Blade Runner is back! It's on GOG! You can buy it! It works!
It's a Christmas miracle!
Today in News I Thought I Might Never Write And Am Wholly Delighted To, we can now easily buy Westwood's 1997 Blade Runner adventure game. GOG, the virtuous vendor of vintage video games, have somehow untangled the rights and are selling it. Right now. For £7. I have already bought it and started the download. Blade Runner is one of the very rare decent movie tie-in games and I remember it fondly. I hope so much that I am not crushed.
The adventure game sends us out into the rain of historic Los Angeles (set in November 2019, Blade Runner is now alt-history) to track down rogue robots with the tools of our trade: a brown coat, a flying car, a gun, and loving recreations of the lovingly-recreated Voigt-Kampff kit for interviewing replicants and the Esper machine that finds hidden details in photos. It's moody, it's funny at times and frightening at others, and it's full of twists - including a system which randomises who is and isn't a replicant each playthrough. But Westwood's game is not an adaptation of the movie.
We play as a new Blade Runner, the rookie Ray McCoy, investigating new rogue androids. It runs parallel to the film, sometimes visiting familiar places and chatting with familiar people, but we never catch more than a glimpse of Harrison Ford's Deckard. The game is much stronger for that. Not bound to the film's plot, it can shed expectations. I've written before about the game and how I enjoyed not being wholly sure even of its genre, and the unease I felt knowing I could (and might need to?) draw my gun at any moment with a right-click.
The story runs out of steam and one timed puzzle was particularly frustrating on my slow PC but: I am very excited to play this again. I kept my four-CD copy for years after I stopped having an optical drive in my PC, thinking it might never again be available. Thanks to GOG and the fantastic work of ScummVM (if you still have the discs, do play it through that), I'm going to replay it tonight. I am keen to return to this balcony:
You can buy Blade Runner now on GOG. A 10% launch discount brings it to £6.89.
The most important thing: when you start it, before you talk to anyone, go into the options and select "User choice" for conversations so you can pick Ray's dialogue. Otherwise, the game has a predetermined stance that'll shape Ray for you. Don't let it. Be your own man. You are a man, right? Of course you are.
One question though: who the hell is this lad on the art GOG are throwing around?
That is not my doughy boy McCoy. What an eerie modern recreation of a vintage picture: