[Review] Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold


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REVIEW # 00000000 00101100

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Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold is one of those games that in the popular imagination are credited as Wolfenstein clone. Released in 1993, Blake Stone uses the same engine as his famous predecessor, even though there were some enhancements as it was for the gameplay. The game was a good success at the beginning but then id software had the idea to release shortly after its masterpiece Doom. Bcause of this, the destiny of the poor Blake Stone was doomed (in every way)

My heart says…

90%

I started playing Blake Stone before Wolfenstein that remeined for me a mythologican object up to my adulthood, so for me this has been the genre-defining game. Actually it wasn’t but I still got fond memories of it and I find myself playing it even now in the third millennium. I loved the way those blob-ish monsters came in front of me and I loved using that small stupid shitty gun to smash their asses. Since I’m a bit bastard I have to admit sometimes I shot also the friendly doctors…just to see what could have happened…

Splash screen

70%

blake-stone-aliens-of-gold-splash

Graphics

70%

This is the era (talking about the graphics) I love the most. Even if today the early 90’s visuals make us laugh we have to think that the transition between 2D and 3D, which is the point where Blake Stone stands, was a mileston in gaming history. So even if the game is flat with low rooftops and a bit claustrophobic, Apogee made a good job with it, obscured only by the hueg success of DOOM (that for a twist of fate used an engine which was a “son” of the Wolfenstein 3D)

blake-stone-aliens-of-gold-1

Narrative

70%

We are in 2140. The protagonist, Robert Wills “Blake” Stone III is member if the british intelligence, recruited to investigate about the strange pland of Dr. Pyrus Goldfire, a genius in the field of genetics and biology with a little flaw: he has no ethics and he planned to takle over the world using his genetically modiefied mutant aliens, backed by his organization, STAR (Resident Evil’s S.T.A.R.S. anyone?). The goal of Blake Stone is to intercept and destroy six STAR instalations to prevent Dr. Goldfire bringing the world to his knees.

As you can see the story is all but new but this sci-fi plot is always a success in the early FPS. Seems like the bio-menace is the core of this kind of games…

Gameplay

80%

Blake Stone is not simply a copy-paste of Wolfenstein 3D. There are some difference in the structure of the game: the most important is the possibility to interact with some NPC, namely the doctors and researchers in the STAR installations who can give useful tips and indications. Then there’s the possibility to spend some tokens in the food dispenser, fundamental to reintegrate the lifebar, there are blue, red and white badges to collect to open locked doors. As always there are different weapons to use, i.e. an infinite ammo silent pistol, three guns and a grenade launcher. On the contrary of Wolfenstein 3D the textures are applied to both ceiling and floor and the whole environment it’s more coloured.

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The entire game consists of 66 levels (everyone of the 6 STAR building has 11 level corresponding to the 11 different floors) and many of them are secret and reaching them can boos significatively the players score.

On level 9 of each episode we face Dr. Goldifire who, once defeated, gives the player a gold badge necessary to proceed and face the final boss.

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Blake Stone, as many of other Apogee titles, was released in a free Shareware version only with the first building available; the other one had to be purchased directly from Apogee. Luckily I owned the full version (don’t ask me where I got it) so 100% of fun for me!

Another improvement from Wolfenstein 3D was the more detailed game interface: from the left we have a “what’s going on” panel, then the lifebar (even if here we have an ECG), the current weapon, the score and the badges used.

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Sound

70%

The in game music is quite entangling but the very best sound we hear is the “AHIII!” of death of villains. Everytime someone dies with AHIII! I laugh. For me the best score is represented by the number of AHIII-ed people. If we consider also some interesting effects everytime Blake find something we have a more than sufficient sound department. The biggest question mark is the voice of the doctors when Blake talks to them: they talk like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

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Longevity

80%

Sincerely I never completed the game so I have to do it sooner or later. By the way I remember I played it a lot, so this means the game is quite longeve. Well, 66 different levels aren’t so easy to clear…

Final score 80/100

80%


Year: 1993

Developer: JAM Productions

Publisher: Apogee

Genre: Shooter, FPS

Game Mode: Single Player

Original Platform: MS-DOS

From same developers:

  • Blake Stone: Planet Strike! (1994)

From the same publisher:

  • Duke Nukem (1991)
  • Wolfenstein 3D (1992)
  • Secret Agent (1992)
  • Duke Nukem II (1993)
  • Alien Carnage (1993)
  • Rise of the Triad (1994)
  • Hocus Pocus (1994)
  • Mystic Towers (1994)
  • Raptor: Call of the Shadows (1994)

Inspired to:

  • Catacomb 3-D (1991)
  • Wolfenstein 3D (1992)

If you liked it you can also try:

(all of the following games share the same engine as BS)

  • Shadowcaster (1993)
  • Corridor 7: Alien Invasion (1994)
  • Operation Body Count (1994)
  • Rise of the Triad (1994)

Other chapters of the saga:

  • Wolfenstein 3D and Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold Companion Edition (1994)
  • Blake Stone: Planet Strike! (1994)

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. JR says:

    Blake Stone was the first FPS I ever played way back on my 286. What great memories. Thanks for the Review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      It was exactly the same for me! I played this, then DOOM, then Duke Nukem 3D (if I remember correctly). By the way it was a great experience, I remember sometimes Blake Stone gave me some shivers…

      Like

  2. I remember playing the shareware of this and quite enjoying it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Luckily I had the full version but I sucked a lot the first times so I played the first building 5784 times…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All the Apogee games are lots of fun. So glad they re-released them all for modern systems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Yes, they are. I played almost all the early Apogee games and I have to tell they’re quite funny!

      Like

  4. Great times back in the 386 days. Sometimes I think of playing again, but I hesitate because going back and playing these old Wolf 3d type shooters again on modern screens makes me feel kinda sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Yes, to appreciate the spirit of the game you have to play it on an old 386. Even a 486 in case, but surely something old. I’m gonna take the opportunity this weekend to look for my old desktop PC in the cellar. Maybe I will find it and it will works…

      Like

  5. I didn’t play this game but how cool is the cover art! Kind of reminds me of an X-Wing pilot.

    Like

    1. benez256 says:

      Yes, it could look a bit Star Wars-ish…

      Like

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