Well, since I was quite tired when I wrote today’s article, I thought that I’d review a game that I’ve been playing quite a bit recently.
I am, of course, talking about the “Plasma Pak” expansion to an old 1990s FPS game called “Blood“. Does anyone remember expansion packs? I miss them – seriously, modern “DLC” doesn’t even compare…
Anyway, the “Plasma Pak” was one of two expansions for “Blood” that come packaged with the original game if you buy the “One Whole Unit Blood” collection on either GoG or Steam. So, if you’re playing it these days, then you’ve probably already got a copy of “Blood”.
But, if for some reason you don’t, then don’t get this expansion until you do. Not only does the “Plasma Pak” require a copy of the original “Blood”, but you will need the practice before you tackle this expansion.
So, what extra stuff does the “Plasma Pak” give you? For starters, a few of the weapons now have new alternate fire modes.
The tesla cannon can now fire a concentrated burst of electricity that does a lot of damage, the napalm launcher now has a secondary fire that can pretty much wipe out everything on the screen and the life leech can now be used as an automated turret (although you can’t pick it up again afterwards).
Since these upgrades had already been applied to the main game when I played it, I didn’t really notice them too much – although each of these three alternate fires certainly came in handy. In fact, although the life leech’s alternate fire may seem kind of pointless, it was what I used to defeat the final boss in the original “Blood”.
But, the main thing that the “Plasma Pak” gives you is a whole new eight-level episode called “Post Mortem” (well, technically, it’s nine levels long but I didn’t find the secret level), which is also populated by a few new monsters too. But, I’ll talk about them a bit later.
As for the levels in “Post Mortem”, they’re surprisingly good. Although some of them are generic “old building”/”crypt”-based levels, there’s still a surprising amount of variety here and you will fight your way through interesting locations like a supermarket, a creepy old aqueduct system and some docks (with a pirate ship!) .
These levels are as well-designed and as challenging as you would expect. In other words, they’re enjoyably challenging and they require both a lot of exploration and a lot of strategic thinking. Each level will probably take you about an hour or two to complete. So, this expansion pack is almost like a small game in and of itself.
But, one of the things that annoyed me slightly was that there were quite a few underwater-based sections in some of the levels. Since you have to use old-school keyboard aiming (since there’s no modern source port for “Blood”), underwater combat can be almost frustratingly difficult at times.
Still, as I mentioned earlier, one of the things that keeps this expansion pack fresh is the fact that it contains a few new monsters to fight.
Two of these enemies are new versions of the cultists – one of them wears green robes and throws dynamite at you (and is surprisingly easy to defeat) and the other one wears blue robes and fires a tesla cannon at you. He’s surprisingly powerful and he’s also immune to tesla cannon fire too.
In addition to this, there are also two types of killer plants that appear occasionally. The green one spits slime at you and the orange one spits fireballs at you.
Even though both of these enemies are static, they’re still surprisingly challenging to defeat due to both the strength of their ranged attacks and the fact that they’re often surrounded by other enemies too:
But, the coolest new monsters are probably the little Calebs. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Army Of Darkness“, then you can probably guess what these guys look like. Hell, I only saw it once on VHS over a decade ago and I still got the reference. However, they only appear if you are foolish enough to break a mirror – so, if you see any mirrors, then be sure to aim away from them:
As well as these new monsters, the “Plasma Pak” also contains an all-new final boss too. Well, actually it contains three of them. When you start the final level, you are given a lot of ammo. Which, if you’ve ever played old FPS games, you will know is never a good sign!
But, as you explore the level further, you’ll find that it’s only populated by three cultists in orange robes. Sounds pretty easy, right? Wrong!
As soon as you kill each one of these cultists, they transform into almost-invincible troll-like creatures that will mercilessly chase you around the level. Seriously, I’m still stuck on this level at the time of writing this review.
So far, I’ve only got two of the trolls left to defeat – and the only reason I was able to defeat the other one was because a glitch in the game left it standing on top of a ledge with no way to fight back.
All in all, the “Plasma Pak” expansion for “Blood” is everything that an expansion pack should be. There’s a fair amount of new stuff, but the game is pretty much the same game that we all know and love. If you liked “Blood”, then you’ll also like the “Plasma Pak”. Well, except for the hilariously unfair final bosses, that is.
If I had to give this expansion pack a rating out of five, it would get a four.