PC Zone Issue 22 – January 1995

This week’s PC Zone scan is a bumper one and also the last one I own from 1995. I’m getting into the early issues before I subscribed now and I’m missing a good number from here on out. The issues I need are 4,10,13,16,18,23,26 & 54. If you have one of these and want to help preserve a slice of British gaming history, please let me know.

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As for this issue, there are stacks of great games previewed/reviewed including Discworld, Descent & Warcraft. There are also a load of guilty pleasure FMV games, including an advert for The Last Dynasty which is so cheesy that I absolutely have to seek out a copy now. You can as ever download the PDF from http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone

PC Zone Issue 27 – June 1995

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It’s back to the PC Zone scans again with issue 27 from June 1995. The highlight this month is Full Throttle but the cover review is Star Trek A Final Unity which is yet another one of those games I’ve been meaning to play ever since it first came out but still haven’t got around to. One of these days…

At any rate, the magazine is as ever in with the rest that are scanned so far at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone/. I don’t have the cover disk for this one but I have gone back and added missing CD’s for a couple of the other issues.

Blood – Magazine Reviews

Time to see what the UK press thought of Blood. I’ve dug up three reviews that are largely in line with my own opinions for once. This first review from the August 97 PC Format is a bit too harsh if you ask me:-

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The PC Zone issue of the same month is a lot fairer:-

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And finally a brief review from the October 1997 PC Zone

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Blood – Part 2

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For part 2, I swapped over to Windows which fixed the missing cutscenes but broke the music instead. Looking at them by modern standards the 3D models are hilariously awful but they do move the story along at the end of every episode.

In hindsight, I should have patched my copy to a newer version and I could then have had 3dfx support but it ran smooth enough at 640×480 so it’s not a huge loss.

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Each episode of Blood takes place in a different setting which is an unexpected twist. Part 2 is in the frozen north and often has a haunted house atmosphere to the indoor locations. The enemies are mostly the same as in the shareware release but there are new additions for the registered version with sharkman things that are crazily fast underwater but not quite so nasty on land and a specter which fades in and out of existence only being vulnerable when attacking. There are new weapons in the shape of a tesla gun (which seems slightly out of place) and a hairspray/lighter combination to set enemies on fire.

These additions on their own don’t add too much but I did find I wasn’t scrabbling about for ammo or reloading anywhere near as often in these registered levels. I expect that was largely due to me becoming better at the game. I eventually started to learn techniques to deal with these enemies. For instance, the flying demons can be pushed back and stunned if you use the alternative fire on the shotgun. Four quick blasts like this and they are dealt with easily. The extra handful of powerful weapons also make life a little easier.

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There is a new boss at the end of each section with part 2 having a giant spider that spawns lots of little spiders, and part 3 having a fire-breathing two-headed Cerberus to deal with. Neither of these are massively challenging but you do get to see them as regular enemies in later levels so it’s just as well.

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The third episode has you travelling through Paris, it’s sewers, then through factories and dams.

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The fourth level has a further wide-spread of levels including cult laboratories, lava filled mines, the insides of some creature and ultimately leading into a battle with the dark god himself (once you complete a boss rush of the first 3 episode ending baddies).

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The final battle isn’t massively climactic or original. It’s just another big boss to shoot at and again the first level boss was harder (at least at the time).

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Once victorious, someone approaches citing the Lord’s Prayer after seeing the demon vanquished only for Caleb to nonchalantly gun him down and presumably stroll off into the expansion packs which I don’t own.

So how does Blood hold up 20 years down the line? Surprisingly well actually. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed myself with this game. It’s not particularly long lasting, I got though the last 3 episodes in one lazy Saturday morning but it’s certainly at least on a par with the likes of Final Doom in the brevity stakes. What Blood has over Doom, is way more variety in the levels and weapons, the more capable Build engine coming in handy here. Above all else, I don’t know it inside out already.

I know this is regarded as a cult classic but I’m slightly struggling with that as it seems too derivative to me. By the time Blood came out it was competing with the likes of Jedi Knight and I can’t see that as a contest. Perhaps now, when the technology/graphics are less of a factor it’s a closer thing. There are plenty of inventive levels here and I do like the horror theme. The initial difficulty is a little off-putting but persevere and you should still have a great time with Blood. Don’t expect anything ground breaking but if you enjoy DOS FPS games, it’s definitely up there with the best of them.

PC Zone Issues 31 & 28 – October and July 1995

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You get two more PC Zone’s for the collection this week to make up for the fact that I won’t have chance to do one next week. Loads of classic games are covered including Command & Conquer, Jagged Alliance, Fade To Black and Mechwarrior 2. I’ve seen Fade to Black panned repeatedly in recent years as the unworthy sequel to Flashback but it was actually well received at the time. I’ve also uploaded the cover CD for issue 29 which had been missing before. They are all in the usual place at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone