Overblood

Overblood

Electronic Arts brings over an obscure Japanese title with positive results.

Jewel Case Release – 2 Ring

Genre:
Puzzle Adventure
CDs: 1
(609.9 Megs)
Players:
1 Player
ESRB: Teen
Animated Violence
Publisher:
Electronic Arts
Retail Barcode:
0 14633 07790 2
Memory:
1 Block
Developer:
Riverhill Soft
Sony ID:
SLUS-00464
Accessories:
None
Released:
May 22, 1997
PSRM:
006610

Evil is Your Blood

You wake up from a cryogenic sleep with no memory. Stumbling through an underground base, you discover that an evil virus courses through your veins. You must find an antidote… and soon. With help from a friendly robot and a mysterious woman, you must battle infected clones and uncover the secrets of the base. Survival is only half the battle – to prevail, you must defeat the mysterious scientist who controls your destiny.

Features:

  • Control 3 characters with unique abilities to complete your quest
  • Full camera movement in 3D Environment including 1st person mode
  • Compelling and suspenseful storyline that draws you into the drama
  • Gather clues, manage resources, and use your intuition to stay alive

Review

When Capcom unleashed Resident Evil onto an unsuspecting gaming crowd in the mid 90s, I don’t think they anticipated the new reality they were about to create. From that first day that RE1 hit store shelves, every game that would come after it that even remotely had a zombie or a weird camera angle would be compared to the Raccoon City masterpiece. While this is mostly unfair except to games directly copying off the source material, it’s the sad truth that the rest will never get their true moment in the sun, no matter how short that time may be.

OverBlood is developed by Riverhill Soft, a company who holds a very special place in my heart for reasons most of you will probably not recognize. They’re responsible for the LaserActive games Blue Chicago Blues and Manhattan Requiem; two of the most engrossing, well written, plot driven games ever created. Sadly those games were released on a $1200 Laserdisc player that needed another $300 module to play the $100 disc. You can understand why most have never heard of them.

With their PlayStation outing, the creative staff seemed stuck for an encore. OverBlood’s box copy reveals way more than it should, so I’ll try to dance around that to avoid spoilers. Your character wakes up from a deep sleep, practically naked and in cold storage. Little by little, he’ll uncover bits of his past while meeting up with another mysterious figure and adorable robot buddy. The game’s cast is insanely small – if you remove nameless faces, all that’s left are 4 characters, and that’s including the various clones counting as 1 person just copied and pasted.

Unlike Resident Evil, the game is in full 3D with no static backgrounds. Considering how early this was in the system’s life (1995 in Japan – it took almost a year to reach the US), this was fairly admirable. The graphics are plain, but clean and what few details that are there are sharp, especially in S-Video. The dwellings get a bit more decorated once he reaches the final hour or so of the game. It’s important to note that the game has three camera angles:  close, free, and first person view. Free is usually the best choice, except in tight corners where the camera will spins like crazy. The first person view is mandatory for using the pistol, or when trying to walk thin areas. The character animations are pretty bad, however  Raz always looks like he’s trying to hold imaginary six-shooters, and if he gets stuck on a clipping issue, he looks like he’s trying to mime leaning against a wall.

If anyone is a big audiophile, time to run screaming from the room with the game on. There’s only  music when needed for a moody scene, and the majority of the voice actors don’t quite nail it, but there is one bright spot; Frank Welker,  the voice of Megatron and about 90 billion other characters, carries a role here as well. Oddly enough, Peepo, the eventual robot buddy, steals the show in each scene it’s in, and all he does is peep!

Now for the interesting part: the game is literally 3 and a half to 4 hours, tops. That’s not including replaying sections due to death. The length is easily faked to feel longer by the rather laid back approach to exploration. You really only fight 4 or so clones with the rest of the time just trying to find the way out of the lab. Does this make the game worthless? Not at all!  Think of it like a movie. For under $20 one can get a great 3-hour interactive B-Movie film wrapped up on a shiny black platter. It’s a great at-least-once kind of game and this was the third time I went through it. If solving puzzles that involve anti-gravity units and laser knifes sounds exciting, gamers will get a decent chuckle out of OverBlood.

Media

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Screenshots

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Variants

  • There are no known Variants for this game.

Trivia

  • OverBlood had a sequel in Japan and Europe, but was never released in America.
  • The game has no Auto Save function, and the Continue option means to continue from a Save Game. Make sure you save often or you’ll be repeating a LOT of covered ground.
  • Two of the screenshots on the back of the game case are from pivotal moments in the game.
  • There is a potential huge plot hole near the end of the game, which is due to the script writers not taking into account actual in-game inventory at that specific point and time. It’s only a plot hole if you don’t have any of a certain item left in your inventory.
  • Despite the obvious (and unfair) comparisons to Resident Evil, Overblood is more a puzzle game than true survival horror. You’ll only fight about 4 ‘creatures’ in the entire game – the rest is simply trying to figure your way out of the lab.
  • Game Play Tip: Possible spoiler, but only in terms of available weapons. When you are going to use the pistol, make sure you switch to the first person-view to aim and fire. For some reason, the game is particularly picky in where and when you can hurt someone during their animation cycle.
  • I’m preparing you right now – unless you use a Cheat Device to gain Infinite Health (and for that matter, Infinite Ammo), be prepared for a long, long end boss fight. If you die, you will have to re-watch an impassable 10 minutes worth of FMV each time you continue, and it gets really old, really fast.
  • There’s a reason I used the word ‘chuckle’ in my review. The zombie / infected clones that you fight have the weirdest facial expression on them. They aren’t angry, or scary, they look more like they are clowning around.
  • Another flaw the game shows is the obvious priority the puzzle elements had over the ‘in-game world’ realities. For example, there is a section where you must deal with two shuttles in a subway-like area. Everything seems fine, until you realize there are no actual tunnels. The two tram cars are on a track the length of a really long drive-way, with a wall on either side. It would have been quicker for the characters to just walk the trail rather than do all the work the game requires you to do!

 

The Verdict

6.5Good

The Good: Cliche, but fun story | Surprisingly high resolution textures for the time

The Bad: Cut scenes can not be skipped | Voice acting is cheesier than cheese


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