First, let me say that Blade Runner has to be one of the most unique and fascinating games that I've ever played. I haven't played a game in quite a while that thoroughly captivated me like this game did. As some of you know
, I was addicted to playing this game for several days, and I reloaded several saved games just to see if I had missed anything or could affect the gameplay (more on that below).Caveat:
I played the game in the easy mode, and this may or may not affect your gameplay or enjoyment. Since I do not usually enjoy shooters, I chose this level.Story:
You play in the third person as Ray McCoy, a rookie Blade Runner in the LPD. Usually, you handle minor nuisance cases, but you've just been assigned to investigate a rash of crimes that may involve replicants. Since replicants are currently illegal on Terra (Earth), this is very serious business indeed. So, you're off to your first crime scene . . . Game Controls:
The game controls are very simple and easy to use. The game is basically mouse-drive: the left mouse button moves you through the screens and lets you interact with objects and people; the right mouse button brings up your weapon. Do you want to run? Just double-click on the left mouse button. The tab key activates your KIA (Knowledge Integration Assistant) and lets you adjust your settings, save/load games and quit the game. You can also get to your KIA quickly by left-clicking on McCoy with the spinning green cursor. It doesn't get much easier than that! Gameplay:
As you move through the game, you collect objects and audio and video clues to solve the crimes. The clues are stored in your KIA, which you can download to the mainframe at police headquarters to be analyzed. My favorite part of the game was the ESPER, which you use to inspect photos and get more clues. There is also a nifty gadget to use when questioning suspects so that you can identify potential replicants.
You can control the conversations with characters by selecting the "?" for McCoy's attitude under the options screen (in the KIA). You cannot, however, really use the inventory objects that you find throughout the game. Occasionally, some objects will automatically be used when you talk to a character, but for the most part, the objects that you find are merely used to advance your knowledge of the cases and can be analyzed in the lab. While this can be seen as a downside to the game (lack of control), it's also a plus because there are a lot of objects and clues, and you would be playing the game forever if you tried to use all of the objects in the game. Graphics:
The quality of the background graphics and video clips is truly amazing for a 1997 game. The detail in the background of the game is stunning, and you will really feel like you're in LA in a futuristic year 2019, especially when you're zipping around in your super cool spinner.
Most of the characters are constantly moving, and they go about their business while McCoy investigates. McCoy can walk around both characters and objects, and your view in the game can zoom into locations and pictures in the most unbelievable ways. There are also some very neat touches in the game, like the subway cars passing above you, bicycle riders going by, blinking florescent lights and moths flying around lights. My interaction with Maggie, McCoy's dog, was one of my favorite parts of the game. What a great dog!
The only major downside of the graphics is that the characters themselves (including McCoy) are very grainy and vague. Most of the characters do look like pixelated blobs, but I got over this shortfall very quickly. Sound:
The sound is also of excellent quality. I did a complete install of the game, and I experienced absolutely no skips in the audio files. The voice acting is very good and seemed to fit the characters, and each of the characters is unique and fascinating. All of the dialogue helps to further the story line, and none of it is boring or extraneous. In fact, McCoy's comments may remind you a little of Tex Murphy, that hard-boiled P.I.
The sound effects are also fabulous. The game environment is quite rainy and a little gloomy, and the background sound captures this environment perfectly. You can hear the rain falling on the roof in some locations, and the sounds in the sewers are so realistic and riveting. I actually felt like ducking when I heard the subway car. There are even sound effects when McCoy uses the bathroom off-screen, and these were very tasteful and well done.Action/Combat:
Now, for the combat and action parts. Again, I played the game in the easy mode, and so, this may not apply to other modes. I got through most of the game without having to use my weapon at all (although I did want to kill a few characters because they insulted or annoyed me during the game
). There are a few very tricky timed action sequences, where you have to do some fast shooting and footwork. But you can get through those sequences with some patience and practice. In the easy mode, I experienced all of the suspense of the last few acts of the game without worrying that I had to shoot everything in sight. Of course, your decision to use or not use your weapon may affect your gameplay.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the shooting range, which was loads of fun and will help you to hone those shooting skills if you decide to go for a higher level of combat. Game Endings:
According to the hint files that I've read after playing the game, the identity of the replicants and humans is changed by the program when you load a new game. This means that not only will the ending of the game depend upon your actions throughout the game, but it will also depend on which game was loaded by the program!
I have also read that there are at least three different endings to the game, and I have only seen one ending so far. There is a website to review the different endings which you may want to check out after playing the game yourself (Thanks, Brian!). http://www.bladezone.com/contents/game/saved-games Bottom Line:
Blade Runner is one of the most enjoyable games that I've played in a long while. The plot of the game is so complicated and fascinating, and you can affect the direction of the game by your actions. Therefore, this is really a thinking person's game, and you will want to think before you act, since your action may take you on another course entirely (including the lock up).
Plus, with the different computer-generated games and user-defined endings, the replayability factor for this game is very high. Adventure, suspense, action, humor and a little bit of sex . . . this game has everything. If you like playing games as a detective and ferreting out clues, this game is a MUST HAVE.
Even if you're not into those kinds of games, you may want to give this game a spin. Like me, you might be wonderfully surprised and become addicted to this great game.
[This message has been edited by Anodyne (edited 09-03-2001).]