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 movie. As well as the aforementioned Void-Kampf machine, the Esper can scan 3D images and allow you to search for details in 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 mention 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. Your 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 enormous 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.
As of 17th December 2019, Blade Runner is now available to buy on GOG.
Buy from GOG
Blade Runner (the game) is © Westwood Studios
Blade Runner (the movie) is © Warner Bros
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me
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 - BiffReplyDelete
Hey Biffman 101, first off, thank you so much for curating this awesome collection, including Blade Runner. I've had success downloading and playing some of the other games that were prepared for downloading with mega.nz, but every attempt to use 4shared has failed. The service seems to use a lot of dark patterns to try to trick users, and even after signing up for an account I still cannot get a real download to work. Every time its either a false download link or a download timer that never resolves. Any suggestions for getting 4shared to work?Delete
Hello. I've detailed the quirks of 4Shared in my FAQ but I believed it may have changed slightly since then. I suggest careful manipulation of AdBlocker to hide the fake links, and only click on the ones that look like the pics in the FAQ. I believe AdBocker now causes an issue with the timer so turn it off for that stage and refresh.Delete
It'll be mammoth task to move all of my downloads over, so I've only been doing it when a game has been recently updated.
Hello again. Bravo to you sir, for not only doing me a solid by switching this download to mega, but also managing to get Blade Runner to work in Win 10! You've got a tip coming your way. Enjoy a pint or two on me! Thanks againDelete
Thanks! I'm very grateful. I'm beginning to transfer a lot of my older installers too as 4shared is becoming an awful service. I'm going oldest first and it won't be complete for some time but you'll be glad to know I'm working on it.Delete
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!ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
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.
The XP executable worked. I am using Windows 8.1 x64 but I ran it in XP SP3 compatibility mode. Thank you again!Delete
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.Delete
You're welcome, Jonathan. This is one of my faves games. The movie's in my top 10 too.Delete
I'm playing the game on Win 10x64 Home with a HP 250 G5 laptop and as Mihailo Crkvenjakov commented the game crashes as soon as you use the Esper device. The problem seems to be with the Run.EXE. Changing to BladeXP.exe(no compatibility settings) solves this problem for me as well as fixing a bug in the shooting range where no targets appear under Run.EXE. I remember playing the game on my first PC around 1998 and tried some years ago to get the game working on Win 10 with mixed results (graphics). You Sir are doing the gaming community a great service making this fine game playable again on modern hardware.Delete
Thanks! The Run.exe is derived from the blade7.exe which seems to have the same issues on Windows 10. I kept bladeXP in version 2 for that reason. Have you tried the new Version 3 installer (from 2 days ago)? It uses a new patch recommended elsewhere in these comments that appears to be working fine.Delete
Sorry for the late reply I was eagerly playing the game and re-watching the movie hehe. Yesterday I tried the new v.3 installer with the following result: 'BLR has not been totally installed because of the following reason File corrupt or unreadable HDFRAMES.DATDelete
You will have to run this utility again to completely install BLR'
I was downloading the installer in zip format and as normal download with the same result.
Testing the zip version with 7zip gives the following error message: 'There are some date after the end of the payload data'
So I'll stick to the working v2 installer and BladeXP.exe for the time being. Cheers
Hmm, that type of corrupt data message usually means that the installer cannot find one of the .dat files. Just did a test here and the installer does complete. Don't know what's going on with the .zip. It's just the install files zipped up through a Mega algorhythm (I have nothing to do with that).Delete
Did it download correctly? I guess if v2 still works for you it doesn't really matter.
You were right. I foolishly assumed only Install-BLR_v3.exe needed to be downloaded. With BDR fully downloaded the install completes and the ESPER device bug is history. Alas the shooting range bug (no targets showing up) still remains if I start the game with the default Run.EXE. Switching to BLADE.EXE solves this issue.Delete
Sorry for pestering you but I love this game very much and want the game to run on Windows10x64 flawlessly so anyone can enjoy this masterpiece without problems. This now seems to be achieved with version 3.
No probs. It's one of my faves too.Delete
Version 3 works for me now! (Windows 10, x64, Dell laptop) I can use any EXE, and I can confirm that the ESPER device bug is history. However, unlike Randolph, I still have no targets in my practice shooting range. However, this little bug shouldn't matter, should it? Presumably the game is still completable, because I can shoot targets in the real world. Regrettably, I tested this by shooting dead an innocent homeless man.Delete
I'm glad I was browsing and accidentally noticed this update. I might have missed it. If there are major updates like this, perhaps they could be mentioned on the front page, for other users who would miss them. It's just a suggestion.
Whenever I do an update, I change the recommended link on the right. When there's enough of them to talk about I'll then write a separate post talking about them. Since my last one Dark Seed II and Ecstatica have also been updated.Delete
As for the shooting range bug, I'll have to investigate. I thought at the beginning of the game the targets are removed, but loading an old save proves otherwise. It could be a timing issue, so dxWnd could fix it.Delete
Well done. I can confirm that the shooting range bug is also history. Everything works flawlessly now. This is an amazing package, and I hope more people will find it.Delete
One hint to people: They should go to the Menu at the start and pick "User Choice" in the conversation options, so that they can see and choose the dialogue options.
Yes, definitely. Don't know why that's not the default option.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
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!ReplyDelete
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.Delete
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.ReplyDelete
It was the same for me and I managed to make it work with a patched EXE from a user on www.abandonware-forums.org. Direct link to the patch: https://www.abandonware-forums.org/filedata/fetch?id=772949Delete
It seems the game won't launch without a physical a virtual CD drive and this patch solved it
Hello. I'm gonna check this out when I have the time. I think it's due for an updateDelete
The Abandonware patch Noorz posted worked first try for me. Running Windows 10 64 bit. Thanks a bunch!Delete
Thanks, Noorz! I can confirm this patch, incorporated into version 3, allows the game to run now.Delete
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.ReplyDelete
Anyway, thank you so much for uploading this great game. I could never get it running before this version.
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.
Hi! I have an issue with the game. I downloaded it from here a few days ago, and it was running perfectly until yesterday. Now when I'm clicking on the shortcut, nothing happens. Any idea what the problem could be? I'm on Windows 10. Thanks!ReplyDelete
The first thing that comes to mind is your admin settings. Run as admin to see if that helps. Otherwise you can run the game by launching "(install dir)\DxWnd\dxwnd.exe" and running the game icon from there.Delete
You could always uninstall and reinstall if you're still having trouble. The save games you may want to back up are found in "(install dir)\DxWnd\BLADE\SAVE"
Hi Biffman 101 thank you for great effort on releases,there is a subtitle for BR at https://drive.google.com/file/d/18Br40tbK1pDTrhhE4XkCYRtLvhg8oCH6/viewReplyDelete
would be great if add your release.(The SUBTITLES.MIX file should be copied in the game’s installation folder,then be enabled from the game’s KIA menu and/or the ScummVM menu options)
Are you gonna change this up with a new installer now that ScummVM supports the game Biffman ?ReplyDelete
When it's proven to be fully tested, I just might. It's still in the testing phase so it may be good when the next stable release comes about. Even then, it might be a few releases before it's stable (I'm still waiting for UFOs/Gnap to stop crashing).Delete
windows 10 x64 Pro, 1903 build, game crashes at start, when I select anything, it pauses then goes back to desktop.ReplyDelete
Have already tried, patches & fixes, it runs but still crashes back to desktop at start of game. doesn't matter what patch, or fix i try.
This release is already pre-patched and uses DxWnd as a wraparound to fix some of the timing issues. Read the ChamberNotes in the install directory for more info. Run the game in (install dir)\dxwnd\run.batDelete
Any other points that may help (such as running as admin) can be found in the FAQ.
what seems to happen is when the cursor is moved, beyond the bottom part of the screen/game only, or up to it, the game will freeze for 2 seconds, then crash back to desktop.ReplyDelete
I've just tested it and this doesn't appear to be happening to me. The cursor should and does remain within the game window. Try running DxWnd/dxwnd.exe and play with the settings there (right click BLR icon - modify). Try selecting 'Fullscreen Only' on Main tab or 'Keep Cursor within window' on Input tab. You can click Try to test it before confirming the changes.Delete
To make the changes work with the shortcut and run.bat, right click BLR icon and select Export and override BLR.dxw
Make sure you back up BLR.dxw first!
Now that the newest version of ScuumVM is fully compatable with Bladerunner are there plans to change the installer to Use ScummVM instead of DXwind??ReplyDelete
As some point, perhaps. I'll have to play some more of it that way to see how stable it is. There are some game's here like UFOs that don't use ScummVM because that version crashes occasionally.Delete
Even though I own the GoG version, I'm not convinced it's good because it's a ScummVM port. I'll get to playing it eventually but I'm not optimistic, here's why:ReplyDelete
I recently played GoG's ScummVM version of Lure Of The Temptress and it had broken pathfinding, broken NPC interactions, broken interface and dialogues, desynchronized content, wrong strings - all of them not present in the original Lure Of The Temptress. I had to finally find the abandonware DOS version and run it in DOSBox (it didn't have these bugs but had other issues - an item disappearing because it's a "pirated" version and complicated sound setup to overcome in DOSBox). Once I fixed that as well I finally got the experience of the original Lure Of The Temptress. Thank God there were still abandonware sites.
This is not the first time when GoG doesn't choose or make the best "port" of a game. It's not necessarily their fault but one expects they at least have QA to catch this stuff and address it. I own almost 400 games on GoG but lately I started encountering problems with old games more and more where the patches and advices in abandonware sites are better than what's on GoG.
The problem though is that if I'm playing the game for the first time, I don't even know how it has to behave; that's why it took me so much time to figure out that Lure Of The Temptress is simply broken and couldn't have been shipped this way back in the 90s. I'm afraid of a similar thing happening with Blade Runner now.
I've payed the GOG game for a little bit and it seems OK. I keep meaning to give it another playthrough. The biggest compatibility issue I found when trying to get it to work was with some moments being tied to a computer's speed such as the issues detailed and a random crashing when using the Esper photo machine (see the above comments). ScummVM has these solved at least.Delete
Well, let's hope for the best. But because this is a type of adventure game where the NPCs can be different, react if they witness your actions, and even affect the ending, the chance of something going wrong is high, and testing all combinations is very hard.Delete
I really really hope it works as intended. Once the trust in ScummVM was broken it will take a lot to have it back.
Thank you for supporting this wonderful site! We need libraries / museums for the masterpieces of the past.
I just played Leisure Suite Larry 1 on GoG (which of course uses ScummVM).Delete
It turned out you can steal things and walk out of the shop, and the shopkeeper doesn't shoot you like he does in the original DOS version. I compared both. I didn't want to dig any further. That was enough.
This tells you everything you need to know about the reliability of ScummVM. After having seen a bunch of other games (Space Quest, Lure Of The Temptress I mentioned above, etc.)... I cannot have faith that you will have the authentic experience.
They just fail the edge cases of more complicated adventure games. Any adventure game that's not made by LucasArts, that is, any game that has any hint of simulation - NPCs going around, reacting to your actions, any adventure game in which it matters where you step and when you do stuff, any game that has more conditions and consequences than a LucasArts game, can have broken scripts that don't trigger and may have its systems broken by the ScummVM ports. It may not be obvious, you may be able to go through the game if you're lucky (or get blocked if you're not) but in any case, you'll lose the little hidden details that make it beautiful. Little details that are difficult to test and catch but ruin the overall impression.
The people who did the Blade Runner port may have done a good job - I haven't played it yet, it may be an exception - but from what I have seen so far, I have to make the conclusion that we should avoid the ScummVM logo like the plague. It's so incredibly wrong that a messy hobby project is now the official, highly trusted thing that Steam and GoG have been using for their "museum" versions of the games for more than a decade. I had bought these old adventure games because that's the right thing to do, but sadly, to experience them correctly, you should get them from abandonware sites - which end up being the real museums with the authentic game. I'm used to looking for old games on GoG first and it's so painful to imagine how many people like me have been misled that the bugs and omissions they see are present in the original.
This is why what you do here for the Windows 95 adventure games is extremely important. I used to love it when old games showed up on GoG. Now I pray they don't make more official versions and mislead more people.
It's been 1 year since my last comment. After 1 year I may finally find the time to play the GoG Blade Runner as well. Too bad I'll have nothing to compare it to.
Since OCEAN based movie games have been released through the Chamber's gates before, I would love to make a request for another film based on a story by Philip K. Dick..."Total Recall" for Amiga (1990)!ReplyDelete
Hopefully you can remember it for us wholesale ;)