reached through a toilet to a blocked off stone cavern. Here there are two paths Caleb can take. The less obvious way leads to a shopping mall where zombies and other Cabal have taken over (E4M9: Mall of the Dead). The other way leads to a lava filled cavern (E4M5: Fire and Brimstone) leading up to a mountain where a Cabal temple sits above the clouds (E4M6: The Ganglion Depths), guarded by some of the toughest creatures the Cabal has to offer. Caleb fights his way through the temple, until he uncovers an entryway made of stitched-together flesh that bleeds when hit (E4M7: In The Flesh). Caleb moves through the area, passing through the stomach and intestines to reach the heart, the final area leading to the Hall of the Epiphany (E4M8: The Hall of the Epiphany), an out worldly temple. Caleb stands at the steps of the hall and calls to his master, asking him why they were cast down. Tchernobog reveals that he condemned them so that Caleb would return, with every life he took adding to his strength Tchernobog wanted to use this to finally open the door between dimensions and inherit the Earth. Caleb ascends the stairs and defeats reincarnations of Cheogh, Shial and Cerberus before reaching the dark god himself. As Caleb activates the last pillar, Tchernobog's voice echoes, "I HAVE AWAITED YOU. KNEEL BEFORE ME", to which Caleb replies "I'm gonna have to put you down!" In a fierce battle, Caleb destroys the dark god and its body disappears in a flash of blue and white light. A man (either a Cabal prisoner, Cabalist, or civilian) approaches, praising him and spouting the Lord's prayer. Nonchalantly, Caleb blasts him in the chest with the Tommy Gun and leaves the Hall.

[edit] Multiplayer Maps

These are the multiplayer maps (Bloodbath) that were included with the retail version of Blood. Expansion packs added other maps.

[edit] Expansion Packs

  • Cryptic Passage - This expansion pack was released in 1997, and was developed by Sunstorm Interactive, a video game development company known for value-priced game modifications. Since it was not created by the original creators, there were no modifications to the existing gameplay, just the inclusion of a new single-player episode. However, the single-player included larger maps and a small storyline of Caleb hunting down a stolen scroll that was rightfully his.
  • Plasma Pak - This expansion pack was released in 1997, and was developed by Monolith Productions. It contains several modifications, including new enemies, new weapons modes, new BloodBath maps, and a new single-player episode. There is no explicitly stated storyline, but from various clues, Caleb is hunting down a group of Cabal being trained to become the new Chosen. It also includes several bug fixes.
Level Packs Box Art
  • There were two commercial level pack compilations released for Blood in the fashion of D!Zone. Red Hot was released in 1997 by UK Action, and it also contained maps for Outlaws and a fellow Build Engine game: Redneck Rampage. The other was part of a larger series, and titled simply Level Pack 6: Additions for Blood. Released by by PMR International in 1997, it contained over 140 "new and extra" levels for the game, as well as cheats, desktop themes, system "blood" font, sound and video files, ripping tools and the game shareware - all accessible from a "user-friendly Windows '95 menu system". An example of one of the maps can be found here. Neither appear to have ever been sanctioned by Monolith Productions.

[edit] Mods

Main Article: List of Mods

Due to the high fan demand for more Blood content, especially after Monolith stopped working on the series, many mod projects sprung up. The goal of most of these is to replicate or expand on the original Blood experience. This also includes a large collection of fan art and fan fiction. Interestingly, the amount of quality, completed Blood mods increased dramatically after the game's tenth anniversary with efforts such as Rage Against the Machine (2007), Bloody Pulp Fiction (2009) and Death Wish (2011) reaching further than earlier attempted large scale projects such as BloodLines from the game's younger days.

[edit] Development

Zombie Concept Art

"Even several months before the expected shareware release of Blood, we are amazed at how much this game has evolved from the project we first imagined. When we submitted our initial game design proposal to Apogee in 1994, we had no idea that the talented team of programmers, designers, and artists we'd put together would create a game that surpassed our wildest hopes."
--Blood Website

Development screamshot

QStudios, under Apogee, started development of Blood under the title "Horror3D". It later sold the rights to Monolith Productions.

Blood started with the Blood Alpha, a beta demo which contains several differences from the released game, including Caleb as a robed fanatic.

The shareware version also contained several differences, such as delirium mushrooms, a different theme, and the ability to view yourself in third person.

Some concept art pieces from Blood by Kevin Kilstrom can be found: here, and photos and notes on the creation of the models that served as the basis for the game's sprites can be found here!

Videos of development versions of Blood from 1996 can be found here!

[edit] Bloodlust

Beast transformation sprites

"One of the innovations we conceived early on was the idea of BloodLust. Each time you as the player kill a minion of the Dark God, your BloodLust meter climbs a notch. If your BloodLust climbs high enough, you metamorphose into the Beast. As the Beast, you are stronger and faster than a human, but you are also limited in your choice of weaponry. There's a compromise between raw physical strength and tactical flexibility. Of course, BloodLust wanes with time--if you don't kill frequently, you revert to human form. That way, methodical players can generally progress through the levels without ever taking Beast form, while "kill and collect" types can romp around as Beasts all they want."
--Blood Website

While under QStudios, one of the undeveloped features of Blood was that of Bloodlust. With each enemy killed, a Bloodlust meter would increase, until it reached capacity. At that point, Caleb would transform into the Beast, with increased strength and speed, but less choice in weaponry. In order to maintain this mode, the player would have to continue killing, or risk reverting to human form. Although this feature was not included in the final version, the central plot line still centralizes around this idea, as Tchernobog declares his reason for condemning Caleb was that he would return with the power of all the lives he took. The sprites for this are still included in the game files.

Another dropped feature was the ability to play as the other Chosen, which was included in the sequel. Likely, each player would have transformed into a different creature, which likely became Tchernobog's lieutenants. The credits for Blood can be found: here.

[edit] Source Ports

WinBlood
XL Engine

Despite the best efforts of fans, most notably the Blood Source Campaign, the source code to Blood has never been released. This has lead to projects like Transfusion, ZBlood and others which attempt to re-create the game or game's style on alternate engines. The Build engine code has been released, as has the code to the similar games Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior. Based on this, a few source port projects have been attempted. Blood 32, last updated in 2009 and also known as WinBlood, attempted to port the game assets to the Build engine port hosted on icculus.org; releasing a few screamshots. OpenBlud, last updated in 2010, alternated this by attempting to create a basis with the Shadow Warrior code. Finally, the XL Engine, a reversed engineered port of the Jedi Engine used in Star Wars: Dark Forces and Outlaws, is also attempting Blood support and is currently under heavy development.

[edit] Release and Critical Reception

Third-party shareware disc

"With the overwhelming success of the Duke Nukem' 3D shareware release and anticipation already building for 3D Realms' upcoming Shadow Warrior, we have some understandably high expectations to live up to. At this point, we are confident that Blood will surpass those expectations by leaps and bounds, just as it has already surpassed our own."
--Blood Website

Blood received a metascore of 87 from MobyGames. Its highest rating (100) was given by The Adrenaline Vault while its lowest (80) came from GameSpot. Blood soon grew into a cult classic, especially among fans of other Build titles. The shareware received a very strong recommendation from the gaming show Video Masters upon initial release. Monolith Productions put up a selection of positive reviews of the game up on its website.

[edit] See Also

[edit] External Links


<< Blood Alpha | Cryptic Passage >>
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