Genre: Adventure, Role-playing (RPG)
Visual: Fixed / flip-screen
Gameplay: Puzzle elements
Interface: Point and select
Setting: Cyberpunk / dark sci-fi
Published by: MicroProse Software
Developed by: MicroProse Software
It just so happened that game developers rarely please us with optimistic forecasts for the future. The assortment of dark prophecies ranges from nuclear war and epidemics of mysterious viruses to large-scale alien invasions, and the hopelessness breathing down the back of the dark hero progresses at a terrifying pace as the story progresses. In an attempt to push the cyberpunk atmosphere to the limit, the creators of BloodNet chose an interesting path and combined two terrible dangers in their project at once, ruthlessly extinguishing any hope of salvation. New York in 2094, brought to its knees by the tyranny of the mega-corporation TransTechnicals, is struck by a new disease - vampirism, and the fear of becoming another bloodsucker and obeying the vampire lord for the rest of eternity literally drives the inhabitants of the metropolis crazy. What to do for those who, through negligence, did not save themselves from such an unenviable fate? The protagonist of BloodNet is Ransom Stark, a professional hacker, a great guy and ... a newly minted vampire. And he has very little time to find a cure for a terrible curse. The task is clear, we will deal with the details along the way, and now we will plunge into the darkness of the streets of Manhattan and see what our situation is.
Although the hero is already predetermined for future misfortunes, BloodNet attracts by the fact that it makes it possible to significantly change his initial characteristics. This is done with the help of an interesting twelve-question test, which is designed to find out your gaming preferences. After the end of the test, you will see the result in the form of a character customization window with the parameter value set according to your answers. Moreover, a few more points will be given to you just so that you can put the final touches on the picture of Stark's attributes. It is worth being careful here, since the subsequent improvement will occur only after the successful completion of actions that affect certain abilities, and it can be very difficult to make a science professor out of a slow-witted one. The parameters themselves are very diverse and cover all possible situations that you will have to face during the game. Here you have purely physical characteristics (which, in addition to strength and dexterity, for example, include lockpicking and pickpocketing skills), and intellectual abilities (including the talent for constructing new things from rubbish that no one needs), and, your mastery of cyberspace, of course. It is worth talking about the latter in more detail.
The already mentioned TransTechnicals has become so influential not due to speculation in the securities market and the sale of oil, no. The source of power here is much more original - the geniuses from the corporation were able to create an extensive information network that every computer user can get into by temporarily combining their consciousness with electronics. Cyberspace quickly gained popularity due to the fact that working with data thanks to it was simplified hundreds of times, the thoughts of any person instantly became reality. Naturally, there were also people who did not want to take for granted the unlimited power of TransTechnical over everything that existed in this global network. Hackers like Ransom Stark soon learned how to fish out tightly guarded secrets and sell them to those who were interested. This situation does not suit the owners of the corporation, but, as you know, there are no perfect methods of protection. What is BloodNet cyberspace? This, I must say, is an extremely interesting sight - a separate game within the game. Access to the Web is provided by a special device that projects the user's consciousness on the other side of the computer screen. You can repeatedly improve this device along the way by installing, for example, a more advanced camouflage system in order to avoid the attention of security systems for longer, or additional memory cards that allow you to download more interesting information. This information includes dangerous viruses that may still be useful in the future, and even... users stuck in artificial reality, whose body has long died, but whose mind is functioning properly! And they can also be put to good use...
However, the virtual world will not save you from the dangers of the ordinary world. In fact, after being bitten by a vampire, a person immediately falls into eternal slavery to their, vampires, ancestor and ruler. Stark, however, is able to remain independent for some time due to a computer chip implanted in his brain, which consumes energy to fight other people's influence. The problem is that there is just nothing left of energy - enough for a few more days, and then the free life is over. Your remaining time is displayed as a green “humanity” scale, inexorably decreasing with each inappropriate action you have committed. From time to time, for example, you have to drink blood, otherwise you will simply die of hunger. But at the same time, every “meal” makes you less human. Similarly, the simple killing of innocents works. So you need to think about the consequences of your actions in advance.
However, the BloodNet gameplay itself will not allow bloodthirsty players to roam too much. Of course, you will have to fight, and a lot, but much more time will need to be spent in conversations with dozens of different characters that inhabit Manhattan. You can’t move everywhere in the game, only certain locations are available, but there are a lot of these locations, and even more will open over time. Locals, whether they are other hackers, members of various gangs and groups, frequenters of bars, for the most part are happy to share their pressing problems with you and ask you to do them a couple of favors. Their orders are far from always simple, and even more so no one will explain to you in detail where to go and what to do, but you still have to fulfill them, because without certain connections and the necessary share of influence, you will never hit the trail that will lead you to the cherished deliverance from the curse. To make it easier to cope with tasks, you can always hire additional fighters to the team. You will have to spend some money on this, but in return you will be able to create a squad, each member of which complements the others with their skills. For example, religious fanatics are the best at dealing with vampires, and an observant hero will find more items when examining a room.
Speaking of battles, in BloodNet they take place in a turn-based mode, and you can completely give this part under the control of the computer, or you can personally give the characters orders between turns about which item to use and where to shoot. Renzoom himself, being a half-vampire, delights in the ability to take control of the mind of the enemy and force him to fire on his own. Other vampires, however, may do the same to members of your party if they are not strong enough in their faith. It is better to equip your most righteous fighters in advance not only with a large-caliber rifle, but also with long-tried means of fighting evil spirits, which include all kinds of crosses, holy water and aspen stakes.
As a result, BloodNet appears before us as an interesting RPG on two topics at once - cyberpunk and vampires, and provides players with many interesting and new features and eventful gameplay. Only a serious approach to business, a thorough study of all areas and a comprehensive study of the situation can help Ransom Stark become a man again. And if you are not afraid of the dangers of Manhattan, steeped in sins, it's time to find out all its dark secrets!