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A.P.I Review: Blood Lines
Developer: Radical OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1-4 Player
Game Type: Action/Pursuit Memory Card
Review Date: May 1999 Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

In the distant future, when all distinct cultures and individuality have been banned by the government, a group of rebellious punks fights to preserve what is left of their uniquely mixed cultural identity and style. The band of outcasts have rediscovered an ancient ritual combat, which takes them to distant places, battling amongst themselves in a series of abandoned arenas, in order to find their champion of champions.

Blood Lines is about running, evading, chasing, tackling, smart thinking and good timing... and with the aid of a Multi Tap, it's mayhem.

Sound & Vision

I found the intro a little confusing... to say the least. The opening scene gives the appearance that Blood Lines is a compilation of past games. First up comes what looks like gigantic robots (Mech Warrior). To the rear stand the blocky games characters (Tobal No1). Forward steps a cool samurai (Dynasty Warriors), a Scottish punk (Thrill Kill), a maiden in full Chinese dress (most oriental beat-em-ups), a semi mechanical mutant (Bio Freaks)... Suddenly they begin bounding acrobatically about the set (Pandemonium) and firing bolts of plasma at all and sundry (Tenka), before settling down for a session of formation dancing (Bust-A-Move Dance). Don't expect any of the aforementioned games to relate to the in-game graphics as it all looks similar to Loaded.

I'd best first explain that Blood Lines is basically a game of tig set in a futuristic 3D arena. The polygon playing areas are all dark and moody which allows weapons and lighting effects to provide the graphical high spot. The characters move around the set at an commendable pace, although I found the arenas to be quite small in size (about two screens wide).

Unfortunately while the effects and sets look quite impressive the camera angle always seems much too far away from the action. This ruins the gameplay in a similar way that when you're really hungry a pair of chopsticks will spoil a good Chinese meal.

When spread apart the characters are really tiny and the split-level environment becomes a nightmare to negotiate. This effect is worsened when four players make use of a multi-tap as the distance remains constant.

The sound effects are fairly average while the music is a selection of splendid foot stomping futuristic tunes.


Select a character from the eleven available, each with their own power moves, combos, taunts and tackles. Face buttons on the joypad cater for jumping, firing weapons, special attacks and powering up. The special weapons randomly appear throughout a bout and range from a temporary shield to a rather large hammer which may be thrown at the opposition.

Game modes include Arcade, Challenge, Vs Battle and a Party mode. There are three difficulty levels, an option to play with 'Big Heads', while activating Panic mode allows players to run faster and generate quicker and stronger power-ups and power-moves at any given moment.

The simple rules are explained at the main menu screen and are briefly as follows. At the start of the game 2-4 characters set off in pursuit of a green marker in a multi-layered 3D arena. The first player to touch the neutral marker gains control of the game. Change three markers to your own color and the game is won. You must overcome obstacles such as moving platforms, water, sinking blocks, steam jets and teleporters. Meanwhile all opponents are attempting to grab and tackle the player in control. To aid this process each player is armed with a gun that slows down the speed of an opponent when hit. There's also a secondary weapon which can be powered up and used to briefly stun an opponent.

GRAPHICS: 15/20 As a single player game I bored very quickly with Blood Lines. It may be designed to be 'fast and frantic' but the distant camera angle reduces the gameplay to 'chaotic and annoying'.

As a multi-player game this offers limited enjoyment. I think we played for an hour or so and then went back to the tried and trusted classics... Worms, Bomberman and Devil Dice.
SOUND: 6/10
VALUE: 12/20


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