Thursday, 23 April 2015

BLADE RUNNER


Blade Runner is perhaps the pinnacle of science-fiction movies and it's only right that a lovingly crafted game be made from a team that respects the source material. Thankfully Westwood Studio's 1997 attempt is a fantastically crafted adventure that's yearning for an modern update.

The game's story doesn't replicate the film's layered dystopian noir, but runs parallel with it. You are Ray McCoy, a rookie Blade Runner tasked with tracking down and retiring a load of replicants (artificially intelligent cyborg robots). Along the way you will visit locations and meet characters from the film as you shadow Harrison Ford's replicant cop Dekkard during the same time-frame. Some characters will comment on events from the movie, for example Rachel will be visibly irate when you ask her for a Void-Kampf test as Dekkard himself had examined her only moments ago. It's a great technique that brings you into a cohesive Blade Runner world than a straight re-telling ever could.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away as it is an experience that all players should discover for themselves. Not only does it takes you to different places than the neon original, but it's different every time you play. When you begin a new game, the replicants are assigned to random characters. In one play-through, one of the characters will be outed as a non-human, while in another you may not meet them at all. This will lead to up to 15 different endings which can vary drastically.

The graphics are excellent and still hold today, barring a few low-res niggles. The backgrounds are pre-rendered with character models rendered using voxels, a type of 3D rendering that can get a lot of detail out of modest PCs. The downside to this is that they look very pixellated the larger they get which makes some screens show their age.

Throughout your adventure, you'll be able to make use of several pieces of equipment that were memorably featured in the move. As well as the aforementioned Void-Kampf machine, the Esper can scan 3D images and allow you to search details of that snapshot of time. Both of these are immensely satisfying and the geek in me can't help but let out a squeal of joy every time I use them.

It's very easy for me to be nostalgia blind to this game - it took up a lot of my time when it first came out and both it and the movie remain amongst my favourites in their formats - but I would be amiss if I didn't mentioned some of the negative, however minor. Let's begin with the randomised elements of the game. Upon release, many people didn't like the fact that they couldn't get the 'good' ending if the game didn't see fit for you to meet a certain person. I take this as a minor flaw as I quite enjoyed replaying the game like I enjoy re-watching a favourite movie. I don't feel like you have to meet every person or get the best ending every time - the Empire Strikes back was no less of a movie for ending on a downer.

The other flaw that critics liked to point out is the combat. While brief and serving only as a mild change of pace, there are some segments which play a little like a shooting gallery. You're cursor will turn red once you take out your gun and you can shoot in certain situations. It's pretty clunky and barebones, but it is sparingly used. It adequately suits its purpose for an adventure game.

All negatives can easily be put aside by the enourmous amount of things it does right. It is one of the best adventure games out there and can easily hold it's head up as the best movie adaptation ever to grace our gaming screens.


To download the game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber will run natively on modern systems. Manual and Soundtrack included. Tested on Windows 7 and Windows 10.

File Size: 1.01 Gb.  Install Size: 1.47 Gb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download


Blade Runner (the game) is © Westwood Studios
Blade Runner (the movie) is © Warner Bros
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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12 comments:

  1. It's come to my attention that the installer was faulty. I've updated the files so it should now be fixed. Let me know if any of you run into problems - Biff

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  2. Hello and thank you for your hard work. I wanted to ask, are you aware of a bug with game crashing when you place the cursor on a picture in esper (or whatever is that magnification computer called). I tried it at the police station and the apartment, crashes immediately.Cheers!

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  3. Hello Mihailo and thank you for your kind words. The fixed executables were downloaded from another site so the inner technical aspects of them I'm not sure of. I do remember having this problem when I first tried it on Windows 7, but it seems to happens sporadically on my system.

    If you're having continual problems, go into where you installed the game, you can run Blade.exe or BladeXP.exe. Blade.exe is the original executable that can with the game and BladeXP has been specifically designed for Windows XP. The original file may give you issues when using your gun. I've not tested this recently but I remember it happening with my original CDs a few years back. The XP file's frame rate can reduce at times, but I've heard that it is fully completable on Windows 7. I've not played it to the end this time round, but I got a fair way through with Blade7 (which is what the Run.exe is based on).

    I hope this helps. I believe these unofficial files are the best there are until an official re-release is commissioned which unfortunately looks unlikely.

    Biff

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    Replies
    1. The XP executable worked. I am using Windows 8.1 x64 but I ran it in XP SP3 compatibility mode. Thank you again!

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    2. I can confirm that this does work, thanks so much for uploading this Biff. I never managed to finish the game when I originally bought it; I didn't even know game walkthroughs existed then! It still stands up; shame they can't do the HD remake thing on it.

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    3. You're welcome, Jonathan. This is one of my faves games. The movie's in my top 10 too.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Hi there! I'm having an issue when I try to run the game... it's crashing right before the intro. I tried all the 3 executables on the folder (Blade, Blade7 and BladeXP) and it keeps crashing no matter which one I select. I'm using Windows 10, is there any way to avoid this? Thanks for your great work on all these abandoned games!

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    Replies
    1. Hello. This game should work on Windows 10, with BladeXP being the best option for most people. Did it install correctly? If it crashes right before the intro I suspect it's because it's not finding it. Check that the install size matches and if not try re-installing/re-downloading.

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  6. Sartini: I can't run any of the executables in Windows 10 either, and I've tried changing the compatibility on all of them. The install size of my folder is correct, so there is nothing wrong there. I think we just have to accept that Windows 10 is a hostile alien environment for many old games. We may have to give up on it, unless Biffman can do his clever trick of using DOSBox Daum running Windows 95 to run the original executable. I'm not clever enough to know how that works.

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  7. Weird. I get massive flickering on all moving characters and cutscenes on both versions, but I accidentally found that if I ALT-TAB out and go back in, the flickering disappears. Just a heads up for anyone else that runs into the same issue.

    Anyway, thank you so much for uploading this great game. I could never get it running before this version.

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    Replies
    1. Hello.

      Some of these older games that run natively (or with DxWnd) do have an odd quirk where the window is not selected when you run it. I don't know whether it's the game itself or Windows 10, but it's not enough of a deal for me to find out. You may have found the countrols were unresponsive before you Alt-Tabbed into it too. From what I recall I didn't experience flickering when I played it though it's good to know the solution is simple.

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