There was some news today that the Duke Nukem games had been taken off GOG.com due to rights issues. The Duke Nukem series and the Wolfenstein games are probably two of the company’s most famous titles and big names in FPS history. There was another excellent, arguably underrated FPS game released by 3D Realms however, this game was Blood.
Blood got it’s shareware release on March 5th, 1997, with the full version being released on May 31st, 1997 in North America, and June 20, 1997 in Europe. It was developed by 3D Realms and Monolith. You may know Monolith more recently for bringing us Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and the F.E.A.R. games. Blood is a little less well known and I personally feel like it was overshadowed by the release of Shadow Warrior, which also launched that year.
The game is set in 1928 and follows the story of the protagonist Caleb. Caleb is an old western gunslinger who is resurrected to take revenge on the cult of the Cabal whom he was once the supreme commander of, as well as Tchernobog, the evil god the cult served. Caleb and his lover rose through the ranks of the Cabal together, but were betrayed and killed by Tchernobog for failure’s in his name. When Caleb rises from the dead he sets out with red eyes, trenchcoat, wide brimmed hat and a resolve to seek vengeance and reveal the truth about his demise.
The game serves as a parody to the Horror genre and is littered dark humour. There is some excellent voice acting by Stephan Weyte, who plays Caleb. Maniacal laughter, random singing, one liners and plenty of sarcasm are abundant so despite the eerie backdrop and the occult tone of the game there is plenty to make you smile. Even if Caleb tends to enjoy killing everyone he sees. Enjoy a whole 24 minutes of Caleb awesomeness in the video below coupled with gameplay. When you think about it this was a huge amount of dialogue for the protagonist of an FPS game.
Gameplay is recognisable from the likes of Duke Nukem or Doom but really expanded well on them. Caleb starts out with a pitchfork, which was loads of fun, but later he gets his hands on Flare Pistols, Sawed-Off Shotguns, Tommy Guns, Dynamite Bundles, Napalm Launchers, Tesla Cannons, Life Leeches, and Voodoo Dolls and even an aerosol canister that you could use as a flamethrower. It was also one of the first games to feature secondary attacks for weapons. Some weapons could also be dual wielded.
Level design was fantastic. The areas were interesting and creative with you starting out on a moving train called the “Phantom Express” and then a creepy carnival where you could even play some of the games and attractions. One of these was a haunted house attraction which served as the level’s secret area and would take you to a Cabal stronghold. Later on some of the levels have recognisable elements from certain films and take you into icy mazes, haunted hotels and shopping malls full of zombies. You can spot Freddie Kruger’s sweater, Jason’s hockey mask and a mad scientist lab a la Frankenstein, There are also some quotes from movies you might pick up on too. The zombies encountered couldn’t just be gunned down either, you actually had to blow up or decapitate the zombies to kill them.
All said, Blood is probably my favourite retro shooter of all time. It takes its place above DOOM or Duke Nukem 3D which is a big statement to make. If you’re looking for a retro shooter to try your hand at I fully recommend you give this one a go. It should put a smile on your sadistic, blood lustful face.