Have You Played… Commander Blood?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Bob Morlock, the oldest being in the known universe, in is about to pass away. Before he departs this mortal plane, he wants to see the Big Bang. Yeah, that Big Bang. It’s your job to take him there using a high-tech ship known only as the Ark. In fact, that’s why you were created. Better get to it, then.

That’s the gist of 1994’s Commander Blood, easily one of the most bizarre experiences one could ever have in PC gaming.

An odd amalgam of FMV sequences, branching conversational paths and live-action puppeteering, Commander Blood was a staple of my youth. I never quite understood it as a child, but it never ceased being compelling. When I finally completed it as an adult, it quickly became one of my favourite games.

Traveling to various planetary systems, interacting with the inhabitants of the planets you find yourself on, and clicking through conversations is oddly soothing though, and Commander Blood is loads more welcoming than its predecessor Captain Blood. From the danceable synth-pop of the game’s opening FMV sequence to the sassy ship computer Honk, it’s a mad, mad ride, but one you should absolutely embark on.

28 Comments

  1. forddent says:

    This was, without question, my favorite game of all time growing up. I loved the music, the weird alien worlds, and the way the translation worked (*swear* *insult* *swear* is shorthand my brother and I still use on a regular basis). Something about the puppeteering was so charming that it has stuck with me to this day.

    Man, now I’m going to have to get that running on my new PC.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    I remember Captain Blood on my Amiga, but was not aware of a follow-up. Must have a look for this, thanks for the hot info!

    • Janichsan says:

      Yeah, I also haven’t played Commander Blood, but its predecessor. That was already a weird game.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Captain Blood is the one I remember, I never played this sequel. The first game was in EGA graphics, and one of the weirdest sci-fi themed games I ever played.

    • Emeraude says:

      Captain Blood is one of the reasons why I became a linguist. Such an incredible game.

      Wouldn’t be released nowadays. Too beautifully obtuse.

    • Premium User Badge

      steves says:

      Seems everyone here remembers the classic Captain Blood, I sure do. Wonder what happened to that old Atari ST…

      Was far too busy doing studenty things in the early ’90s to have come across this though.

      Shame, ’cause it looks completely mental, and would have gone down well in my drug-addled youth…

  3. keefybabe says:

    I wanted to punch that guy who kept meditating.

  4. slerbal says:

    I adored Captain Blood, but had no idea Commander Blood existed. It’s not available digitally is it?

    • keefybabe says:

      People (who include me) have been asking GOG to get on this for a while.

  5. Gothnak says:

    I always try to forget this game, i had no idea what i was doing and i think it gave me nightmares…

  6. Heretic7 says:

    There was a follow-up to Captain Blood ( <3 Amiga) ? Why no one sounded the sirens. When did this happen?

    • forddent says:

      It happened in the 90s. What’s funny (to me) is that I wasn’t aware Captain Blood was a thing until much later in life, where I tried forever to figure out who did the Commander Blood soundtrack and could only find information about Captain Blood.

  7. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Brittany, between this, Total Distortion and Spaceship Warlock- HYP is absolutely crushing it.

    This feature has gone from feeling like an afterthought of the RPS main staff to being a really fun retrospective of weird old PC gaming gems. Keep up the good work!

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      And of course right after I say this, the next day goes by without a new HYP :(

  8. PancakeWizard says:

    I just tried to watch that video and I have no fucking clue what is going on. Consider me sold.

  9. Risingson says:

    Yay Brittany!

    I only was able to play this game many many tears after it was released, feeling as weird and unplayable as Captain Blood felt to me around 1998.

    I always think of “Millennia: altered destinies” when thinking about these games.

  10. Jackablade says:

    I hauled it out of a bargain bin years ago having no idea what it was. I played it for a while and still have no idea what it was.

  11. Unsheep says:

    Never played it, but it looks quirky and fun, hopefully GOG will pick it up some day.

  12. Tei says:

    Perhaps the game I loved the most. I loved it in a radiactive intoxicating way, even to this days. I only hated how loud the pseudocyberspace in the game was.

  13. Sivart13 says:

    I have very distinct memories from my youth of playing a game where you fly around in some space ship with some sort of emphasis of finding the Big Bang. I can remember the “Big Bang” / “Big Band” confusion at the end. I think there might’ve been something about a whale.

    I know this is the game I was playing. But I can’t for the life of me remember WHY I was playing this game. I was like twelve! I surely didn’t pay for it. Did I somehow download it from a BBS? Can you get it on Prodigy? Did it fall out of the sky? I’m very confused.

  14. swaan says:

    Oh wow Commander blood! COMMANDER BLOOOOOOD! My search is over! I know the name now! HAHAHHA!

  15. Arganoid says:

    I emailed the programmer of both Captain Blood and Commander Blood (Didier Bouchon) in 2000 thanking him for the game and complimenting him on its groundbreaking conversation system. He said that for the second game, he wanted to improve and build on this system, but the marketing people were against it (“we want a mass market game, not an experiment, we are not a research lab”), hence why Commander Blood was much simpler.

    For anyone interested in the original game, I have a about it (created in 1997 and it shows).

  16. Arganoid says:

    Meant to say: For anyone interested in the original game, I have a web page about it (created in 1997 and it shows).