The awesome click and point Blade Runner adventure is available to play once again.
In 1992, Westwood Studios made a large impact on the real-time strategy game genre of the time. Their release of Dune II was a top-down RTS that defined a new style of gameplay.
They returned to the RTS genre three years later with another game that would spawn a long-running franchise, Command & Conquer. This was the battle between two warring factions, the Brotherhood of Nod and the Global Defense Initiative over the appearance of a valuable new alien material that had appeared on Earth, Tiberium.
Their games were incredibly well received at the time for both their gameplay and their presentation. Command & Conquer, for example, came on two compact discs and were filled with high-quality FMV video clips that progressed the story between levels.
So it came as a big surprise when two years later, Westwood Studios released a point and click adventure based on the film Blade Runner. Set during the events of the film, you play as McCoy, a police officer in charge of retiring Replicants, the same as Harrison Ford’s character Deckard.
Spanning four compact discs (or the rarer single DVD edition), the game was visually beautiful. The environments were pre-rendered in 3D with the characters of the game overlayed on top using a technology called Voxels. A way of generating 3D character models in software that didn’t rely on the 3D accelerator graphics cards of the time.
Its rather murky but this trailer whetted our appetites for the game back in the day!
Another unique selling point was that it featured several different endings that were partially down to a decision every time you started a new game. The game would randomly decide who was human and who was a replicant and you would have to discover who’s who as part of Blade Runner’s gameplay.
As a game from 1997, those wishing to experience this game have been out of luck as it’s not easy to run on modern systems. This is where SCUMMVM enters the story.
SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) was, as the name suggests, a game engine created for Maniac Mansion by Lucasarts. This was one of their first point and click adventure titles.
The game engine was updated and tweaked over the years and used in several more of Lucasarts point and click adventure games. For example The Secret of Monkey Island (1990), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) and Day of the Tentacle (1993).
SCUMMVM (the VM standing for Virtual Machine) was developed as a way for modern hardware to play these old DOS-based games using just the data files.
Over the years SCUMMVM has expanded to cover many different adventure games by many different software houses. I think you can already see where this is going.
Thanks to years of testing and reverse engineering, SCUMMVM now supports Blade Runner.
If you can find a copy of the Blade Runner data files, I recommend you give this game a go. It’s one of the best film licensed games that’s ever been created (cue my tipping of the hat to Alien: Isolation, another game on that list). The game captures the atmosphere of the film perfectly.
Any hope for an HD remaster has sadly been dashed as apparently the source code was discovered to be lost back in 2003.
SCUMMVM now supports over 100 games and these can be played on a variety of different systems including PC, Mac, Sony Playstation PS3 and Vita, Android, iOS and even the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Switch!