Retro 'Lets play!' Blood & Magic.

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by Vanne, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Introduction...


    Blood & Magic
    Producer:Tachyon Studios Inc.
    Publisher:Interplay Entertainment Corp.
    Year:1996

    Its a funny game this one, you'll either get lost in the game, just to see another chapter of the rather well written story, or you'll just absolutely hate it. When I fist came across Blood & Magic (henceforth now known as BAM), a story in itself, walked into a servo to pay for gas (in Belgium) and was checking out a few porno mags, while waiting for the line to get smaller, I spotted this game box... It was hidden under a bunch of french penthouse mags.

    s-l640.jpg
    Overview
    "Prepare to enter five sweeping tales of enchantment and conquest set in the most popular fantasy world of all time... TSR's Forgotten Realms.

    "In a mysterious corner of the Forgotten Realms, powerful mages prepare for battle using magic long lost. You are one of those wizards, conjuring warriors, wyverns, sirens, wraiths and more. Armed with ancient artifacts, your troops rally forth to battle goblin hordes, dark wizards, and lords of chaos. Can you defeat your foes to become master of the realm?"

    I snatched that box, payed for my gas and the game, and got the heck outa there, drove home and put the CD in my used IBM thinkpad (486DX) booted it up, ran the sound config menu and then started the game. I played that for at least 3 or 4 months... great little game.. a little like Warcraft 1/2, but more complex. There are some issues with the game, for starters the intro you see up there, i have never seen before and I have 3 different copies of this game, the intro movie doesnt work on any of them.. lol There are also some issues with path finding.. but if you install the patch, this gets much better... Thats the bad stuff.. now for the good stuff...
    .
    The story line is these 5 campaigns is pretty epic, I enjoyed them a lot, the settings are lush and very well detailed (at 800x600 :) and the monsters and items are plenty full. The main object of the game is to win the map, and you do this of-course by building an army (or bunch of characters together). The way you do this however is rather different..

    You control a Blood Forge,

    blood-and-magic-14.png
    (in this pic the Blood Forge from the blue side is the shown with a bunch of Basal Golems around it)

    So this blood forge is where you get your power from (in Mana in this game) and you use it to initially create a Basal Golem (costs 20 Mana) and then you can transform these Golems, into the characters that you will need to wage the war. Sounds complex, it isn't.. Also while your Golem hasn't been transformed yet, he acquires mana, which you then transfer to your Blood Forge, and can use this to create more Basal Golems, and or transform Golems into other stuff.. again, sounds complex, it really isn't..

    blood-magic_4.gif (Red Golums trying to crash a party at the Blue's house)

    blood-and-magic-15.big.jpg
    (that blue Golem is a gonner!, or this is a a set from the Walking dead!)

    The game has a tutorial, which i recommend, its not very long but does explain the concept of the Blood Forge much better than I did.

    The campaigns are detailed via a story line, which is a great way to bring about the action. You choose a story from the map. blood-magic_9.png

    Blood and Magic _6.png
    I absolutely love the pixel art style in this game and the sound and voice acting is a lot of fun. Pretty cool little game.. give it a go, who knows, you might like it. You'll have no issues running this game as the file comes with a dos Box install.

    Oh and in case your wondering, yeah I did buy that porno mag too... ;)

    Great little game this, has to its credit the first EVER Dungeons and Dragons license tie in to a video game. The cut scenes were drawn by Pete Ledger, see if you can spot the added extras ;)

    4967-blood-magic-dos-back-cover.jpg

    Let me know how you go, hopefully this is easier than the last one.


    Files:

    Youll need Ra7ven's installer 176MB and the Patch file V1.01 595kb *cough* from the Abandoned mine shaft...

    And just because, follow this link to view the ORIGINAL BAM website back from 1996. Blood & Magic (archive.org)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  2. power

    power Member

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    ouch, sounds like it had pretty stiff competition back in the day. I mean I cannot begin to count the amount of time I devoted to C&C and Warcraft II.

    Still I'm prepared to give it a quick spin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_&_Magic#cite_note-Arcane15-3

     
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  3. OP
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    Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Yeah its got some rubbish reviews, but if you look on game requests on G.O.G, its actually has quite a good following with many requests and lots of people writing fond things about the game. Its different to warcraft, here you have to plan out what your going to spend your Mana on, so much more difficult.
     
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  4. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I think gaming history is made a lot more interesting by games like these - third place runners that weren't the big earners, but were still fairly successful.

    I'm keen to get into this and give it a whack. The hand drawn animation is certainly an attention grabber.

    "More difficult" has me worried, because I suck at these sorts of games. But all the same, keen to see what's on offer.
     
  5. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    I played a lot of LAN multiplayer Warcraft 2 and C&C. Never heard of this game. Curious to try it out!
     
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  6. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    Whoah that's a blast from the past. I remember a mate of mine was playing this on his PC and there was a cheat code that spawned you one of the most powerful units you could get. But the cheat code also spawned one of them on the AI's team too. A double edged sword of a cheat!

    The unit would spawn from a portal on the map and he figured out that if you stood one of your units on the opponents portal it failed to spawn so you could "cheat the cheat" haha!
     
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  7. Narcoticx2

    Narcoticx2 Member

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    I loved this game so much and played it fairly recently. Was one of my favourite as a kid. Still have the CD!
     
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  8. OP
    OP
    Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    I am up to Nuts and Bolts atm... trying not to cheat... lolol ;)
     
  9. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Let's play "elvis is shithouse at RTS games!", with your host, elvis!

    * elvis fires up DOSBox on the old RPi4, connects it to the trust Diamondview CRT. Looks pretty damned nice. Only got OPL3/SB16 emulation going, but even so really digging the music. Will try Fluidsynth with a SC55 soundfont later. For now, some gameplay.

    * elvis starts the tutorial. Found the whatsie that lets you walk over water, cool. Healed the villager cool. Trying to find the thingi to repair the villager's abode? Nope, can't find it anywhere. Tutorial fail. Give up, try main game.

    * elvis chooses the easiest campaign, because he's already proven his shitness. Picks team blue because I like the main dude's luscious blonde locks. Ummm.. I guess make a bunch of golems? Yeah ok that works. Oh shit getting attacked! Send golems in, they're getting wiped out like stupid peons. OK, send them in two at a time from now on... waiting on this mana to grow (is there a hotkey here for transferring mana? This is slow). Get a bit bored, send some golems out to explore. Found the baddies crypt thingo. Tell the golems to bash on it, that's cool. But they get pwned. Send more golems, they break one! I win! Wait, no, there's another crypt. OK, fire up more golems. Find the barracks thing, turn golems into hunters OK that's cool. Send some hunters in to bash on the crypt and OMG BAD GUY ZERG RUSH ELVIS IS DEFEATED GAME OVER.

    Yup. Pretty much like all my RTS experiences. What's the input command for dragon punch?

    Game looks amazing. Soundtrack is cool. Loads of digital voices that are pretty damned clear for the era. The instruction manual makes this seem way deeper than other RTSes, but again I'm a complete numpty so I have no idea about this sort of thing. I think I'll go watch some long plays and try the noobie level again later in the week.

    Pardon the mess of cables, I've been fighting with USB3 SATA adaptors that work nicely with my RPi4, and the retro PC corner needs a cleanup.

    2.jpg

    3.jpg
     
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  10. OP
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    Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Wow, this is running on an rpi4?? Amazing.. :) :thumbup:
     
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  11. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Yeah this is my new DOS and early Windows gaming setup. RPi4 running TwisterOS, which includes an x86 emulator and WINE, and runs a hell of a lot of early Windows stuff amazingly well.

    DOSBox has me covered for this sort of stuff. DOSBox-X is on there too, but I want to get ECE compiled as well.

    This will be where I try and get most of the PC or MicroPC stuff happening from here on. Also planning to try and hook up the MiSTer to the same setup for Amiga and AtariST stuff.
     
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  12. OP
    OP
    Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    I love it!! I had no idea Rpi could run dosbox. That's really Awesome.. hmmm.... :D
     
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  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Yeah DOSBox is a high-ish level x86 emulator too, so it runs on just about anything. There are builds for mobile phone, Raspberry Pi, numerous modded consoles, etc.

    It sacrifices some accuracy for speed and simplicity, but it runs in a tonne of low end devices as a result, many of them not x86.

    And then it gets a little confusing with the various ports. DOSBox-X claims to be more accurate at the cost of raw speed, and DOSBox-ECE aims for a tonne of extra features. I'd love to see the projects merge again and unify a little, but for now it's not a big deal to have all three lying around to run specific games.

    For the record, I'm running this game on vanilla DOSBox on an RPi4 overclocked to 2GHz, and it appears to be working just fine. Music and audio doesn't skip, and the framerate and game speed appears the same as videos I've seen.
     
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  14. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    DosBox-X is neat, as is DosBox with Nuked OPL3 implementation (objectively better than stock DOSBox). You really need to juggle them depending on your needs/wants. Even eXoDOS uses a few DOSBox'es to cover as much ground as possible/known.

    There are issues with all DOSBox'es though and the entire topic is only for fans of DOS-style fiddling.

    For example default DOSBox-X repo is 64bit only, so no luck for older laptop owners unless you find and compile a fork of some sort or another. Nuked needs to be compiled manually unless you find a binary out in the wild for your OS of choice, etc.

    As much as I like playing with all these options usually I just play what GOG provides me with. With 700 games in GOG library, I really bother just if I really like the game and want to experience it in a variety of ways, or if I want to test some new obscure setup I came up with in my mind corrupted by DOS antics since early childhood :leet::Paranoid:.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    OPkiedokies, just a heads up, I didnt know this, but if you use the Ra7vens installer file (which comes with Dosbox) for newer computers, it looks like shit...

    reconfigure dosbox like this.

    • Open the DOSBox configuration file:
      • Windows 7: Press CTRL + ESC (or Start button), type in dosbox and the options file should appear in the search results, click it
      • Windows 8 and Windows 10: Press the Windows key + Q, type in dosbox, and the options file DOSBox 0.7x Options should appear in the search results, click it
    • Look for the [sdl] section
    • Use fullscreen=true for full screen
    • Use fullscreen=false for DOSBox in a window
    • Change fullresolution=original to fullresolution=desktop
    • When using a window, change windowresolution=original to windowresolution=1280x960 (or use 1024x768 for a smaller window). You can enter any resolution you want but remember that DOS games were made for screens with a 4:3 width/height aspect ratio. See also the aspect setting below.
    • Change output=surface to output=openglnb (uses graphics hardware and maintains crisp image with scaling). You might try output=ddraw if your hardware doesn't support OpenGL. In some cases ddraw also has a lower CPU load.
    • Scroll down to the [render] section
    • Change aspect=false to aspect=true if you run DOSBox in full screen mode (this maintains 4:3 aspect ratio. If you've set a resolution with another aspect ratio, like 1280x480, this will be converted to 640x480. In the same way your desktop resolution like 1920x1080 will be converted to 1440x1080. Otherwise keep on false if you like the aspect ratio of your resolution setting.)
    • Save the configuration file with CTRL+S (or File - Save)
    • (Re)start DOSBox
    If you cant find the config file for Dosbox (hey, i couldent), then enter this and hit enter
    %LOCALAPPDATA%
    in a file window, and select dosbox, youll find it then.

    Cheers.. :D cleans up the smeary mess and makes it look crisp. Lol just discovered this as i am in Bangkok in the hotel playing on my Surface.

    Edit: Couple of tips..
    #1 Make a new Basel Golum straight away as you start the game.
    #2. Use your Basel Golum's initially to smash statues, they contain Mana orbs ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
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  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I used that Ra7ven's installer in WINE to get the files unpacked. I then copied those into a separate dir and ran my own native RPi/ARM DOSBox using those unpacked files, and they worked a charm for music (once I used SNDSET2 to select SBPro audio) and sampled audio as well.

    Will try Fluidsynth with Soundcanvas settings/soundfonts at some point to, as this game appears to support it natively.

    Used all the sharp settings in DOSBox to get myself crispy VGA pixel perfect out to my CRT. Mmmm.....

    OK that's good to know. I watched this long play and noticed a lot of store/statue destroying and item use that I didn't even realise I had. I'll be giving this ago on my next run!

     
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  17. OP
    OP
    Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    I just started a new game after setting the dosbox correctly.

    IMG_20210309_110836.jpg
    Zerg rushed with gargoyles.. old mate Rathgar didn't stand a chance. ;)
     
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  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Righto, second serious crack at this. Found another CRT that doesn't keep dropping its red channel, which helped. :)

    Great news, elvis beat the first level of the easiest difficulty!

    1.jpg
    2.jpg


    Then started the second, and literally sat at a stalemate with the CPU for an hour until dying. Second attempt, 2 hours, still at stalemate, troops dwindling, gave up.

    I'm really not cut out for this RTS business. The fun factor is there, but I just can't micromanage this shit properly. Troops are wondering off doing dumb things, I can't build mana fast enough, I try to zerg rush but nothing goes to plan.

    Might give up on this one soon and just watch a long play. Seems like a fun game. I'm just too stupid to play it.

    The good news is that the RPi4 kept up with this for hours on end, so that's nice.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Thanks for trying Elvis, You've done more than given it a go!. 2 hours stale mate on a map is above and beyond. :)
    I did note, however in the first scenario, its much easier being Aleric, as Zombies have much better stats compared to the warrior. (also ground dependent).
     
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  20. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    It's definitely a fun game. I mean I've only scratched the surface, but it feels like there's more on offer there than Warcraft.

    Which makes me wonder - why didn't it ever get to that level of success? Was it just too late in the game? Didn't have the marketing budget?
     

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