I have to confess I haven’t been especially looking forward to this game for some reason. You could even say I’ve been putting it off with the excuse that the remake I’m playing came out in 1994. I’m in the middle of 1993’s games at the moment but I thought it was high time I gave this a go.
This is a sequel of sorts to Times Of Lore in that it uses the same engine. I guess my problem is that while Times Of Lore wasn’t a bad game I wouldn’t exactly have rushed out to buy a sequel as by the time I’d finished it the simple gameplay and endless monsters had just about worn out their welcome. Bad Blood is technically another Chris Roberts game although I’m a little dubious as to how much involvement he will have had in it given that Wing Commander came out the same year as this.
At least this is a change from the usual fantasy, swords, sorcery, orcs and the like. This game takes place instead in a post apocalyptic world where just a few humans survive in isolated city while mutant cities have sprung up on the outside. The humans have enslaved some mutants to acts as slaves while others fight in games in the manner of gladiators.
The twist here is that you are actually playing as one of the mutants. At the end of the manual you have been summoned by your village leader to a meeting.
The intro sets the scene for the game. A war is coming between humans and mutants but you should really be working together. The leader needs to choose one of 3 warriors to go forth and bring the two sides together for the common good somehow. This is where I get to pick which character I’m going to play (just like in Times Of Lore).
There is a similar choice of characters. One is an obvious mutant but is the strongest, the woman will pass as human but if she lifts her eyepatch she blasts stuff with some sort of beam (ala Cyclops in X-Men). The final character is to all intents and purposes human with no special abilities. I remeber how much combat was in Times Of Lore so I choose the big green guy.
The first thing I notice when I start the game is the size of the screen. It is absolutely tiny. You would have thought Origin would have made this a bit larger for a remake. The bottle on the right with my water supply is effectively a health meter.
I wander around for a bit. This remake has a few advances on Time Of Lore. The VGA graphics are an improvment (although nothing too special). All the sound effects are done on PC speaker and the game really feels like a bit of a relic after playing Privateer yet this remake came out a year later. I guess its being faithful to the original version at least but I should have played it with the 1990 games.
The engine really hasn’t changed much at all from times of lore. It has the same basic conversation with key characters. I can go around collecting anything that isn’t nailed down. As soon as I get out of the towns monsters are all over the place and certain types drop certain goodies. Playing this is very much a case of deja vu. I can at least carry more than one of each item this time which should help no end.
I get my first quest of the game which is to seek out the Oracle. This gives me a new coversation option so I go around asking everyone about Oracles.
I get pointed in the direction of the shaman of another village. There is a map in the manual so I head off for Nivvik.
One nice touch is that the backdrop changes according to the time of day.
In Nivvik I find out that the shaman has been abducted.
A bit more questioning later I find out vaguely where to look for him to the south.
I walk around for a long time looking for this captured shaman. Strange things happen when you get to the edge of the world here but I still haven’t found him.
The shaman is in a hut to the north of worlds end. He is being guarded by snake mutants who sell other mutants to the humans in return for being left alone. I kill his guards and ask him about the Oracle and he tells me to look right back in the North of the map near his village.
On the way back I find a human town with huge stone walls. They don’t take too kindly to me and won’t let me in so I leave quickly for now.
These shelled creatures almost always drop a fresh heart when I kill them. If I then use this heart my water gets fully restored so I make a point of killing every one I see. There are a lot more weapons in this game than I remember in Times Of Lore. I’m mainly just using a whip but there are shotguns, uzis, bow and arrows and all sorts of stuff. The whip seems to work well and I’m never short of hearts now I know how to get them so its pretty easy going so far.
I don’t manage to get across the lake and go all the way back to free the captured Oracle (again) and this time ask him about the lake and he tells me to ask the fisherman for a bote.
I get the boat for just a bit of food which I’ve plenty of.
The boat is actually a little dinghy which I paddle across the lake in.
A lot of wandering around caverns later I find a likely looking cave.
Sure enough the oracle is inside.
In typical fashion he is completely unhelpful and sends me to the opposite corner of the world to fetch him an apple.
The apple is in Zero city. This place is full of ruined tower blocks as well as monks in cowls who worship the “fruit of the ancients” which sounds like my apple.
The apple turns out to be an old Apple 2 computer. The moment I grab it the monks all turn on me so I use my usual cowardly tactic and run away. Pretty much all combat can be avoided in this game just like Times Of Lore. If anything its easier here than it was in that game.
The oracle accepts the apple and decides to be a bit more helpful.
He tells me I need to free a human being held in Okkarn who can supposedly help me out but I’ve no idea how.
I’ve only spent maybe an hour on this game but I’ve already seen about half the towns in it and walked across most of the map. I get the impression its not going to be a lengthy game. Despite my misgivings going into it, I’m quite enjoying it this far but its definitely nothing special.