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Review RPG Codex Review: BloodNet (1993)

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Crooked Bee, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Tags: BloodNet; Microprose

    BloodNet is a 1993 adventure/RPG hybrid that has been recently re-released on GOG. In this review, community member Satan in the Suburbs attemps to find out if the game is worth your hard-earned $5.99.

    According to him, the answer is a no:

    Most characters are completely one dimensional: instead of complex personalities with more than one flavor, more than one outlook, most characters have one personality-tick that's driven into the ground. The exceptions are the characters who are so bland that there's nothing to comment on. There are also some references to real people in-game (ex. Kafka, Nietzsche, Orwell, Sterling), but these references are little more than name-drops. Some of them don't connect with the game at all, as if the writers are just trying to impress you.

    Any writer worth the title knows that character development is what makes characters have life. In this area, BloodNet falls completely on its face. There is absolutely no character development to be found in BloodNet. Every character is exactly the same at the beginning of the game as they are in the end. Any obstacle in BloodNet exists solely for the sake of gameplay, as opposed to an obstacle that, when overcome, changes a character's outlook. Each character arc is completely flat.

    [...] The combat system is by far the weakest aspect of the game, and it's a shame since there are many mandatory fights. The interface is clunky and unintuitive, time consuming when you have to give orders to every party member and stop combat with the escape button, and ultimately just not fun. There is no tutorial for anything, so you'll have to read the manual (which includes false information) to understand exactly what to do. Combat is turn-based, and it comes in two types: descriptive and quick. Quick combat lets the computer make decisions for you, which will invariably lead to the death of your entire party and force you to reload the game. Descriptive combat is where you make the decisions. In this mode, however, combat can become rocket tag, if you know the trick. Most enemies can die in one or two hits, provided that they're not wearing an armor type that absorbs the specific type of damage you're dealing, that you're targeting their chests, and that you're using the right weapon. There are a multitude of weapons in the game, but the one that you'll probably use the most throughout the game is one that's in your inventory at the very beginning: the sawed-off shotgun. One hit to the chest is all it takes for most enemies to die. You can target an enemy's limbs, but there's never any reason to do so.

    [...] BloodNet is not a good game by any stretch of the imagination. It's likely to give you a major headache with all its faults, forcing you to give up on it midway through when you've triggered one of the many ways to render the game unwinnable. While the cyberpunk aspect of BloodNet is executed well, the vampire aspect of the game seems to be tacked on as little more than a gameplay quirk. However, if you're willing to look past all of its failings, you may find something to like. BloodNet is a game with some good ideas, but with an absolutely terrible execution.​

    Read the review in full: RPG Codex Review: BloodNet
     
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  2. Doctor Sbaitso SO, TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS. Patron

    Doctor Sbaitso
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    Brave, masochistic souls.
     
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  3. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    ghostdog
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    I agree with most of the things mentioned in the review, except for the writing. The writing in Bloodnet is more about the setting itself and it does a great job imo. The characters are part of the setting and they fit nicely in it. Other than that, yeah, it's a game with some great ideas and terrible execution. One of those obscure games with glimpses of brilliance, you can obsess about but not really enjoy. I've never actually managed to finish it. Still, it's one unique piece of software.
     
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  4. Yes. Arcane Patron

    Yes.
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    :bro:

    After several failed attempts, finishing the game is more time consuming than challenging since you know where to go and who to talk to in what order.

    I kind of wish BloodNet would get a reboot as a shadowrun returns module.
     
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  5. aratuk Arbiter

    aratuk
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    This game is still up on at least one abandonware site, as I imagine are many games that suddenly appear on GOG when some weird little holding company acquires the rights. The company that has apparently scavenged the rights to old Microprose games that have been showing up on GOG is called Tommo, and they are also responsible for the continued manufacture of the NeoGeo (!), "NBA-licensed casino quality poker chips," and "Sega Genesis Bluetooth Speakers."
     
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  6. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

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    I think there is at least one optional route in this game. Talking to the 'templars' didn't do anything on my game but i think it might be possible to ally with them from the hints given. Then again, maybe it's another biker gang situation (in the game, if you piss off the biker gang enough your 'reward' is infinite random encounters with them, which to be fair, are the best source of xp and money).
    I also think there is something going on with the church priests. Maybe a optional npc party member i never found how to get.
     
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  7. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    They also have the rights to Accolade's games, it seems: http://www.gog.com/game/deadlock_planetary_conquest?pp=cb4e5208b4cd87268b208e49452ed6e89a68e0b8

    All silently acquired from Atari's bankruptcy sale.
     
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  8. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    Yeah I got the same feeling from the priests. Maybe it's just things that were never implemented though.
     
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  9. kaizoku Arcane

    kaizoku
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    Good memories.

    The first time I played it I was young and didn't knew much english, but I loved the cyberpunk setting. It was the first thing I saw like it.
    Obviously I died.

    The second time, several years latter, I could enjoy it more since I could master english by then, but still died :)


    Will have to give it another go some other day.
     
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  10. Grotesque ±¼ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Patron

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  11. Yes. Arcane Patron

    Yes.
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    This is one of those times where I wish I had the ability to brofist. Thank you very much for sharing that! Interesting that BloodNet is referenced in Ripper, I had no idea. I knew it was referenced in Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller, which was made by the same people and released just one year later.

    We have most of the bloodnet avatars, but I found the rare bloodnet demo online that you have two images of, and I found that there's two portraits that exist only in the demo. I'll make them into avatars and post them in the avatar thread.
     
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  12. Grotesque ±¼ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Patron

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    the credits for the archive go to Pjerooo from the Bloodnet GOG forum, Request for the Bloodnet package! thread:

    "a long time ago, I screen-grabbed all the locations (including WELLs), along with all the characters that appear in the game and have a portrait, character sheets for all recruitable NPCs (even though there's randomness in the stats), 'death' screen etc.

    Resolution for char portraits is 44x54 - 256 colors gif.
    Resolution for location screens is 320x200 - 256 colors png."

    You can leave the guy a line to show your appreciation.

    He also posted a link with the Bloodnet demo for anyone interested.
     
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  13. Yes. Arcane Patron

    Yes.
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    Who's to blame? I'm not sure we'll ever know, but we can point to the fact that the same team that made BloodNet (1993) also made Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller (1994) and Bureau 13 (1994). They were probably stretched thin and put under many time constraints.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
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  14. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    The ones we currently have are really low-res/blurry/jpeg though, so ideally they should be replaced too. The ones in that archive Grotesque posted are original-res pngs. At first glance they seem to be 44x54 so that means either resizing them with lanczos to x96 or first upscaling them with nearest neighbor to 200% and then downscaling a bit with lanczos to x96 (depending on which option will look better), and then adding transparent background.
     
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  15. Yes. Arcane Patron

    Yes.
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    Did you forget that I went through and recaptured the avatars? There was that whole ordeal in the avatar thread about the portraits being in the wrong aspect ratio, and everybody said to keep them that way regardless.

    ghostdog's avatar:

    [​IMG]

    my version (currently in the bloodnet gallery):

    [​IMG]

    new version I made in a minute:

    [​IMG]

    and this is the avatar in the correct aspect ratio:

    [​IMG]

    everyone said that looked too squished
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
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  16. Yes. Arcane Patron

    Yes.
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    I've never played Hell the entire way through, but it's kind of like a more linear bloodnet without as much of a cyberpunkish feel. They had some things in common like Jury-Rigging, EMP grenades, Decking, etc. It's okay from what I remember, just not as good of a setting as bloodnet. Someone who says they worked on the game said this about it:

    Maybe I'll LP Hell for the codex one day. Bureau 13 was laughably bad.
     
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  17. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Too bad Lawrence Schick works for Zenimax. I would have wanted to try to interview him about this. Maybe there's still a chance? Or we could try to hunt down one of the others.
     
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  18. Yes. Arcane Patron

    Yes.
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    I'd try John Antinori, Laura Kampo, or Mark E. Seremet. They worked on all three games, John and Lauara wrote all the dialogue in BloodNet if the game's files (john.tf, lauara.tf) can be trusted. John isn't in the gaming industry anymore, not sure about the others.

    There are a lot of items that got cut from bloodnet, like the wireless deck and other cybernetic limbs to attach to a party member. I always thought that was weird, since how hard could it have possibly been to get them working?
     
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  19. Percy Augur

    Percy
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    Never completed it, but if I recall correctly it was the first time I played a game where having a different party member resulted in negative reactions (in Nimrod).

    A remake would be more than welcome IMO.
     
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  20. Yes. Arcane Patron

    Yes.
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    No problem. I stand by my statement that it should get some kind of remake. BloodNet has potential, I'm just not sure if anyone will bother to make it live up to it.
     
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