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

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#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.

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#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.

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#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 an attempt at being balanced. Her strength is dropped to 2 out of 5, but in return her intelligence is bumped up to 4 - neither as useless with magic weapons as Caleb and Ophelia nor as weak or with as little ammo as Ishmael. This leaves her as, probably, the most fun to play as in later portions of the game, since while she loses a significant amount of ammo capacity, it’s still twice as much as Ishmael gets for only a minor reduction in the amount of 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 quite as 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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#28

“You’ve got to hand it to Cabalco. Their designer certainly went all out on this particular piece o’ property. There are wide-sweeping staircases, some strange-but-lovely art, some exceptionally fun cubicles, and more stuff to blow up than one could shake a boomstick at. All-in-all a nice spot. It could use some touching up. But, the various Cultists, Drudge-types, Shikari and Fanatics are gonna have to go. Go to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.00. The rather cuddly-looking Behemoth might be a nice addition to your own personal pet population. But sadly, it isn’t house-trained.”

Again, really nothing to say about this one. It’s our second (and thankfully final) retread of the lower levels of the Cabalco HQ - all that’s really different is it takes me two minutes this time, mostly because I somehow forgot where to go despite having done a test run the day before recording. This isn’t going to bode well for when I record the next level, considering I got lost enough to have to look up a video walkthrough twice during my test run, but we’ll get to that later.

EDIT: Heads up, there might be a delay before I can put out the next video or two. Basically my ISP somehow has me listed under the wrong address, which was somehow not a problem when we needed to have them come in to replace our modem a few years back, and might require them to shut off our Internet for a few days while they sort things out. With any luck I won’t be gone too long and will have similar speeds for a better price when I’m back, and even if I am I should be able to put together a proper backlog again.

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#29

“There’s nothing like a very hostile corporate takeover bid to invigorate one’s senses! The game of hunter and hunted has always had major appeal. This is starting to get fun. Gideon is soon to run out of hiding places. Time to tree the rat, as it were. A bit of janitorial work is at hand. Cleaning out offices has never been so much fun! Now where was that elevator to the rooftops?”

The biggest pain in this level - well, second-biggest, after its insistence on throwing another Death Shroud and a Fanatic with a sniper rifle in the same corridor - is that it expects a bit of pixel hunting. Offices all over the place in one of the first areas and you’re expected to spot a key hidden underneath one of the desks, not to mention expect the desk to just shatter normally rather than exploding in your face like all of the others do. Then the same thing again but for a switch. I got lucky and remembered where I was supposed to go on-camera this time, but I had to stop playing this level and go look up a walkthrough twice during my test run.

If there’s anything nice to be said about these levels in CabalCo’s HQ, it’s that it made me want to play FEAR again. To give you an idea how much I love that game, I started recording from a new game to get some footage to go along with the next video and ended up with fifty-five minutes’ worth of footage. I’d LP it myself if I didn’t think b00n’s LP wasn’t already a near-perfect encapsulation of everything that makes it so great.

“There’s that clay pigeon Gideon! That fairly rolls off the tongue: Pigeon Gideon. WooooHooooo! Skeet shooting is one of your favorite games. This is going to be a blast! For him. Pull! Bang! Pull! Bang! Pull! No more running Gideon. Your flight is over, schmuck. You’re outta luck.”

We end the last of the game’s full chapters with a dedicated boss fight level. Nice of them to get to the point right away for once, means I can get to the point of my commentary right away. I’m also just now noticing how appropriate it is that this level has the same title as that old LP of the first Blood I attempted on Viddler way back in 2010/2011 (spoilers for those who can’t time travel: I got stuck in the last chapter).

Also, guess how my hopes that this fight would glitch out and end early went? They went so badly I had to fully deplete his health bar twice, because the game immediately fucking crashed the first time I killed him.

Unless other issues come up in the meantime, there shouldn’t be a delay on starting the next chapter this time, because that chapter is only three levels long, and short of deciding to LP FEAR 2’s DLC or something I don’t have a whole lot left over to show off and artificially inflate the amount of effort I’m putting into these before the end credits. We’re so close to the end that I very well could be starting on the Nightmare Levels by the end of the week after the next.

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#30

“It’s a battle to the death. Preferably someone else’s. Gideon’s puppet strings can no longer be pulled and the puppeteer’s comeuppance has just come up. Ancient One? Are you listening? Then hear this…”

Nice of the interstitial text to namedrop the Ancient One, because the game proper completely fails to do so even as you’re fighting it. Oh, and that last sentence is a spoiler or something.

This video features a very special guest. It also turns out one of the admins of the Blood Wiki has discovered this LP since just before the last update, commenting that they’ve cleaned up a little on several articles for the levels I’ve covered and that they added mention of a reference I pointed out that they’d missed before, which is pretty cool.

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#31

“There’s Something Different. You can’t quite put your trigger-finger on it. Your old pals are looking rather peaked, maybe even sickly. What the heck possessed them to climb into those coffins? Hmmm. Ah, well. Nothing a bit of supplementary lead won’t cure…lead to the head, and put 'em to bed. Nighty-night, fellow Chosen. Poisonous dreams.”

A boss rush and then the final boss should spell laziness like a lot of the rest of what the game did lately - this level is so short that 95% of this video’s editing time was the dumb gimmick I went with for it - but this is actually fun. It doesn’t quite pull the same thing the first game did where the boss rush consisted of existing bosses that you’d already fought several times over because of the Doom-like insistence of turning them into regular enemies afterwards - no, these are unique enemies, or at least reskins of enemies that actually work as fun bosses rather than damage sponges that either instakill you or are simply not a threat. It’s less of a boss rush and more of an emulation of a good old-fashioned round of deathmatch.

“In the words of some long-forgotten and not-so-long-winded poet: ‘Kill it!’”

Short and sweet. I can dig it. It is sad though that I praise the game on not having its penultimate level pit me against damage sponges and the game responds by pitting me against a damage sponge. At least there’s no ceiling for it to drop on me when I hide to dodge its lasers like the boss I compare it to.

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#32

Thank you for doing this lp, it was entertaining to watch. Its a real shame about this game, as the first couple of levels looked rather fun and then it falls apart.

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#33

Glad you enjoyed it. That said, somehow I forgot to copy part of the post, so I completely forgot to mention here that I’m not done yet - I’ve still got the expansion to go through. With any luck it’ll be more polished than the base game, because I’m not seeing a whole lot of cut content for it.

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#34

The Nightmare Levels doesn’t have interstitial text the way the base game did, so there’s not gonna be much more than my own comments to go along with this last stretch of updates. The gist of the Nightmare Levels’ plot is that, as the name indicates, the levels are individual “nightmares” involving the Chosen. In Caleb’s case, his is an amalgamation of a few levels from Episode 2 of the original Blood, because apparently the second episode of any classic episodic shooter is a nightmare (see Wolf3D’s second episode).

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#35

Lost some posts from the outage, so:

As you probably guessed when I mentioned the nightmares involved all of the Chosen, one of the Nightmare Levels’ gimmicks is that the player character changes for almost every level. The good news: all four Chosen get at least one level as the “hero”, so I get to show them all off without having to do a dedicated video for that purpose. The bad news: the devs decided Ophelia’s stats needed to have her Strength and Intelligence flipped - next to no health or regular ammo, but a ton of Focus. But that’s not too much of an issue, because…

The Weapons


Flayer

A new magical weapon and the first of two new weapons in the Nightmare Levels, the Flayer is a magical hook and chain that exists mostly as another shout-out to Hellraiser. Primary fire sends out a chain that stabs into an enemy for a short time before pulling away to damage them further. Secondary creates a trap that fires multiple hooks into a victim all at once. Uses Focus as ammo, 25 per primary throw and 100 for secondary.

I’ll try not to make JoJo references. Especially since I still haven’t watched/read/whatever JoJo.

I’m sorry to say, however, that the devs completely slipped on this level and forgot what not to do. To put it simply, Ishmael’s level is not designed with Ishmael in mind. He has only 1 Strength, which means he tops out at 100 health and 100 bullets. This is not the kind of guy who is designed for shootouts with multiple cultists clowns and/or Shikari. This is not the kind of guy who is designed to take on any amount of Drudge Lords or Priests. This is definitely not the kind of person who needs to fight off a Behemoth, much less in a small and cramped area - especially since the one thing they did to make it at least possible, lining the room with several ammo pickups, is mostly wasted due to the fact that A) some of those pickups are explosives, which the room is definitely not large enough to safely use, and B) the Shikari that inhabit that room first can and will pick up the ammo themselves if they run over it while you’re trying to get in to kill them in the first place.

By all means it sounds like a level where everyone just said “fuck it” and got drunk instead of playtesting it, but the fact that there actually is a method to get through the level (particularly dodging Drudge Lord attacks by standing still, of all things) and more Life Seeds in this one level than I think I saw through all of Chapter 2 leads me to believe it’s instead supposed to be a “hardcore” type deal. An expert FPS, so to speak. We all know how that tended to work out back around the turn of the millennium, though at least this one remembered to account for people who insisted on not turning on God mode from the start rather than waiting until the second quarter to start being reasonable.

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#36

After what the last level put me through, the simplicity of this one and then dying two minutes into a preliminary attempt at a test run on the next makes me feel like this expansion is a roller-coaster - starts good, dips to shit, gets back to good, then heads back to shit. We’ll have to see how the finale holds up, but given the even number of levels and the existing pattern (considering there were two good levels before it started dipping into shit) I don’t really have a good feeling about it at this juncture. Regardless, this level is more than passable even at its worst, and we also get introduced to the final weapon of the combined game.

The Weapons


Pancor Jackhammer

Everyone’s favorite shotgun from the '90s, that point in time when people realized mag-fed auto-shotguns were the coolest idea ever but nobody outside of China had both enough money and any fucking clue how to make one that worked correctly. The Jackhammer has a tighter spread than ye old sawed-off and fires faster overall due to the lack of a reloading delay, but deals less damage overall for the amount of ammo used. Primary fire fires shells at a decently-fast rate, while secondary acts like the M16’s grenade launcher with the addition of emitting poisonous smoke from the explosion, damaging anyone caught within the cloud. Uses shotgun shells for primary fire, two per shot, and pesticide for secondary, five per grenade.

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#37

Not much more to go. I have mixed feelings on this level. It’s pretty difficult, but it doesn’t feel unfairly so like JoJo’s Ishmael’s level did - the worst I really got in the test run was eating a faceful of buckshot from guys in the opening area, which isn’t really a “this level is overly difficult what the hell” thing so much as a common occurrence that only stands out because it’s the first time an enemy used a shotgun for it. On the other hand, Death Shrouds present at all in the level lowers my mood, even if I can easily avoid them, and the game’s insistence on using the Behemoth as a boss fight is getting really goddamned old now that we’ve done this same song and dance four times.

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#38

I’m having a hard time figuring out what exactly I can say about this level. Somehow, an expansion that was, for the most part, on track to being a far better game than the original was, took an immediate turn back into everything that made the original Blood II a nightmare to play - stupidly annoying enemy placement, a boss fight that’s boring because the devs had an unreasonable love for a damage sponge boss that’s not really any threat in any sort of fair manner (and, apparently, on the hardest difficulty you have to fight two of these fuckers), limited supplies to deal with the damage sponge, and constantly fucking crashing. I still maintain this game did some things right, and that its existence was totally necessary as a stepping-stone towards better games like No One Lives Forever or Condemned, but this is going to be one case where I’m glad I’ll never have to play this game again once I’m finally finished LPing this thing.

That said, I’m not quite finished yet - there’s still a bonus video I’m working on to showcase the weapons and enemies and other stuff I missed or feel I didn’t give a good demonstration of. We’ll see when I can get that out (might just be on the regular schedule, depending on how many secrets there are that I can find through other people’s videos or whatever), and then we’re finished.

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#39

And that’s that, then. The final bits of Blood II: The Chosen I wasn’t able to get or otherwise properly show off in the regular playthrough.

Somehow, this felt simultaneously like it took no time at all and took far longer than I really could have expected - the earliest parts feel like forever ago, and at the same time I can remember almost every bit of work I put into this.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end, everyone. I think it’s gonna be a little while before I jump back on to do LP stuff, but I’ll be back.

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#40

Congrats on finishing it, I am glad that you were finally able to complete something 10 years in the making. I only tried playing Blood II once but my PC didn’t like it all too much.

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