This is mostly brainstorming about monsters because their behavior feels broken and incomplete, especially that of bosses, who are useless at close range and overpowered at a distance with their projectile attacks. This means that aside from very rare situational encounters, the only challenge in Blood once the player becomes familiar with the monsters' attack patterns comes from cultists (or the occasional aquatic gill beast ambush). Combat against monsters becomes a grindfest, and this detracts from from an otherwise fluid and exciting game. See how E2M5 plays, an amazing map but with a complete absence of cultists, which is essential to its atmosphere.
A lot of suggestions will be extrapolated from unused resources and developer notes so as to be within the dark god’s intent. There’s a treasure trove of content that was left unfinished or didn’t make it at all into the final product.
- Footstep sounds for enemies, a dimension which Blood's audio lacks. Something feels amiss when a huge monster runs toward the player from behind in complete silence. Even better if the sound effects varied depending on the type of surface they’re walking on, like when Caleb lands on different types of ground from a jump. Notes from BLOODSFX.DOC in the alpha files show that this was originally planned, among other sound effects that aren't in the game:
- Underwater gore effects. Dead bodies plummeting to the bottom underwater as if through thin air is a bit hard on immersion. Would be better if they floated instead, same for blood splatters.
- Option for enemies to react to the sound of gunfire, like in Doom. Would give Caleb the opportunity to hug corners for a change rather than the cultists.
- Ability to set up patrol routes for enemies, opening new potential uses for proximity and remote detonators that often just sit in the player's inventory.
- Visible HUD timer for power-ups. Visual effect for invulnerability.
- Prevent the player from toggling the diving suit, but make it last much longer.
- Bullet trail effects like in Shadow Warrior
1) Add the unused soaring animation for when it flies great distances. 2) Bring back the awakening animation 3) Give it a different attack mode, perhaps something “hit and run” with the gargoyle diving at the player and taking claw swipes. Injuring the gargoyle enough or setting it on fire could disable this behavior and bring it back to the one we’re familiar with, bone throwing included. A flying version of the fiend from Quake.
4) Electrocution state, for which sprites are included in Blood’s art files: Gill beast
1) Add the missing death animation and complete the gib effects. Can’t think of anything else, the gill beast is powerful enough in its own underwater element and weak on land, as it’s supposed to be. 2) Electrocution: Hellhound
1) Implement the unused sounds for its fire breath and bite attacks.
2) Make it jump forward for a bite because the current bite attack hardly has a chance of ever getting the player.
1) Give the ranged skull attack a homing ability because it’s far too easy to evade.
2) Have the phantasm thrust or charge forward when within a certain melee range so it won’t be so easy to escape by taking a simple step backward. Maybe reduce the high damage to compensate for the greater likelihood of being hit.
4) Make it vulnerable to more weapons, like the tesla cannon, which could even be given the special ability to harm the phantasm in its ethereal form. Ghosts are supposed to be vulnerable to electricity (Ghostbusters).
5) Electrocution state for the above. I once accidentally managed to make it enter the electrocution state with the shotgun via that bug that prevailed in v1.00, so it must already be implemented to some extent.
6) Roaming sound. Blood’s files do contain an unused evil chuckle as the roam file for the phantasm, but it might not fit. In any case, something to replace the constant, annoying loop of its sight sound would be great.
1) Remove the exploit that enables the player to escape a mob of zombies by crouching under them.
1) The first step to making the fat zombie a threat rather than just a big target to pump with ammo is to improve the puke attack. It would be more effective if it arced and produced splash damage, just like the chrysalid pod's projectile. Interestingly, I later found out that developer notes from Blood alluded to exactly this:
Smoking once it hits the ground sounds good too. It should also do fire damage instead of kinetic damage.Jay: The Fat Zombie should be able to take about the same amount of damage as
the Axe Zombie, but since he is so slow we should give him a distance attack.
I think the puke idea is cool, but he should projectile puke in a limited arc
with a max range (like the tnt sticks but with maybe a little less range). It
would be cool if the puke smoked when it hit whatever it's target is (or even
just the ground). I like the idea of him throwing off a hellhand every now
2) Remove melee attack and just have him keep puking when in melee range
3) Add the unused sound for the thrown cleaver attack. Either make it fly faster or add a weak homing ability. Strangely enough, it deals spirit damage instead of kinetic damage as one would presume, but better it be kept that way since there aren’t enough attacks in the game for that fancy spirit armor you found in a secret to absorb.
4) An occasional throwing of a hellhand as suggested in the notes might be interesting, turn it into the ultimate Swiss army zombie.
5) Use the alpha burning death, this type of combustion fits the butcher better than turning into another running flamedude with flailing arms. 6) For well done and extra crispy difficulties, maybe give the butcher akimbo cleavers for double the throwing rate.
1) Web-descending state, like in the help screen animation:
3) Make explosives more effective against them, maybe by increasing their mass so they won’t get scattered so easily by an explosion without taking much damage.
4) Combine the jumping ability and bite attack
6) Yellow-green blood, like in Shial’s cutscene.
1) Like the spider, ability to climb along walls and ceilings. But it’s less important than for the spider since it’s unique enough. The official manual even makes mention of this ability:
“These spider-like menaces would love nothing more than to get their fingers around your throat and squeeze. Watch for them scuttling along walls and ceilings. The last thing you need is a handshake from one of these fiends.”
2) Add the unused “gimme your soul” roaming sound.
3) Make it play the unused pain sound if a player successfully manages to escape its chokehold.
1) Fix the way they bone eels off themselves so easily by following the player out of the water.
2) There’s a complex, unused animation for the bone eel jumping in and out of the water. This could serve as a useful warning for bone eel infested waters. It also suggests that their instant death on air exposure was not intentional. 3) Add roaming sound
1) Add the unused roaming sound
1) Add the unused roaming sound
1) Unique graphics for all the variants instead of just cheap-looking recolors
2) Reduce accuracy for both fanatics and cultists in exchange for shifting some of the balance of power towards the monsters.Jay: I don't think we should go overboard with the pallette look-ups here.
I've always kind of thought games that used Pallette look-ups for new
characters were kind of cheap. We don't really do that since our pallette
look-ups are mainly to distinguish a slightly different version of an already
existing character, but I think we can still take it too far.
3) Might be a long shot, but having fanatics lay down suppressive fire and cultists try to flush the player out by throwing dynamite at the last seen position.
4) A way to stop cultists camped on ledges and other strategic positions from just walking off the edge and plummet to their deaths or simply wandering off elsewhere once the player gets out of sight.
5) Something should be done about cultists/fanatics becoming unstoppable killing machines once they fall underwater. Simplest solution might be to give them an oxygen meter of their own and have them take drowning damage once it expires. Or something more complicated, seeking an exit from the underwater sector? At the very least, their accuracy underwater could be severely nerfed if neither of the above are viable.
Finally, to the bosses—the worst offenders, being useless ammo sponges in melee range and overpowered at a distance. The only choices left to the player are to either exploit their poorly implemented melee attacks or getting annihilated if choosing to fight them fairly.
1) Same flying animation addition outlined above for the gargoyle
2) Like for the flesh gargoyle, a “hit and run” attack style for certain times. Maybe strafing like an attack plane and firing its eye beams while passing over the player.
3) Remove the melee attack that allows the player to trick it so easily
4) Reduce the insane damage dealt by the eye beams.
5) Add a smaller variant with less hitpoints. Would definitely be more fun to battle and could be added more regularly to maps as a stronger gargoyle variant. Reduce size to half and hitpoints by 75%.
6) Add unused roaming sound
1) Same abilities as the spiders above.
2) Ranged web attack that ensnares players and stop them in their tracks. Would require tapping the use key to escape, like with the hellhand.
3) Venomous melee attack, combined with a jumping motion and for feasting on the player while they’re trapped. Same for the "black spider" not used in the vanilla maps.
4) Less health, or making her more susceptible to explosives.
1) Remove both the melee attack and the weaker flame attack.
2) Add delay for napalm breath to make it less overpowered.
3) Add roaming sound to replace looping sight sound.
1) Like the other bosses, overpowered ranged attack and useless melee attack. It acts like a tougher version of the arch-vile from Doom, except the arch-vile has a long channeling animation that must be performed before unleashing the damage. For the beast, it’s almost instantaneous and nigh impossible to escape. The only choice is to attack it up close and personal, where its attacks are pathetic as you’re moving and not blasting it too far away. The ranged attack should have a prolonged delay and appropriate animation before its performed, like the arch-vile.
2) Remove melee attack
3) Reduce hitpoints
1) Special attack that exemplifies his role as the devourer of souls. Shooting some kind of tether at Caleb that pulls his soul out, resulting in instant death if he successfully drags the soul to himself. The "soul" could be represented by a blue, transparent version of Caleb or a glowing sphere.
2) Another special attack that temporarily teleports both the player and Tchernobog into a pocket dimension with E4M7 textures where the latter has a greater advantage.