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Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC) artwork

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC) review

"Wolfenstein - Nazi + Aliens and overweight security guards = Blake Stone"

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC) image

I dig simplistic mayhem. Give me guns, sprites and lots of blood, and I'll be able to pass four to six hours easily. A game like Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold, wherein you assume the role of an intergalactic James Bond, almost fits the bill. Think of it as Wolftenstein 3D in space, except that it trades Nazi uniforms for space spandex and high tech head sets, machine guns for lasers and plasma rifles, attack dogs for horrid mutations and man-eating aliens. There's so much space hero camp that it's difficult not to fall immediately in love.

The first episode or so provide modest entertainment. You creep along corridors, blasting the guts out of fat security guards and mowing down green mutants. There are even a few garishly colored professionals whose arms fall off when killed. Foes also like to tuck themselves behind obstructions and catch you unawares, making you jump out of your seat when they unexpectedly shout "INTRUDER!" Because of surprises like this, you can't totally run about guns blazing and expect to survive forever.

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC) image

Your main objective is to locate a few colored key cards so you can access the elevator to the next stage. You achieve this goal by scouring the area, remaining alert and save scumming like crazy. In some cases, one key card leads to another, and that second might take you to a third before you exit stage left. Complete enough of these levels and you'll encounter a fairly challenging boss before moseying to the next episode.

Each episode contains a cluster of ten levels, and there are six episodes. Doing the math, you realize there are sixty stages and six bosses. None of them are any different, and the only factors that change from one level to the next are the wall textures, the all around shape of each level and the boss sprite. Other than that, every level is the same affair sixty times over. If you manage not to claw your eyes out by the middle of episode three, then you deserve a medal.

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC) image

That wouldn't matter if Blake Stone offered some variety or even a modicum of depth, but the game fails in both of those departments. For one thing, its presentation is unlike modern FPSs. You can't aim upward to take out a monster on a lofty ledge or plunge into a pit, because all of the game's madness remains on one single floor. That alone limits the kind of content Blake Stone is capable of showcasing, crippling it to the point that its best material lies in frenetic combat that grows old after about fifteen levels.

Boss encounters are also nothing special because Blake Stone overloads you with an overpowered arsenal. This FPS was one of the first to feature more than four weapons and provide you with a BFG-like cannon that obliterates whole hordes. The campaign isn't ammo poor, either. You come across new clips and rockets regularly, making later stages with veritable mosh pits a breeze. Bosses, as a result, pose little threat. I felled several of them by unloading as many explosive shots as I could while running backwards. Even the final boss presented no real challenge.

Also take into account that Blake Stone is one of those first-person shooters. You know the type: playing with the usual mouse-and-keyboard setup is worthless, so you have to use your keyboard as if it's a giant gamepad. You can't aim properly with the mouse, and even if you could, there's no reticle. You simply have to position your target in the middle of the screen and hope for the best. You might also struggle to mitigate damage, since enemies don't fire visible projectiles. Instead, when you see an opponent's report, you take damage automatically.

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC) image

All the light fun you had in the beginning gets blown out an airlock and replaced with tediousness and frustration. Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold still provides action galore, but its challenge factor doesn't climb as you advance. If all you're looking for is sixty levels of rudimentary slaughter, then have at it. However, don't kid yourself into thinking that Blake Stone can keep pace with modern shooters, or even titles that came out in the generation following it.

Some games offer terrific thrills no matter how old they grow. I still enjoy sinking a coin into Ms. Pac-Man, and I still get the chills playing Chrono Trigger. However, as genres evolve, their older offerings like Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold become relics of the past. You can still appreciate this game and what it represents, because it was one of the granddaddies of the modern day shooter and its content is still slightly entertaining. However, you don't have to love it, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 24, 2010)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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Masters posted October 28, 2010:

Nice review! I liked it a lot. I remember playing this game around the time it first came out and finding it mildly entertaining.

I love this line:

Either you can use the mouse, which isn't recommended, or you can use the keyboards, which is only kind of recommended.

Oh, and you've got a typo in the first sentence.

Anyway, good stuff.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted October 28, 2010:

Thank you, both for the words and for pointing out the typo!

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