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GoatLord

The "Blake Stone" games

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So, I've never finished either the "Aliens of Gold" or "Planet Strike" missions, but I've sampled both games plenty and I have to conclude that it's pretty damn good for a Wolf3D clone. The games were mildly progressively in that they contained automaps, you could go back to previous "floors," interact with scientists (some of whom were informants that would give you advice or power-ups), even use coins to purchase food/drink from the vending machines for health. There were other cute little touches, such as hazardous electric fields you could shut off, or monsters that would emerge from eggs or containment units.

The first game was released in the same week as Doom, and of course Doom swept the floor with it, as the engine was far superior. It's kind of a shame, not only because it meant that BS was doomed (heh) to obscurity, but was plagued with samey, tile-based layouts. I would personally love to see a remake of it.

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I enjoyed the color palettes, and thought that they shat all over the other Wolf 3D clones at the time, which was Corridor 7 and Operation: Body Count (Both by Capstone, actually). I mean, both are similar to C7 and OBC, the latter even had an automap that could be used without blocking your first person view. But C7 was boring, and OBC was just gonky and flat out hideous. Blake Stone is well worth its gold.

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I haven't beat BS yet, but I played a fair share of the game. I must say, it's probably my favorite Wolf3D clone. I like to think it is to Wolfenstein what Strife is to Doom. This game is very underrated. It just adds so much to what is a very limited FPS engine. I hope it gets ported to EcWolf so I can play it again on a higher res

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Blake Stone is decent, if outstaying its welcome with six episodes, of which the latter three lack a distinct theme the previous three had. But Planet Strike isn't very good, the level design suffers and it's more streamlined.

Both games have horrible balance with weapons and enemy behavior most noticeable on higher difficulties, due to the lack of pain chance and ridiculous HP increase that renders all but the dual neutron disruptor and plasma discharge unit weapons useless.

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If you think in terms of wolf-engine, Blake Stone is a well done game indeed. They put some effort into it.

Clonehunter said:

I enjoyed the color palettes, and thought that they shat all over the other Wolf 3D clones at the time, which was Corridor 7 and Operation: Body Count (Both by Capstone, actually).


Yes, I really liked the color palette. Not only that, but the texture design, the sound effects, everything is so... unique and weird (in a good way). I never saw something like this, but other wolf3d clones come close. Even with some flaws, I like Corridor 7 and Nitemare 3D too. They are all cool if you don't mind a light-hearted, non-serious FPS. Body Count, on the other side, don't have the same appeal for me (and the level design is worse too).

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was always a fan of the Blake Stone games, and played them about as much as I played Wolf3d and DOOM.

I think the only real reason it was never as popular as Wolfenstein was due to its release just prior to DOOM, which eclipsed it technologically.

But a bad game, it was not. Actually I think I liked it a bit better than Wolf3d overall.

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I love how the game seems to have this 70s/80s sci-fi aesthetic. Shit, just look at the box art.




Pure cheese! I kind of love it. The goofy looking enemies are great as well. And yeah, the color palette is great, it's still kinda cartoony and yet mildly desaturated. They did a good job with texturing and consistency. It looked far better than most of the other shooters at the time.

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They're fine games (and somewhat underrated, or even unheard of by most), but as pointed out already the balance just goes all arse-about-face on higher difficulties and you can frequently find yourself relying on luck more than actual skill. May seem like a cop-out, but they're best played at the mid-difficulties unless you want an exercise in frustration.

On a technical level it is vastly superior to Wolfenstein 3D (similar to how Heretic, Hexen and Strife are all -- one way or another -- technically superior to Doom for features) but as far as actual gameplay and fun factor goes, it's a bit of a mixed bag where I'd say Wolf comes out on top purely for consistency. Blake starts off well and immediately showcases some of the new engine features (floor/ceiling textures, light diminishing over distance), further lures you in with interactive NPC's, barrier-altering switches and food machines, then by about halfway through the game it just goes stagnant and becomes a massive slog; there are unfortunately lots of powerful 'one-sided' enemies in the Blake games that are practically immune to anything but the most powerful weapons (because high health and low/no painchance), and it sadly gets to the point where they're frequently the primary enemy types on any given floor. And because they're one-sided, there's no option to try and sneak by 'em.

Still, they're worth a look and I'd say get a hold of them if/when the opportunity presents itself. Especially with ECWolf support on the horizon.

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Are you sure they're one-sided? I know the scientists aren't. I guess some of them are.

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If it's not a regular ol' human scientist or mook, then it's one-sided. Even the lowly & common long-armed gimp monsters encountered on the very first level have only one angle to them.

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The enemy cast is diverse and they continue to introduce something new with each episode, but most of the enemies behave too samey in regards to movement speed and attack style. The bosses also don't really feel like bosses, which is probably why they re-used them in Planet Strike as normal enemies.

Yeah, I had the most enjoyable playthrough last time on the default difficulty 'Skilled Agent' I think it was. I played Veteran on my first time and found it really difficult. Expert is just suicide. I don't know what they were thinking raising HP with each mode AND adding additional enemies to the maps. I like to think I'm a good Wolfer but holy shit.

ECWolf eventually plans to add support, as of now there's an SDL2 port. Haven't tried it yet but it said you can remap the controls, which thank fuck, JAM hard-binded so many useless functions on the keyboard that WASD users are frankly left in the dark.

E: In case I'm coming off overly negative, I don't hate Blake Stone, it's pretty much the only other good Wolf engine game besides Wolf itself. I don't count ROTT '95 because I feel it's a vastly different game. The only thing it has in common is the 90 degree architecture.

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Blake Stone. I agree it's imbalanced on skill 4. There's just not enough ammo unless you use the ultimate weapon all the time (which conversely makes the game a trivial explosion fest).

STAR troopers are ridiculously powerful: they move fast, attack almost instantly, do huge damage with their guns, take forever to die, have very low pain chance, and can even feign death (and you can't kill them when down)! They used to scare me when little.

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It's actually better than Wolf 3D if only because there aren't any mutants. Those plasmid cunts that endlessly respawn and kill you in one attack are annoying though.

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SavageCorona said:

It's actually better than Wolf 3D if only because there aren't any mutants. Those plasmid cunts that endlessly respawn and kill you in one attack are annoying though.


Don't remind me of the plasma aliens.

Technically the mutated guard in the later episodes is sort of a mutant, they can be dangerous if they catch you off guard.

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I gave Aliens of Gold a go, along with the original ROTT, when I got them (and Planetstrike) free with my ROTT remake pre-order from GoG. I hated them. The Wolf3D engine has aged horribly and makes for terrible game play. The difficulty is outrageous and movement in the game world felt clunky. Chuck in the dull, flat maze that each map has to be and I felt no compelling reason to slog through any of them, so they're all uninstalled never to be looked at again.

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Phobus said:

I gave Aliens of Gold a go, along with the original ROTT, when I got them (and Planetstrike) free with my ROTT remake pre-order from GoG. I hated them. The Wolf3D engine has aged horribly and makes for terrible game play. The difficulty is outrageous and movement in the game world felt clunky. Chuck in the dull, flat maze that each map has to be and I felt no compelling reason to slog through any of them, so they're all uninstalled never to be looked at again.


That's why ROTT 2013 Is the best, but Wolf3D did bring a new age of FPS, that's why It gets praise and rep.

But you should respect them more, without Wolf3D and any of those games, we wouldn't have DOOM.

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I don't see why I should respect a crap prototype of a genre just because the same guys went on to make an actually-good game a year later. If it weren't for ZDoom bringing that game's control scheme to the modern age I probably wouldn't still respect it either.

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^
Which is why you should give them another go once there is ECWolf support for the Blake Stone games.

No idea if ROTT is ever planned to be supported though. Probably not?

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Hmm... Well, I did get through the ZDoom port of the original 6 episodes of Wolfenstein 3D and thought that was OK (having only ever beaten the first episode back in the mid-90's as a child), so I may well take you up on that idea.

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BaronOfStuff said:

^
Which is why you should give them another go once there is ECWolf support for the Blake Stone games.

No idea if ROTT is ever planned to be supported though. Probably not?

http://maniacsvault.net/ecwolf/notes.php

Scroll down to "Roadmap".

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There's also a ROTT port called WinROTTGL which does all of the obvious modernisations for ROTT (except manual jumping) if that'll get you to like the crazy sumbitch of a vidya garm.

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BaronOfStuff said:

^
Which is why you should give them another go once there is ECWolf support for the Blake Stone games.

No idea if ROTT is ever planned to be supported though. Probably not?


I forgot about ECWolf, It's been an while since I've played my copy of Wolf3D on Steam. That's another reason to replay a bit of It. But LGR stated that someone should at least give the game one go before moving onto something else.

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Noiser said:

Body Count, on the other side, don't have the same appeal for me (and the level design is worse too).


Body Count is just flat out bad. Ugly, repetitive, and although open ended office floors are cool because it sort of resembles the real world and offers plenty to explore, it proves that actually fighting through offices is pretty dull. Mix this with shitty enemy AI, graphics ripped from C7 (Same company, though) and Doom (With modifications) mixed with badly hand drawn sprites that clash with the others terribly, some weird system where your screen will get clogged with blood when you get shot that does not disappear unless you go to the main menu, and six or so horrendous levels of slogging through a sewer fighting rats and fucking sewer monsters of all things, you get a game that's bad.

It had some highlights though, like a over-map, light switches, booby traps, some sort of level generator, flamethrowers that burn objects, rocket launchers that can punch through certain walls, and Allied AI that served as a kind of prototype for squad shooters. However, when I first encountered allied troops I thought they were more enemies so I just gunned them all down and did that for the next several levels.

The game also had really cool cover art.

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Clonehunter said:

some weird system where your screen will get clogged with blood when you get shot that does not disappear unless you go to the main menu

You press W to clean your screen. This is the dedicated "Wipe Sludge Off View" key.

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Clonehunter said:

it proves that actually fighting through offices is pretty dull.


F.E.A.R. would like to have a word with you.

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familiar with the name, never played the games themselves though. as far as i can see, they appear to be interesting games, but a bit bogged down by the outdated engine it uses. i've also played Wolfenstein 3D before, and it's okay fun, but i don't think i ever beat the game past episode 3. it's just too mazey and enemies are horrible things of murder and fuck those mutants.

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