Blade Runner (videogame)

From Academic Kids

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BladeRunner_PC_Game_(Front_Cover).jpg
Front cover

Blade Runner was a Westwood Studios PC game loosely based on the 1982 movie of the same name. Released in 1997, the game was advertised as "the first real time adventure game". The story featured "blade runner" Ray McCoy searching for replicants in Los Angeles in the year 2019. While it was generally agreed that the game's graphics and sound succeeded in adapting the cult film's haunting atmosphere, the designers' attempt at innovating gameplay (such as simplifying the interface, adding action elements, replacing a traditional inventory with a database of clues, and randomization of some events and multiple endings) were given mixed reviews.

Contents

Background and Plotline

Blade Runner is strongly based on the 1982 movie of the same name, as such it could be considered an adaptation of sorts. The game is set just weeks (possibly days) prior to the movie (we can see this as Tyrell hasn't been killed yet, aswell as many more minor plot details), in November of 2019. Our protagonist, Ray McCoy, is a rookie Bladerunner under command of Guzza, a police officer of superior rank. True to the film, the environment is similar, a dystopian, heavily polluted Los Angeles, brought to life heavily by the fledling 3D Real Time technology of the day. Also included are some landmarks from the movie, such as the dominating Tyrell pyramid structures.

McCoy is faced with the task of tracking down a group of replicants and "retiring" (killing) them. The game is unique to the point and click genre in that it begins in a highly complicated fashion, and continues that way till the game's conclusions. You progress through a number of crime scenes, in which you must gather evidence, this is a matter of being highly observative of surroundings aswell as using techniques typical of detectives.

Traits

The Blade Runner videogame is notable for its accurate, even lovingly imitated environments, and for remaining quite true to Philip K Dick's novel. Some would argue the game is even truer to the book, in that Ray McCoy is more troubled by his identity than Deckard (the movie's main character). Ray laments through a character named Lucy, who faces a similar dilemma; the theme is carried further by the many choices the player can make for Ray, which determine his eventual fate. Unusually for games of that era, Blade Runner has full voice acting for all dialogue. Puzzle solving is a major element of the game: one must solve a number of compulsory puzzles/find a number of clues in order to progress the game's storyline.

Clues are found by searching crime scenes and areas in general, the first such scene being a trashed pet shop. Clues come in the form of items, photographs, personal interviews or unusual markings. One can also use the ESPER system, located in the police precinct and in McCoy's apartment, to enhance photos, potentially finding some crucial information. Blade Runner can become very difficult as it requires some deductive skills to solve the difficult puzzles.

Combat in Blade Runner is occasional and extremely simplistic. There is one weapon in the game, Ray's standard issue police pistol, though different varieties of ammunition are available.

In 1997 when the game was released, Westwood promoted the game's supposedly unique "Real Time" system, which mainly comprises a series of scripted character paths and events; in theory add up to a highly replayable game. It also includes considerable randomization of certain events, but ultimately these do not have a major effect. The game includes four different endings, some of which vary slightly depending on choice. Much akin to Philip K Dick's writing (or many crime novels), the game deceives and confuses the player intermittently, before eventually allowing them to choose Ray's destiny.

Characters

The aforementioned Ray McCoy is the games hero and a rookie police officer. McCoy seems younger and more naive than his film counterpart, having not actually gained Blade Runner status yet in the game, but instead is working towards a promotion to full Blade Runner. He lives with his pet canine Maggie in apartment 88F (interestingly, there is some obscurity as to whether Maggie herself is artificial or not).

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Back cover showing Lucy, Crystal and Rachael

Crystal Steele is a colleague of McCoys, she is a sassy, witty female detective who also happens to be working alongside McCoy within the Blade Runner unit. She is very much for the extermination of replicants and appears at various stages in the game depending on the player's actions. She is an excellent marksman, scoring an almost perfect score on the gun range.

Gaff is a character originally presented in the film. He is a competent, veteran cop who appears at various intervals to give (somewhat condescending) advice to McCoy, who he seems to see as young and thus unpredictable. He taunts "You killed anyone yet?" in a semi-playful, semi-serious attempt to coax McCoy into a response. He shares Crystal's view on replicants.

Lieutenant Guzza is the tough superior to McCoy and overall commander of the Blade Runner unit and remains in his office for the majority of the game. For the most part, he is bad-tempered; the dire state of the police force in 2019 is expressed through his character (i.e. he isn't able to provide McCoy with even petty funds), indicating a decisive shift in social power to the corporation. During the game, Guzza is standing in for Captain Byrant, who is taking sick leave.

Clovis, Sadik, Suden, Dektora and Early Q are the game's replicants. Little emphasis is put on their characters other than their goal to evade retirement and exit Earth on the moonbus. While not overly aggressive or hateful towards human beings (Clovis & Sadik being the exceptions), the replicants are extremely wary of their status as fugitives. Some of the replicants hold down jobs; Suden works in a Chinese restuarant's kitchen as a chef, Dektora as an actress/model, while Early Q is the owner of a nightclub.

Tyrell is another character originally presented in the film, the CEO of the Tyrell corporation. As he is not yet deceased, one assumes the game is set shortly prior to the film. Tyrell owns an artificial owl, which are very rare as owls were one of the first species to become extinct following World War III.

Lucy is a teenager of about 14 who is unsure and very concerned of whether she is a replicant or a human. The extent to which she can appear in the game depends on the player's actions. If, however, she comes to interact with Ray, she grows very fond of him, seeing him as a dependable figure.

Rachel is Tyrell's secretary, and as with Rachel in the film, is a replicant who mimics humanity extremely well. Again, as she has not yet paired with Deckard, one assumes the game is set shortly prior to the movie.

J.F Sebastian is also similar to his film counterpart, a reclusive loner residing in the bleak Bradbury Building, accompanied only by his eerie robotic puppet. He owns several futuristic devices, such as a synthetic egg creator. He is one of the chief scientists who assisted in the creation of the Nexus 6 replicant models.

Chew is one of the scientists who assisted the Tyrell corporation in the creation of replicants, unlike J.F, his speciality is eyes. He is much like the Chew we see in the motion picture, highly intelligent, but at the same time a wary, eccentric and cautious person.

Bryant is the police captain of the precinct, but is supposedly absent from the game due to sick leave. His stand in is Lieutenant Guzza.

Izo is a gun dealer of seemingly Asian descent specializing in rare, high specification automatic weaponry. He supplies guns to the replicants and is a replicant sympathizer. He also owns a Samurai sword, and when cornered he becomes highly aggressive. Prior to becoming a felon, he was a member of a fledgling replicant sympathizer group.

Bob is a grizzled veteran of World War III (which appears to have been a pivotal event a decade or so prior to 2019). He mentions he served for around three and a half years. He owns the gunshop across the street from Animoid Row, and appears to be suffering from some physical disabilities.

Other more minor characters include the police station cops, whom you may interact with at certain crime scenes, the precinct's forensic examiner and the elderly couple selling grilled tofu-like food.

External links

fr:Blade Runner (jeu vidéo)

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