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2010/12/27

Theory: Blood may have had more Influence than you Thought

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These three seemingly very different games might have more in common than once thought

To many, Duke Nukem 3D was the most popular build engine game ever made, even though there were several others out there from the mid to late 90’s. Blood was one of these build engine cousins of the Duke, and for the most part probably wasn’t played by as many people. It did establish what one would refer to as a cult following though.

I was one of those types who only got around to dabbling in the rest of the build “big four” years after they were released. Not that it wasn’t fun playing catch-up. I love the era of sprites in games from the 90’s, when it was then cutting-edge technology, or at least dated but still awesome towards the later half of the decade.

But I was playing through Blood again recently, a couple of years since my first playthrough, and I came to some rather shocking conclusions. Blood may have been more influential on later games than even I thought.

Two games come to mind when I play through the game. First off, there’s another forgotten title from that decade named Nocturne. I’ve played both, and I see some mighty large similarities between the two. In both, you have a sinister protagonist clad in a trench coat and hat, armed to the teeth, who hunts demons, zombies, and the like. Let’s also not forget the train level (third mission of the first episode) in Blood, and how a similar mission took place in Nocturne (first section of the second chapter).

Both games at one point also featured delving deep into crypts and the underground as well, and both took place in Western themed universes, at about the same time (Blood’s 1928 versus Nocturne’s 1928 – 1935).

The second game I think of when I play Blood is System Shock II. Granted, the two don’t have a lot in common. Blood is a bare bones, all out FPS, while System Shock II is a classic hybrid title, featuring FPS and RPG gameplay. But one level in Blood certainly did remind me SS2, which came out more than two years later – and that was the “inside the body” level. You remember in System Shock II you had the creepy level called “Body of the Many”, which took place in a disgusting setting which looked like the stomach or digestive tract of a huge creature?

Blood did that. Blood had a level near the end of the fourth episode, called “In The Flesh”, which also saw Caleb enter inside what looked to be the same sort of environment. There were also bodies of water, except not toxic like in SS2, as well as teeth, but not as lethal as SS2, but not any less scary.

Yeah, Blood may well have taken inspiration from other games and even movies, but I think that in Blood’s case, it possibly inspired at least the two above-mentioned games too. I mean when you think back, Blood was one of the first games to have alternate fire modes with weapons, much like Marathon and Dark Forces before it.

Not many people would have played games like Nocturne or even Blood, and so probably won’t care much about all this, but still… I guess the point is that there’s always a game that did it first before it became cool and people gushed about it.


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