Blood II: The Chosen - All in all, I'd rather be killing stuff

informative
video
shooter

#21

“Now entering New Town, home of Cabalco Industries’ immense corporate Headquarters! Riots and civil uprisings are rarely a problem anymore! Overlooking the lovely burning river of White Rock, New Town is the near-perfect picture of a city only gently-oppressed by a giant, amoral megacorp! Sure, we admit that there are still the occasional ritual sacrifices, or kidnapping-by-dark, and yes, sometimes people disappear never to be seen or heard from again, but the streets are mostly safe and clean, and our economy is on the rise with only a few minor hiccups. We’re New Town! Cabalco is our friend!”

We’re entering the endgame here, so things are going to be getting more serious, at least as far as enemy count and placement goes. Fanatics are going to start giving way for the occasional Prophet, and there’s just going to be more and more Shikari and Drudge Lords. This is also the point where the developers forgot to give unique names to the levels so a good half of them are labeled “Cabalco Industries”.

The Weapons


CabalCo Death Ray

A new energy weapon, developed by CabalCo’s Advanced Weapons Division to be used in urban warfare by allowing ricocheting shots from behind cover without losing effectiveness. The design is based on the ray guns used by the Martians in 1996’s Mars Attacks! (info thanks to your evil twin). Primary fire shoots out a green laser that bounces off of walls and deals a decent amount of damage to whatever it hits - including the user, so some care is required before using (though not too much, it’s not Daikatana’s ion blaster that actively targets the user after two bounces). Secondary causes the weapon to tremble for a bit before emitting puffs of smoke in a cone at a decent rate, which deals a lot of damage but with incredibly short reach. Uses batteries as ammo, which Caleb can carry 500 of; primary uses 1 unit per shot and secondary uses 2.


#22

“Worried about your future? Did the other students terrorize you at your high school? Are you in need of a truly challenging career? Then join the ranks of Cabalco’s Security Division. You don’t know what a challenging day is… unless you’ve spent it naked-and-sweltering, inside a small, dark, nearly-airless-metal-box with only your feeble grip on sanity, and a couple o’ dozen hungry rats to keep you company! But enough about me! Our intense regimen of general-degradation and sock-beatings will make you feel like a new man, or woman! At the end of our 12 step program you’ll be handed a big gun and given daily life-and-death control over others! That’ll show those small-minded bastards you went to school with!”

I’m honestly having a hard time finding things to say about this level for this, even though I enjoyed myself in it. I guess just imagine the Center for Disease Management if it weren’t kind of trying to present itself as a legitimate business. Or the CAS Revenant interior if it were a good level.

The Weapons


Vulcan Cannon

The biggest and baddest of the regular bullet-firing weapons, a four-barreled beast that achieves accuracy through target saturation - after all, more bullets means more hits (source: Raymond Reinhardt, CEO of the World Federation). Both fire modes spray bullets in the general direction you’re aiming at like the MAC-10, but much faster and with more damage; the longer the trigger is held, the longer the weapon takes to wind down before you can start firing again the next time. Uses bullets, 4 per individual shot.


#23

“You’ve reached Cabalco’s top-secret High Temple. We’re not here at the moment, but please feel free to give blood, preferably human or goat, at the door. If this is an emergency, please light 69 white candles, scratch a large pentagram into the concrete floor with your fingernails, and dance, skyclad within it, after painting yourself with the blood of your torn and stumpy fingers while chanting to our dark god. An insidious servant of the Underworld will be with you shortly. Thank you for your patience!”

Level names like this make me glad I’m small-time enough that YouTube in general doesn’t notice me. The way things have been going lately, soon as I get really noticed they’re going to bring the hammer down on this video just because of the name and/or tags.

This update also neatly coincides with the one-year anniversary of me getting into Final Fantasy XIV, which I’m choosing to celebrate by resubscribing, so don’t be surprised if more updates end up being delayed by several minutes from me getting too focused on that game and forgetting what time it is.

The Characters


Ophelia Price
The last of the Chosen to be reunited with Caleb - appropriate, thematically or some other fancy word, given she was Caleb’s lover in the past. Interestingly, Ishmael’s dialogue indicated that she was actually the first to come back. Next to Caleb her pre-Cabal life has the most info about it, which, in terms of a Doom clone that saw the sort of innovation GoldenEye brought to the table and eschewed a lot of that out of spite, isn’t a whole lot. Her accent gives the impression she’s descended from English roots, though it’s unknown whether her parents moved then had her, or if she was born there then moved to America. She is also the only member of the Chosen known to have been legally married, though again whether she joined the Cabal then married another cultist or married someone who then dragged her into the Cabal is unknown (the expansion suggests the former, but, well… there are issues taking that at face value, is all I’ll say for now). Beyond that it’s known that she eventually had a child with him, but not very long after that child’s birth, her husband attempted to rescind his membership in the Cabal. They, naturally, didn’t take kindly to this, torching their homestead, an event which left Ophelia’s husband and child dead and her a gibbering wreck - which is where Caleb comes into the story. As mentioned before, she eventually returned to the Cult after Caleb took her in, dragging him along with her, the two becoming lovers as well as members of Tchernobog’s elite Chosen. And, like the others, she was killed on the fateful day their dark god’s plan for power started, kidnapped and killed by the gargoyle lord Cheogh, her corpse left on display to taunt Caleb following his return.

In gameplay terms, Ophelia is the closest to balanced. Her strength is dropped to only 4 out of 5, but in return her intelligence is bumped up to 2 - not quite as strong as Caleb or Gabriella, but not as dumb as they are either. This leaves her as, probably, the most fun to play as in later portions of the game, since she only loses a little bit of ammo capacity in exchange for double the Focus, letting her play around more with the magic weapons without completely handicapping herself from using the much more varied and common firearms, and also not being ridiculously easy to ventilate before she can get her hands on a weapon she’s good with. When idle, she will randomly recite verses from Oscar Wilde’s “The Dole of the King’s Daughter” or Anne Sexton’s “The Truth the Dead Know”.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing new to say about Ophelia’s voice - Lani Minella pulls double duty, as she was wont to do in the late '90s, voicing Ophelia as well as Gabriella.

The Weapons


Life Leech

Another returning magical weapon, the Life Leech is a staff with a skull on one end that fires off highly-damaging magical energy. It’s both better and worse in this game; it doesn’t deal quite as much damage as it used to, the projectiles curve in odd ways past close range, and they have splash damage so you can easily hurt yourself, but it now uses regenerating Focus instead of trapped souls or your own health, meaning you’re not playing a delicate balancing act between the health used to power it versus the health drained from your target for 85% of the time you’ve got one because the devs forgot to put more than one non-secret ammo pickup per episode. Primary fire launches a stream of magical energy which deals decent damage and absorbs health from the target at a rate of around 1 health per Focus point. Secondary uses up all of the player’s Focus to trigger a damaging shockwave that sends enemies flying, though knowing this game probably doesn’t actually damage them all that much. Uses Focus.


Ophelia’s version of the knife: a long and thin stiletto-type blade.


#24

“Welcome to Checkpoint Gnarly. Ha. The security around here looks a little overly… fanatical. There’s got to be an alternate entrance to the Cabalco HQ. In the meantime, it might be wise to do a bit of cleansing, and take down some unworthy opponents. Sometimes you have to make a bit of a mess to get a place clean. You’re just glad that you don’t have to get those gray-matter stains off the walls. Those have to be a serious drag when they’ve had time to dry. Time to make your own ‘unlimited-access’ pass.”

And we’re finally at the CabalCo HQ. Even though the loading screen text says otherwise - this is why I say take anything the game says there with a grain of salt. This is going to be an “interesting” part of the game because it’s going to try doing a hub-style level thing again but with shorter stops between retreads. As far as gameplay goes it’s going to turn into a slog real damn quick, but for you guys this means more chances for me to talk about the history of games from October and November of 1998.


#25

“Time to shut these bastards down. Pull their plug. No more AC! Hell, no more DC! Welcome to the power station… you are grid-failure incarnate. The excitement just sizzles around here. Sizzles so much that you could be quick-fried to a crackly crunch, and after your recent train experiences you have very little interest in becoming a conductor. Time to do you what you do best… break stuff. And what better way to start than with fanatical types. Get to work O’ circuit breaker.”

A short level, but surprisingly painful. I can guess this was the handiwork of the same guy who made the CAS Revenant interior.


#26

“Looking for work? Cabalco could always use an extra body! We’re constantly hiring, and boy do we have perks. You’ll get to work in a vast new skyscraper, we’ve got soda and coffee machines on every floor, our, ahem, medical-treatment-plan is out of this world. At Cabalco, even if you are at the bottom rung looking up, we promise that you’ll get an underling in no time! Our, er, Human Resources Department doesn’t put you through any of the onerous stuff that those other corporations require. Inexperienced? No problem! We don’t even require a resume (much less an application). Just show up and you are ours, I mean, um, you get the job. Cabalco is an unequal opportunity employer.”

There’s not even anything to say about this one, at least as far as the actual Blood II gameplay goes. It’s a retread that only breaks the one-minute mark because I hung back to grab the Life Seed again. This would normally be double-feature time but this one took quite a bit of effort to put together I’m lazy.

Apologies in advance for the poor consistency of the framerates on the other games’ footage, Dxtory doesn’t recognize them and OBS generally refuses to play nice (especially with Half-Life) no matter what settings I try. For a series where they’re only the focus of one video out of about 32 I figure it’s not that important.


#27

“Ah, science! You fondly remember the first time you got to dissect something. You were all aquiver with excitement as you began to flay the skin off the fetid corpse. The muscle tissues danced when you applied just the tiniest bit of voltage, and boy were you surprised when you opened the bowels by accident! What a gas! Well, enough daydreaming… time to get to it and find the entrance to Cabalco’s R&D.”

I feel the CAS Revenant is going to become my new shorthand for LP-induced PTSD the same way Azerbaijan used to be back when I did Call of Duty 4 around 2010, except not made irrelevant by the service the videos are hosted on killing itself through stupidity a year after I finish this.

It’s actually kind of weird to think that I’ll be at the point where I’ve been LPing on-and-off for ten years by the time I’m done with this game, especially with the full-circle deal considering this was the first game I seriously attempted to LP back in those yonder days of early 2009. That I’m probably going to end up celebrating this by playing more FFXIV starting on things that are less like traditional LPs feels a little weird too, but I guess that’s what happens when you do something without burning yourself out on it after a decade.

The Weapons


Singularity Generator

The plot device weapon and BFG equivalent, and fittingly the last of the game’s arsenal. Repeatedly used by Gideon and some of his lackeys in multiple attempts to kill Caleb, it instead remains unpredictable enough that it actually brings back the other Chosen, at which point CabalCo spends most of the rest of the game fixing it because with all of the Chosen back there’s no telling what kinds of horrors it might pull out next. They eventually get it working… just in time for Caleb to bust in and steal it. Primary fire launches a large purple vortex which sucks in enemies, damaging them all along the way until they reach the center, which supposedly deals no damage - so long as there’s enough room for everyone caught in the blast to get there, or even for the main target to fit if they’re big enough. Secondary does the same as primary; early versions had it create a vortex with the player in the center, damaging them and drawing them in close for a shotgun blast, but a later patch removed it, probably because a strategy revolving around the shotgun is a bad idea between the wildly-random damage values, the abundance of hitscan enemies, and the game’s complete failure to continue adequately supplying you with shotgun shells by the point you get the gun. Ultimately, looks cool, but not the best option for one of your last weapons available. Uses batteries as ammo, 50 per shot.