Death Wish is a huge infusion of goodness for Blood

Blood: Death Wish

One last shot of Halloween retro FPS goodness for the road, before we begin our dark descent into November/December and the obnoxious hellscape that is Christmas marketing.

We listed Blood as one of the best horror games of all time, celebrating the action and tongue-in-cheek humour making it more Sam Raimi than John Carpenter. Despite largely falling from memory, the venerable horror FPS has one last trick up its sleeve; Death Wish, a full-game-length unofficial expansion that pushes both the engine and the action to their limits.

Death Wish is more of everything that made Blood work. Complex combat encounters, esoteric weaponry (get ready to bounce dynamite around corners again), very deadly enemies, interactive environments and no shortage of classic horror references. There’s a horror fan’s eye for detail visible in just about every map in this lengthy expansion.

One level in particular – Whisper Peak – is a clear tribute to Silent Hill; Dense fog, rusted otherworld and all. The level design is consistently impressive, and according to the update notes for the latest build, they’re pushing up hard against the upper limits of the engine itself. This is literally as good as Blood is ever going to get.

There’s every chance that you’ve heard of Death Wish before. Its original release was some years back, but this Halloween was notable for two reasons. Firstly, it was the day the mod received its final update, adding a few more levels, tuning the difficulty to be a little more human-palatable and generally polishing everything up to as close as you can get to a mirror shine in Blood’s grimy, rusty world.


The other notable reason to bring up Death Wish now is the recent release of BloodGDX. For the longest time, there has been no Blood equivalent to GZDoom or eDuke32 – no source port to allow us to experience the game outside of the confines of awkward DOS emulation. No longer. Reverse-engineered from early alpha builds of the game, BloodGDX is still a work-in-progress, but already the best way to experience Blood.

Better still, BloodGDX is compatible with almost every level and mod released for Blood, although Death Wish pushes the engine so hard that two maps (a minor issue in E2M1, and a larger one in E2M8) are a little glitchy at present. Not unplayable, but uglier than it should be. BloodGDX’s developer says he’s working on those issues now, but aside from those two maps misbehaving a little the entire campaign is best experienced this way.

You can grab Death Wish here, Blood from GOG, and the BloodGDX engine right here. While still imperfect, I highly recommend the source-port as the best way to play. If nothing else, it makes mouse controls vastly smoother and more consistent, and comes bundled with some extra voxel models to add a little more detail to the world without spoiling the DOS-era aesthetic.


  1. Spacewalk says:

    Possibly the best single player expansion pack ever.

  2. Jalan says:

    Still not a source port. Not that such a thing is a complaint (at least, not in the typical sense – I have plenty of complaining for the likes of Hall, Saettler and others who won’t release Blood’s source so an actual port can happen and tire of their antics every time they tease a get-together of the old team like something is EVER going to come of that other than a bunch of guys sitting around reminiscing about “how things used to be”).

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I gather that BloodGDX is based on a near-complete version of the Blood source, plus a little bit of reverse-engineering, mashed up with chunks of eDuke32. It’s not officially released source code, but it’s the nearest thing to it, and 99% of the way there, a few bugs and quirky vsync aside.

  3. Michael Fogg says:

    I’ve been feasting on Arcane Dimensions for Quake recently, now it’s time to sink teeth in my other fave classic FPS. Great!

  4. Couchfighter says:

    I did not know there was a functional source port-alike for Blood. I’ve dabbled in trying to replay Blood a few times in the past but given up on it because it just runs so awful on modern windows+hardware. Definitely checking this out. And the mod, of course!

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      It’s a very recent thing, and only in the past few weeks has it gotten to the point where I’d openly recommend it. Until just recently it couldn’t do room-over-room rendering, and Blood uses that far more than any other Build engine game.

  5. tanith says:

    I got excited until I saw that BloodGDX is written in Java. Why do you torture me so? D:

    • wally84 says:

      Hey, Java is no longer a problem. In one of the topics on the duke4net forum there is a solution how to run BloodGDX without Java installed on the PC –> link to
      I’ve tried it yesterday and it worked :)

  6. PixelsAtDawn says:

    I live… again

  7. Spto says:

    Still think people should try the dosbox version to play without any glitches but with some wonky mouse control to adjust to.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Not anymore! BloodGDX just updated, fixing the issues with Death Wish and pretty much everything else.

      My only complaint with it now is some fractionally inconsistent frame pacing.