From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett Crapshoot wrote a column about rolling the dice to bring random, mysterious games back to life. This week, get your 50,000 worker sunscreen ready, because the post-apocalyptic world is back with vengeance and only the toughest have a chance.
Wasteland was the predecessor to the well-known Fallout, but these aren’t the only games that have pushed the world with nuclear weapons to give themselves a sandpit to play in. In 1990, Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts unleashed booms in an entirely different kind of wasteland, but there was no Kickstarter Project fighting to get its sequel this is One, was there?
This is probably the best. He does after all slimy mutant scum a star.
Bad Blood is an unusual game – a hybrid preliminary shooter / RPG of sorts, which isn’t actually released at a time when this kind of thing was an impossible dream, but you really want to pretend it is. Take, for example, her drawings. By 1990 standards, it’s honestly not bad. It’s colorful, animated, and although primitive, it gets the kind of attention to detail that makes Origin games so beautiful and well worth slipping into.
Cast your eyes at the border. Instead of a health bar, you have a giant bottle that drains as you take a hit. Your world is bordered by bespoke TV, with the wallpaper changing over time to give you an idea of the time of day without turning the entire playing field into atmospheric darkness.
Stylish, isn’t it? Everything is so much fun, with only one slight flaw.
In all fairness, this isn’t as big a navigation problem as it might seem – or it wasn’t when the game came out. Like most games, Bad Blood came with supplemental info in the box, and one of those additions was a map showing all the settlements in the game’s tiny little world. Not being able to see properly is still a huge frustration when going from A to B though, with little chance of dodging enemies, lack of situational awareness, and constantly bumping into walls of maze-like areas. You can find a satellite tracker on your travels that will give you your coordinates, along with binoculars to zoom out a bit, but only if you are lucky / know in advance where to look.
Who are you for this short trip? You’re a mutant scum. Slimy drips from the nuclear winter anus. Festered smallpox on desert sand. Elusive obscenity, her first words were “Dad, why ?!”
Sorry, I just don’t like post-apocalyptic monsters that much.
Specifically, you are one of three mutants from the small village of Marduk – a place where men are green, women are seductive, and upper commas are tortured in ways that cause the Spanish Inquisition to hang up their shelves. It’s a place for dialogue like, “Buzz is the people who want to fight. Soon, they will walk” “Win all the silence in the plains,” and for this, frankly, it must burn.
But letting it burn is not an option. You are one of the few “intruders” who are “both smart and muscular,” and it is your job to head to the wasteland and find something that will persuade residents not to fulfill their clear destiny and restore the gene pool for real people. The village chief isn’t quite sure what this magic bullet for endless combat and the differentiation of species could be, but the numbers will likely solve the problem. This is what makes him a leader.
You can choose between three unfortunate poor villains for the mission, despite not being given any equipment or an excuse for only one of you to die. Varigg is the hardest of the group, but as a full-bore mutant, he cannot picture himself as a human. This is a problem when dealing with humans, entering their cities and not being shot. It is assumed that Jacka, the girl of the group, can pass “if no one breaks her patch”. I have no idea what that means. I chose to keep my ignorance. Finally, there is Dekker, which is actually human and can fuse, but is not very strong and cannot withstand its radiation.
Of the three, it is perhaps the easiest to start thanks to the powerful telephoto weapon. Despite being the strongest, Varig only has his fists. On the other hand, Jacka started the eye patch and, thank God, they were talking about an eye patch. For a moment, this was threatening to become extremely elusive.
“This is a great job,” you are told, whichever you choose. “All mute is dependent on you to stop pets from slagging us. We cannot fight birds, so we have to stop them with intelligence.”
“Didn’t we possibly think of submitting to natural selection?” You can’t ask, sigh.
Bad Blood isn’t the easiest game to start with, although it’s quite simple compared to something like Wasteland or Fallout. All fights are action-based, with characters able to move in four directions. Enemies don’t have a true AI, but they make up for it by hitting incredibly hard and appearing out of nowhere in the microscopic playing field. Your primary weapon is always available, but there are limited ammo alternatives found throughout the wasteland. At the very least, that is what you should say if any of the friends of the dead slave traders you interview asked why you carried their comrades’ sodoff rifle. Monsters you kill drop hearts that you can devour to gain health points like the most civilized beast. You should also keep as much of the food on you as possible, to eat while eating Endless Back and forth for the main mission and to trade in the bits and pieces you need to justify being in trouble spots around the wasteland.
Unfortunately, there are no tolerance-building pills for endless lines of dialogue like “A bunch of ’em are too racy to shake off.” I looked. Everywhere. And you have to get into this nonsense, because talking to people is the only way to know where you want to go next. Bad Blood doesn’t really offer RPG-style chatting, just very short dialogue trees with witty exchanges like:
“How is the water in these parts?”
“No one has died in recent times!”
As far as I can tell, this is the barren official joke. You can hear it hundreds of times.
sigh. I know the world of these people has been blown to hell. I want to hit him with the bombs again.
Turns out, the game’s primary goal is to establish peace between humans and mutants by saving a leader called “Equitus,” no kidding. This tells you everything you need to know about plot quality. The best thing about the entire game is that when you die (and will die a lot!) Your character looks up at the sky and silently shouts “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Before collapsing into the skeleton dust.
I can watch this The whole day. In fact, I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t. And since the death of the hero means that humans will have no problem crushing the mutants under their feet, I consider this to be the happy ending. Estate! I am the best roamer in arid lands, and I am glad the ground has burned.
Here’s a video of someone more committed to hume / mutie relationships at work.
If you’re in the mood for a more flattering story, Bad Blood isn’t the perfect game. Not much attention is happening, and the basic mechanics are not aging well. Wasteland and the ramifications have greater depth. Fallout: New Vegas has brought things into the modern era, and it does so in style.
But what if you’ve already played those and still crave a little bit of diversion after the apocalypse?
try this: Tales from the afternoon. It’s an impromptu internet series about the adventures of a librarian drifting into a more active wasteland. Bad first episodes. There is no getting around this. The first is an endless cry about groups like the RIAA and how companies will destroy the world. It’s too political and too boring. When they simply start telling stories and building a future world, they are captivating things – the stories of Rachel Mott, about a traveling mechanical genius, about human monsters and others. Unfortunately, it only lasted two seasons of observation, and the second ended on cliffhanger. There was a third, but set in the modern era, back to more political matters, and when the plot did finally start, it was in the name of a very silly attempt to connect things in the distant future with horror, a novel about demons, heresies, and other nonsense. I remember listening to it with growing frustration, waiting for it to get to the point.
you did not. I do not recommend these rings.
Give the main series a chance to run though the Barren Earth episodes sweep things through. It’s the perfect backdrop for something like Fallout 3, and it’s long enough to last you a few hikes or trips by car. Just imagine that the narrator has been eaten by Radscorp or something like that after recording the latter. There has been talk of more appearances, but I’m not going to hold your breath.
Unless you wake up, the air is full of radioactive dust. Then, it may help. It can’t hurt.