Dedicated Fans Spent 8 Years Making the 1997 'Blade Runner' Game Run on a Modern PC

Blade Runner, the 1997 video game adaptation of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, is a rare example of a beloved movie-turned-game. Unfortunately, it’s basically impossible to play these days, but some dedicated coders just made it a little easier.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xwnmjq/dedicated-fans-spent-8-years-making-the-1997-blade-runner-game-run-on-a-modern-pc
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If y’all haven’t played this game you really should, because it’s excellent. It runs roughly parallel in time to the original film, but following different characters, and sets up a really excellent series of mysteries that has several endings and even randomly-determined stuff, so there’s a lot of possibilities open every time you play it.

The LPArchive has preserved it, if you don’t happen (wink) to have your (wink) original (wink) CDs laying around

https://lparchive.org/Blade-Runner/

Wow, I’m really happy to see this! It’s a great adventure game with some really cool ideas, even if it falls into a lot of cyberpunk tropes (but what else is new).

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When I had C&C1 or Red Alert (forget which) on my dad’s PC I used to watch the FMV trailer for this game a lot, because of how amazing it was. Never actually worked up the courage to ask for it for Christmas or Hanukkah or anything, sadly.

Blade Runner was a favorite movie of mine around when the game was coming out and I was super hype for it and got it the day it was available and loved it. I still have the disks and an official mouse pad that somehow is still in great shape compared to tons of others I’ve burned through.

Playing as an adult, the art direction is really interesting to look at as it’s very obvious today what parts were taken directly from the movie and what parts were designed by video game people in the late 90s.

Frank Klepacki’s soundtrack for it deserves a lot of credit IMO. He did a soundalike soundtrack to the music. Everything Blade Runner rights related was still in turmoil at this point so they were legally allowed to use the music, but not like, the already made recordings of the music. Anyway the important part is the rest of his soundtrack, which does a great job sounding, not like just synth music, but specifically like something Vangelis would have made in the early or mid 80s. Like you couldn’t ask for something better for this game.

I should scan the production booklet that came with the game, it has some cool photos and explanation of the face capture and stuff. Something I don’t think gets recognized for how rad it was for the time is that like, Sean Young, Joe Turkel, Brion James, etc. are straight up voicing and captured for the game and everything. That fuckin’ owns.

Something else I appreciate about the game is that, like this was sort of around when the director’s cut of the movie was becoming a thing, and folks may recall that Derek K. Jeter wrote a Blade Runner 2 novel around this time. The novel IMO tries to be a sequel to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and to the Blade Runner movie at the same time and kind of fails at both.

This game doesn’t try as hard to do that, but manages to create a world where both the book and movie can exist at the same time.

If anyone’s going to give it a shot today, the manual was sparse but there’s some stuff that isn’t quite clear in game:

-Whenever you start a new game, some of the characters may or may not be replicants, it’s randomized each time.

-In the settings, make sure you set McCoy’s personality so you can choose all of his responses. It’s fun to go the full interactive movie route where you just have him be always good cop or always bad cop or whatever but you’ll miss out on a lot.

-Fans of Way of the Samurai will appreciate, it’s not quite as flexible as it lets on but you’d be surprised at some of the points where you can preemptively shoot someone while they’re talking, or betray someone by shooting them while helping them with something else, and the game just rolls with it.

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This is so awesome. I was able to get Blade Runner going before but it required a custom installer. I’m going to try this method tonight.