One of the drawbacks of focusing on older games, to record playthroughs of older titles is that you have to deal with the inevitable bout of software and hardware incompatibility. Recently, I’ve been bashing my head against the wall trying to get Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain to perform properly, without success until just a day or so ago.
But before then, I had to make plans, and one of them involved an incredibly ambitious mod called Blood Omnicide.
The Blood Omnicide project’s intent is to recreate Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain in 3D but keeping as much as possible from the original experience to not diminish the experience. The mod features enhanced recreations in 3D models of all the game’s environments, adding new secrets and rooms to further encourage exploration.
But the best thing, and perhaps the most complex, is that it’s not a standalone product but one requiring the original installation disc. It takes the original graphics and transfers them to a new rendering pipeline, so effectively moving it to a new engine.
When I installed it, I saw that all videos had been upscaled. It’s still 90s cinematics, which weren’t all that impressive, but the video quality is superb compared to the original. The environments look amazing, full 3D objects with an isometric look instead of 2D environs with the same camera angle. The only thing still on 2D were the characters, which looks kinda strange but let’s face it, it’s not the first time anyone has played a game with 3D environments and 2D sprites. I think the reason it looks weird is because they’re upscaled 20-year-old sprites.
But it’s not just a graphical improvement. There are balance changes, new AI, subtitles, lighting modifications, improved music, NEW music and so much more. For example, the Light Spell, which in the original lit up all rooms, in this one creates an illuminated radius around you, which makes a lot more sense.
I was excited when playing this, as it meant not only that I could play the game without compatibility issues, but I could perhaps bring a new look to a classic title. After all, people might be more interested in playing this game if they can use the mod to spruce it up a little.
But to my disappointment, it’s not a complete project, even though they claim their current version, 0.1 (a version number so low should’ve been a hint), is a release version. The game features the complete overhaul up to the village of Nachtholm, the last town before you reach the Sanctuary of the Mind, the fortress of the first corrupted member of the Circle of Nine, Nupraptor the Mentalist, a dude so far gone he sewed his own eyes shut.
Upon reaching the end of the Nachtholm map, the game gave me a thank you screen and returned to the menu, which again, is a disappointment considering how much fun I was having and how great the game looked and played with the mod. I went back to the site and there haven’t been any releases for about a year, though a version 0.11 is planned and perhaps coming soon. I sincerely hope they continue with it, as it presents a phenomenal opportunity not only for old fans of the series to enjoy Blood Omen as if it were the first time again, but for newcomers to become interested in this classic as well. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain is after all, the only title in the series you can’t find on digital stores, so a complete revamping mod might just be the incentive people need to buy a physical copy of the old title.
You might be thinking “I can get his as abandonware, I don’t need to buy anything,” and while that is technically true, the abandonware version has tons of issues, a few lockups and worst of all, they lack cinematics and some of the voiceovers and this is Legacy of Kain, man, voice acting on these games is on another level.
If you like Blood Omnicide and you know how to work 3D models and would like to cooperate, head on to the project website and help wherever you can. I wish I could do so, but I can’t so my bit is done here, promoting the project and hoping I can play the rest of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain in 3D someday! Oh, I’ll also probably donate to the project!