Episode 16 - Blood 2: The Chosen

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First person shooters became popular when id Software created Wolfenstein and later on Doom. These games were mostly memorable for their gameplay, but then came developer 3DRealms and made this genre even more awesome by creating a game in which the protagonist was not just a mute with an arsenal of guns but one with a larger than life personality and a neverending barrage of entertaining one liners. That would be Duke Nukem 3D of course, but we're not here to talk about Duke. We're here to talk about Caleb. Caleb from Monolith's Blood 2, the game which was once called the goriest first person shooter ever made.

To give Blood 2 a proper introduction we first need to talk about Blood, or as it was officially called, One Unit Whole Blood. In Blood, you play as Caleb, a member of the Cabal, a religious sect hell bent on world domination. Caleb is one of the Chosen, who are basically the very top of the food chain in the Cabal. So basically you start the game as a character who is typically the villain (that alone is reason enough to play this game). At the start of the game, the dark god Tchernobog kills Caleb and the other chosen which naturally pisses off our antihero, who eventually climbs out of his grave and hunts down the entirety of the Cabal, slaughtering every last one of them including the very god he used to worship. Mind you, he's not doing this out of the goodness of his heart, no, he's just hell bent on revenge and more than eager to spill blood. Gallons of it.

Blood 2 takes place a century later. Caleb who has become pretty much immortal (but not unkillable) becomes the target of the remnants of the Cabal once more. Led by a diabolical mastermind called Gideon the Cabal will stop at nothing to destroy Caleb and restore their dark god, and it's up to the player to guide Caleb through the hordes of Cabal soldiers and various monstrous enemies.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as in any first person shooter. You run around each level killing enemies looking for a way out. Sometimes you run into locked doors that you need to open before you can advance, but other than that it's standard run and gun gameplay. There are some secret areas with good loot, so it never hurts to explore. Unlike most modern day shooters, the levels in Blood 2 are not 100 percent linear, and sometimes you come back to some of the earlier levels to access previously unreachable areas. You can play Blood 2 either as Caleb or as one of the other three Chosen who each have different skills and default weapons, adding replay value to the game. The enemies in the game are not as varied as in let's say Doom, but there is a big enough variety among them to keep you from getting bored during the game. Your arsenal on the other hand is extremely varied. In fact, there are more weapons in the game than you can carry (and you can carry 10 different weapons) so at some point you need to decide which weapon you want to drop to pick up things like the singularity generator. Other than the usual pistol, submachinegun, shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifle, and rocket launcher, you also get things like a napalm cannon which you can use as an excellent torch in some of the levels, a high tech Tesla gun that Simon Phoenix would be proud of (if you don't know who that is, you're probably too young for this website), and the aforementioned singularity generator which lets you create a small black hole to obliterate your enemies. You can also find a flare gun early in the game which is worth hanging on to as it's extremely helpful against teleporting enemies.

Blood 2 Gameplay

Now when you start using those weapons on your enemies you'll quickly realize why this game is covered on our website. Once dubbed the goriest first person shooter of all time, Blood 2 does not disappoint when it comes to over the top violence. This is a game in which you can shoot a guy in the head with a pistol and his body will explode. It is just so over the top insane it's impossible not to laugh, and it never gets old. It's also quite funny when the blood of an enemy is splattered onto an invisible level barrier and you can clearly see the bloodstain in mid air. Yes, it's a bug, or at least a game engine limitation, but it's still very entertaining.

Yet the over the top gory violence is only half of the true entertainment value of this game. The other half comes from the personality of our antihero. Caleb constantly entertains the player with one liners, and in this respect he carries on the legacy of Duke Nukem. Likewise, just as Duke Nukem 3D ripped off one liners from Army of Darkness, so do the Blood games and  arguably these one liners fit this particular franchise extremely well. For example in the original Blood Caleb rises from the grave at the start of the game ominously exclaiming "I... live... again!" and even in Blood 2 he just loves to remind everyone that he's "the guy with the gun". Caleb also quotes other classics such as Dirty Harry and Reservoir Dogs, not to mention he makes it pretty clear that he's no goody two shoes nice guy as he merely laughs when innocent civilians get caught between him and the Cabal and, upon learning that the entire world is in danger of being devoured, he merely says "let it burn, I never liked this place anyway".

In other words, Blood 2 is a game with plenty of personality and dark humor stemming both from Caleb's crazy sadistic antihero personality and the over the top unrealistic violence in the game. If you love first person shooters and dig the Army of Darkness kind of humor, this game is a must play (it is available e.g. on GOG.com at a low price). Go check it out.

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