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Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr is the first in a series of three games that delve into the rumors and unanswered questions surrounding the mythos of the Blair Witch. Set in 1941, the first adventure in the Blair Witch series pits government special investigator Doc Holliday against the ancient evil that drove hermit Rustin Parr to abduct and slay seven children in Burkittsville, Maryland. Along the way, Holliday will have to interact with the stricken townspeople, investigate hidden legends and arcane rituals, and seek to unravel a twisted mystery that still haunts the town.

Rustin Parr combines traditional adventure elements such as research, exploration and puzzle solving, with a healthy dose of heart-pounding action to create a terrifying gaming experience.
~ from the back of the Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr box

Back when it came out in 1999, The Blair Witch Project was a phenomenon. A horror movie made for peanuts that got the world talking, birthing the found-footage sub-genre in the process. The same month of that same year, a little-known survival horror game by the name of Nocturne also creeped onto PCs, bringing with it a series of pulpy stories lead by the enigmatic Stranger. Fast-forward a year, and the new millennium brought both IPs together within one of the most bizarre cross-overs ever to grace the gaming landscape: three short budget titles released within weeks of each other collectively known as The Blair Witch Trilogy.

Ostensibly a sequel of sorts to Nocturne, Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr came out on 25th October 2000, almost exactly a year after both the game and movie on which it is based. The year is 1941, eight years after the events of the first game, and the secretive government organisation known as Spookhouse is still active. One of their operatives, Doc Holliday, is assigned to investigate the deaths of a group of children by the hands of the hermit Rustin Parr in the country village of Burkittsville, Maryland. All is not as it seems as whispers of the legendary Blair Witch frighten the residents. With a multitude of gadgets in hand, our heroine investigates the town and the woods nearby to find out what the hell is going, and if hell itself is actually involved.

Rusin Parr: Stranger and the BloodRayne stand-in are all here at Spookhouse headquarters (left).
Make sure you pack your weapons and gadgets before braving the spooky forest (right).

Being a little slower paced than the original game, Rustin Parr plays more like an adventure game at times, particularly if you set the puzzle difficulty to high which I extremely recommend. If you don't you'll miss out on some fun asides such as distracting a police chief or chemically analysing metals. Even the story, presented in cutscenes using the impressive in-game engine, are well written and acted. They do err on the lengthy and verbose side, but with a script and cast this strong, I didn't seem to mind.

Action-wise, it's much the same as before, though I do think the slower overall pace balances out the playthrough much better. Camera angles rarely get in the way as often as they once did, and combat as a whole is easier to take part in. The mouse and keyboard combo can feel a bit jarring at first for a tank-controlled survival horror, but it works. And if it doesn't for you, every action is customisable to suit your needs. I left attack/action to the left mouse button while I remapped draw/holster weapon to the right mouse button. It feels better this way, but with attack/action being mapped to the same key it's never becomes totally intuitive. You can't pick up an item, open a door or interact with an object without holstering your firearm first and many a scarce bullet was wasted this way on my playthrough.

Rustin Parr: The Burkittsville town map fills in as you explore (left).
Exploring a destroyed building using nightvision goggles (right).

Outside of weapons, you can fit an entire suitcase of occult gadgetry underneath your billowing raincoat. Like all games in the series, the flashlight showcases the exceptional lighting techniques programmed into the pre-rendered backgrounds while a compass, nightvision goggles and an S.P.S. (Spectral Proximity Sensor) aids in exploration and puzzle solving. The compass is self explanatory, telling you which way is North which is useful in the massive maze that is the forest. Nightvision goggles allows Doc to see in the dark from a nifty first-person viewpoint. Each location is rendered in 3D using a simplistic greyscale art style in which you can move freely. While it can be activated anywhere, it will become useless during the day. Any hint of a bright light and the image will burn out to a bright white which kinda defeats the point of it. The S.P.S. acts like the P.K.E. in Ghostbusters. The closer you are to an invisible spook, the stronger the reading.

Developed by series creator Terminal Reality themselves, this first entry marks a high point in the series. I've heard some critics rate it above Nocturne itself. Unfortunately, the next two chapters were farmed off to other companies, with Blair Witch Volume II: The Legend of Coffin Rock coming from Human Head Studios. You may know them from Prey (2006) which has earned a cult following or The Quiet Man (2018) which most definitely has not. Alas, while entertaining in its own right, this follow up set during the American Civil War is a bit of a step down. Yup, we have a prequel on our hands.

Coffin Rock: Practice your aim by shooting cans off the fence (left).
Several books can be read in the library; a cryptic clue perhaps? (right).

This time round, our protagonist is a wounded Confederate soldier suffering from Amnesia. He can't even remember his own name, so the local grandma who nursed him back to health dubbed him Lazarus. Along with a number of other children in Burkittsville, the granddaughter of this kindly old woman has gone missing. Believing you to be a sign, she asks you to find them, so off to the woods you go. The governmental organisation Spookhouse is nowhere to be seen, so you'll get no help from them. There's no steampunk versions of the gadgets found in Rustin Parr which is a bit of a step backwards in my view. What we do have is a hefty dose of Native American mysticism. A tribal chief resides in the woods, and hand-made Twana stick figures restore health.

The demon zombies that make up most of the enemies in the first chapter are here replaced by ghosts. Spine-chilling phantom children and deceased spectral soldiers lunge towards you sucking your energy fast. With only a slow-loading rifle at first, the combat issues of the original 1999 game comes into play more frequently here. You can't move or act quickly enough to make an effective offensive but at least the camera angles are decently thought out. The controls are a little different here too, completely removing the quick-turn mechanic which would've helped a great deal to alleviate the frustration.

That being said, the story and presentation is still pretty dang high for the most part, with the rustic 19th century locations giving off a suitably eerie vibe. Our amnesiac will also regain memories in playable flashbacks that slowly reveal the years before the current events quite nicely. It lacks puzzles, difficulty options and other mechanics found in the previous games, but it's overall an entertaining playthrough with a strong plot and compelling characters.

Elly Kedward: Red vials dropped by enemies restore your health. Blue ones restore mana (left).
The forest map. Until you have a specified location, paths at the edges wrap around (right).

The last game, Blair Witch Volume III: The Elly Kedward Tale developed by Ritual Entertainment (SiN, Star Trek: Elite Force II) takes us back in time even further - 1786 to be exact. In the quaint town of Blair, an old lady by the name of Elly Kedward has been accused of witchcraft and was left for dead in the imposing woods nearby. For years, the townsfolk cast her fate from their minds until a familiar blight befalls them; the town's children have disappeared.

Enter Jonathan Prye, a conflicted ex-pastor turned witch-hunter who has arrived at the scene to hunt down the culprit. Kedward herself is heavily implied to be the titular wiccan, but there's more than just witchcraft at play here. Demons have been unleashed and dead bodies scatter the nearby woods, rising from the ground as zombies. Native American mysticism has been amped up too, with several magical talisman crossing your palms at conveniently opportune moments. With some noticeably frequent glitches and bugs, it is certainly the least loved of the trilogy, but if there's one big stand-out compared to the other two, it's how the story goes completely off the rails. While not realistic by any means, the previous games all follow a grounded logic that's believable within the context of the game world. Get ready to suspend that suspension of disbelieve as you travel through portals to other dimensions, including a spirit realm and a version of hell itself. You'll also be able to shapeshift into animals!

Elly Kedward: Transport to different realms by activating these portals (left).
Cross a chasm by turning into an eagle. As you do (right).

A lot has changed in this final chapter too. Quick turn is thankfully back, a godsend considering there's an overall increase in action sequences, but combat has also been overhauled too. You still have a rifle to shoot down the undead, but now the enemy you're aiming at will glow red making it much easier to see whether you're pointing in the right direction. It's not just a gun you'll be aiming with either, you also have a cross. That's right, the Lord's crucifix. Wielding this religious iconography will expend a magic resource called mana, and if aimed correctly, it will ignite a flame of righteous fury upon the target. Some enemies will go down much quicker this way, while others are immune to any other attack. Once they're dead, most of the bodies will drop a health, bullets or mana pick-up which guarantees you're never far from ammunition. If you need them, you will pick them up and use them automatically, bypassing the need to holster your weapon and click a button first. While welcome, it does make you question why the "Attack" and "Action" inputs are separate this time round when it's not really much of a hindrance compared to the previous two.

Despite their diminishing returns (and noticeable graphical bugs in the third game), I highly recommend all three to fans of the genre and horror in general. It links two potentially incompatible IPs very well, deepening the Blair Witch lore in a way none of the movies have managed to do. Plus, it's official - Blair Witch and BloodRayne are in the same universe. It's canon.

To download Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DDrawCompat to run on modern Windows. Manual included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 569 Mb.  Install Size: 992 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

To download Blair Witch Volume II: The Legend of Coffin Rock, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DDrawCompat to run on modern Windows. Manual included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 585 Mb.  Install Size: 910 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

To download Blair Witch Volume III: The Elly Kedward Tale, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DDrawCompat to run on modern Windows. Manual included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 465 Mb.  Install Size: 999 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr is © Artisan Pictures & Gathering of Developers
Blair Witch Volume II: The Legend of Coffin Rock is © Artisan Pictures & Gathering of Developers
Blair Witch Volume III: The Elly Kedward Tale is © Artisan Pictures & Gathering of Developers
Blair Witch (the movie) is © Artisan Pictures
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. Yes! Just like you said (On 22 January 2023 at 16:07)! Finally this games are available here! That's awesome! Thank You very much!

    1. It's been a long time coming! I did a fair amount of work on them back then too, which was a great considering the lack of time I've had this month. Hope you enjoy them!

  2. Thank you very much!

  3. Haha I had seen your Nocturne repack and was about to contact you if you needed help making repacks for Blair Witch. Good to see these games finally preserved, you should include the Twin Peaks easter egg in this page lol.

    1. Some things are best left as a pleasant surprise :)

  4. Better late than never. Thanks for your hard work! I still replay the Blair Witch games occasionally on my retro machines, but it's very convenient to be able to play these on modern machines. I own the trilogy and I particularly love the first one. Games nowadays just don't have that atmosphere.

  5. Thank you so much for this. I literally have these Discs sitting on my shelf next to nocturne, and they're so finicky to get up and running

  6. https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com

    1. whoops, sorry about that. I had an issue posting a comment, and it seems to have come out wrong. Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for the writeup. I remember reading these games and being taken with the idea of a development 'supergroup'. As often happens with these projects it seems the results were a mixed bag, but by no means a disaster. So it's great that you've rescued them for posterity.

  7. Hello there, I noticed that you can run these games (and Nocturne) at a higher resolution without shrinking HUD by using the included DDrawCompat itself. Firstly, select 640x480 in the in-game graphics options. Then, Within the DDrawCompat.ini you can set ResolutionScale = display(1) and ResolutionScaleFilter = bilinear to run at your desktop resolution without your HUD or Night vision scope view shrinking. You could add this as a note to the description pages of these games.

    P.S. I had wanted to ask what exactly playing at 60fps (not any higher) breaks in the game. All I seem to have noticed is that cloth physics are tied to it. But by that logic, limiting the framerate to 10fps actually results in more realistic trenchcoat physics lol. Has there been ever explicitly mentioned the exact framerate this game is meant to be played at? Like a manual or developer note?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. By the way, if anyone wants to fix the crazy speed in main menu (BW1 and BW3 for example) instead of using FpsLimiter = flipstart(30) use FpsLimiter = msgloop(30)

    1. Another really strange thing xD If you copy tridx7.dll (10-07-1999) from Nocturne to Blair Witch 1, 2 and 3 the games will run more smooth xD

    2. Can confirm that work wow thanks. Dunno about the tridx7.dll though, that's weird

  10. going to be pedantic here: when you talk about something being dogma or approved by the Church, it's canon, one n. The two ns is the weapon. Was checking the dictionary and cannon and canon even have a different source.

    And, again, thanks for the games. This site is wonderful and that's canon.

  11. Where is 3 download? And great site :)