Developer: Sunstorm Interactive
Publisher: WizardWorks Software
Released: June 30, 1997
Genre: First Person Shooter
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
UPC/A7: 7 42725 60381 3
ESRB Rating: M (animated violence)
"Traveling by boat through the Carpathian Mountains to recover an ancient scroll that was taken from you, a storm rages, depositing your boat on an ancient shore. You must act quickly, as this ancient scroll is capable of upsetting the balance of power in the otherworld. Malevolent forces have detoured your journey, the same forces which were responsible for taking what was rightfully yours. You proceed to find the ones responsible for stealing your property, and disrupting your journey."--From the Cryptic Passage README.TXT
Cryptic Passage (originally titled Passage to Transylvania) is the first of two expansion packs for Blood. Unlike the Plasma Pak, the expansion was developed by the third party Sunstorm Interactive and published by WizardWorks Software, therefore it does not contain any bug fixes or new features. However, it does contain a new episode containing ten single-player maps, and four new BloodBath maps.
See Also: Cryptic Passage Development
Caleb travels to the Carpathian mountains after he hears of an ancient scroll taken from him. This scroll is said to be capable of upsetting the balance in the otherworld, but Caleb finds himself detoured by the forces of Tchernobog and the Cabal. He must find the scroll and take out everyone responsible for interrupting his journey.
Despite not being developed by its rights holders, Cryptic Passage is still considered part of the offical Blood canon, though none of its story elements show up in subsequent games. It is set sometime shortly after Blood (with hints like the opera house showing it to be in the 1930s). It also makes reference to a portal to the "otherworld", a story thread that intersects with the main plot of Blood II: The Chosen.
Although Cryptic Passage is commonly regarded as the fifth single player episode for Blood, the episode 5 slot of the main game's INI file is already taken up by its BloodBath maps, before being followed where applicable by an episode 6 containing the new episode from the Plasma Pak. Cryptic Passage however is stored within its own independent INI file, with the single-player portion as episode 1 and the pack's new BloodBath maps as an episode 2 under the title "Cryptic BloodBath". These distinctions have lead to some trouble when packaging all the official releases of the game together, as well as for players launching them. This is further exacerbated by the expansion's modified art files, which can be utilized using the following batch file:
@echo off ren tiles007.art bart007.ar_ ren tiles015.art bart015.ar_ ren cpart07.ar_ tiles007.art ren cpart15.ar_ tiles015.art blood -ini cryptic.ini ren tiles007.art cpart07.ar_ ren tiles015.art cpart15.ar_ ren bart007.ar_ tiles007.art ren bart015.ar_ tiles015.art
BloodGDX can auto-detect the presence of the expansion and adds it into the game menu. NBlood auto-detects all INI files within its program menu, with a special entry for Cryptic Passage that handles the alternative art files. It is included within the same executable as the rest in the official Blood: Fresh Supply.
On July 15, 1998 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. The One Unit: Whole Blood name also became revived when Blood became available from GOG.com and other digital distribution services, along with its expansion packs.
New Episode: Cryptic Passage
Episode 5: Cryptic Passage
Caleb arrives at some docks (CP01: Boat Docks), which opens onto a large cave, a cabin and a lighthouse. Everything is overrun by the Cabal, and Caleb must fight his way through to a city (CP02: Old Opera House), where he enters a large opera house, which apparently is showing the "The Phantasm of the Opera". Without losing any time, Caleb goes out into a back alley and finds a library located in the midst of a forest (CP03: Gothic Library). He escapes the minions of the Cabal after recovering all the keys required to access the Lost Monastery (CP04: Lost Monastery). Once home to the "Holy Order of Carpathia", strange rituals are taking place, and Caleb ends them swiftly with his own brand of justice. The Carpathian Queen, a passing steamboat, provides escape (CP05: Steamboat), but since the Cabal owns the ship, and uses it to ship its own brand of cargo, it proves less than a gentle ride. Caleb grounds the ship and finds himself in a graveyard (CP06: Graveyard) whose relatively empty surface hides some crowded underground catacombs. If Caleb finds the proper entrance, he can reach a gloomy swamp (CPSL: Boggy Creek), where it is said Death itself drives a boat searching for unwary travelers and lost souls. Otherwise, Caleb enters a secret crypt leading to the mountains proper (CP07: Mountain Pass), where large gorges, sheer cliffs and ghosts are at every turn. Caleb moves through the mountains and into a mine (CP08: Abysmal Mine), a dark place infested with Cabal. However, it provides access to the hidden castle where an ancient path to the "otherworld" lies (CP09: Castle). Caleb ascends the stairs, and finds the antechamber of the scroll, as well as its guardian, the Lord of All Nightmares, which proves to be two Cerberi. Caleb defeats them, and then claims that which is rightfully his.
New Multiplayer Maps
The Old School Retro Reviews blog gave the add-on a strong four out of five, praising its excellent map design, fair bundles of ammo and health supplies, and the extra BloodBath maps. The main criticism was towards the glitches.
See also: Credits for Blood
- Project Producer: Anthony Campiti
- Project Director: Robert Travis
- Project Coordination: Charlie Wiederhold
- Programmer: Charlie Wiederhold
- Artwork: Michael Beaulieu, Paul Jury, David Manuel, Shawn Swift
- Lead Level Design: Robert Travis
- Level Design: Michael Beaulieu, Bill Buchalter, Jeff Cleveland, Tyler Larson, Shawn Swift, Charlie Wiederhold
- Cryptic Passage: Official Website
- Cryptic Passage teaser download
- Cryptic Passage page by ex-Sunstorm employee Charlie Wiederhold
- Cryptic Passage review from The Adrenaline Vault (July 21, 1997)
- Cryptic Passage review from GameSpot (August 12, 1997)
- Mini Review: “Blood – Cryptic Passage” - PekoeBlaze (May 21, 2015)
- Retro Review: Blood - Cryptic Passage (PC) - Retro Collect (June 24, 2015)
- Blood (Monolith, 1997) Expansions: Plasma Pack (Sunstorm Interactive, 1997), and Cryptic Passage (Monolith, 1997) - November 25, 2013
- Cryptic Passage on Wikipedia