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BloodNet

aka: BloodNet: The Cyberpunk Vampire Game, Bloodnet: A Cyberpunk Gothic
Moby ID: 1036
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

BloodNet is an adventure game with RPG elements.

You play as Ransom Stark, a computer hacker, scrounger or mercenary (depending on how the player answers the opening questions when they start a new game) who finds himself caught up in a sinister affair involving an evil global megacorporation, TransTechnicals, Manhattan, a fight for Cyberspace and vampires!

Ransom Stark became stricken with Hopkins-Brie Ontology Syndrome whilst working at TransTechnicals, due to his forced extended exposure to Cyberspace while he worked there. As soon as he was diagnosed he was dismissed from TransTech and found himself homeless and hopeless. Thankfully an ingenious woman, with a personal vendetta against TransTech, named Deirdre Tackett saved his life by inserting a prototype brain implant of her own design and this restoring his grip on reality.

Over the following year Ransom became known as a reliable freelance until one day he got a job worth much more than he bargained for! His employers turned out to be vampires and as part of his 'payment', Ransom was turned into a follower of the evil head-vampire, Abraham Van Helsing -- except his brain implant kicked in allowing him to keep temporary control of his humanity.

Now Ransom must put a stop to Van Helsing's plans to take over Manhattan and control Cyberspace and hopefully save himself from being a vampire before its too late!

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Credits (DOS version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 22 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 37 ratings with 4 reviews)

Excellent story, excellent setting, excellent atmosphere, horrible game.

The Good
Who's ever heard of a cyberpunk/vampire/sci-fi/thriller? The melding of the genres just seems so perfect. The storyline is told well, and the graphics successfully capture the dark and futuristic atmosphere. Building weapons is fun too. I loved the flamethrower. The fighting is also fun, as it's sometimes satisfying to fire a couple sawed-off shotgun rounds at someone's head.

The Bad
Horrible gameplay. The one thing I always hated about adventure games was that you could do miss one item and be stuck for the rest of the game. In this game, you constantly need blood. Say you suck the blood of a major character. There goes the story. Your so-called skills play almost no part in the entire game, since everything is already scripted. The so-called Shadowrun-ish Net is a farce, since you don't really do anything but type the address you want to go to and listen to people talk.

The Bottom Line
The closest a computer RPG has ever come to a digital version of Shadowrun; too bad the game sucks.

DOS · by SebastianLi (52) · 2000

Should have been a book.

The Good
I love Bloodnet for a simple fact: The dialogues are brilliant. Well written and full of slang and dry humor, they sketch a clear picture of the speaker's personality. The game more or less revolves around talking to lots of people, and those conversations are the prime source for the dense atmosphere. As if Microprose's graphic department wanted to underline this point, they made the portrait pictures displayed during the dialogues stunningly beautiful. After that, they obviously lost interest. Most backgrounds and sprites are not only ugly, but even unconsciously funny.

The Bad
I loathe Bloodnet for a simple fact: The game mechanics are awful. I could ramble about the awkward interface or the unpredictable battles, but there's a much, much more important spoiler: Maneuvering yourself into a dead-end is as easy as pie. Whoops, sucked the blood out of a plot protagonist by mistake? Can't solve the game, restart. Argh, forgot to take this essential item after a key battle? It's been removed with the dead body, restart. Sell important objects, lose needed party members -- the game won't even warn you. There's plenty of ways to happily walk into your doom in Bloodnet, and I could not even say the designers did it on purpose: It's a mix of carelessness, poor balancing, bad playtesting, and exaggerated ambitions.

The Bottom Line
If you're a fan of great dialogues and a credible cyberpunk atmosphere, play and enjoy Bloodnet. But have a walkthrough ready. You'll need it. Pros might want to look into Bloodnet for another reason: It's one of the few games that comes close to being truly non-linear. This is a astonishingly thrilling experience, despite the awful gameplay. Try it!

DOS · by -Chris (7762) · 2000

The original urban-dystopian RPG

The Good
This game was never really a fan favourite. I can see why, but it's also clear to me why it was one of my cherished games as a late teen. The collective of writers, graphic artists and composer(s) in Bloodnet is nothing short of brilliant when it comes to setting a particular mood. I would label this unique mood as, well, urban-dystopian-futuristic-cyberpunk-gothic-mystic: a deliciously unique mess that ends up being both oppressive and enchanting at the same time, which is quite a feat in my book. Especially four years before the original Fallout.
It's amazing what Microprose can bring out of the dedicated player with little more than a mixture of pre-rendered and handdrawn futuristic stills, and peculiar midi music to match. Especially back then as a teen, Bloodnet's distinctive atmosphere engulfed my very essence and managed to linger around me even when I was not actually playing it. Few games (or movies, or books) are capable of this, as it takes a certain kind of giftedness, one that this bunch of developers happened to possess.

I also like the fact that Bloodnet is a game of alloys: it fuses classic adventure with RPG, a distant future with Medieval vampire myths, a bright and loud metropolis with a dark and silent mystery, a detailed and possible future with implausible supernatural goings-on. This aspect was accomplished well.

The Bad
On the other hand, the game feels like it is not interested in letting us actually play it, but only in showing off its cool graphics, ambient music and, above all, writing. At the same time, it clearly has high ambitions of attempting to merge the genres of laidback point-and-click adventure and rigid stat-based RPG. The end result is a weird mishmash of endless conversations, heavy turn-based combat, and wandering about on motionless landscapes. Weirdness can be a good and a bad thing, and in this case it's both. Part of the appeal, I think (at least for me).

My biggest beef with the overall experience is the pre-scripted, absolutely non-interactive dialogs. Again, the sprawling, gritty conversations in this game are masterfully written and are just as memorable, if not more, than the ones in big-time sci-fi movies like Blade Runner, but leaving them non-interactive is the biggest deal-breaker, a missed chance for an additional layer of depth and player involvement.

The Bottom Line
Bloodnet is not a good game. It feels static and almost non-interactive. It is, however, a good experience. So good that it ended up as one of the very few games from the early 90's that I actively revisit from time to time. The ultimate praise I can give the game, I think, is that it is a spiritual and atmospheric precursor to the Deus Ex series and VTM: Bloodlines, which are of course much better games, but Bloodnet holds its own against them in terms of mood, writing and originality. No small feat for a 1993 DOS game.

DOS · by András Gregorik (59) · 2014

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Rare old Bloodnet demo Jony Shahar (1825) Sep 15, 2007

Trivia

References

Check out the foreground at Transtech's nanomachines lab, and you'll see a box of Microprose's F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter 2.0.

Secrets

  • In the Well NOUN you will find a puzzle to break
  • At "The Cloisters", bite one of the people in the north room to find a Hammer on his corpse. This item cannot be found anywhere else in the game.
  • Note the ":)" on DEATH's clothes when you die
  • The Well NYVAULT is a bank, if you can find a way to take money from it, enjoy.
  • Find the Elvis Virus on the cyberspace, and make a body for him, than you'll have "the King" on your crew, and he is strong!

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1996 – #3 Best RPG in 1995 (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Zovni

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Related Sites +

  • Bloondet Intro
    Bloodnet Introduction and Screenshots.
  • Crapshoot
    A humorous review on PC Gamer
  • The Complete Unofficial Players Guide
    Quite likely the largest and most complete site about BloodNet. Contains game related info, tips and hints for playing, descriptions of items, a walkthrough and a whole lot of other related stuff.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1036
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Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tony Van.

Linux added by Sciere. Macintosh, Windows added by Foxhack. Amiga added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Jony Shahar, Johnny "ThunderPeel2001" Walker, Gonchi, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 12, 2000. Last modified April 20, 2024.