An Intro Guide to Blake Stone

This is a spoiler-free guide for people who wish to check out the series Blake Stone, two first person shooter games developed for DOS by JAM Productions and published by Apogee. This is not a walkthrough and is just meant as an intro to the series to help people get started playing the games. The two games are sci-fi first person shooters made with the Wolfenstein 3-D engine where you play as a British spy named Blake Stone and must stop the evil Dr. Goldfire. The first game, Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold, was released one week before Doom in December, 1993. The second game, Blake Stone: Planet Strike, was released a year later in 1994. Planet Strike is a sequel similar to how Spear of Destiny is a sequel to Wolfestein 3-D, where there are not any major overhauls but it changes the graphics for the enemies and makes a variety of little changes. The first game had strong sales until the technically superior Doom came out and Planet Strike struggled to sell with it still using the dated Wolfenstein 3-D engine. The development studio shut down fairly soon after the release of Planet Strike.

screenshot of the player shooting a gun at the guard

Why Should I Play It?

Even though it was quickly overshadowed by the superior game Doom, I think there’s still a lot to appreciate about this series. It has a lot of features that weren’t in either Wolfestein 3-D or Doom such as vending machines, friendly NPCs you can interact with, a silent weapon for not alerting other guards, being able to travel back to previous levels, and it did some things before Doom like an auto map and textured floors and ceilings. If you’re a fan of retro FPS, you will probably enjoy playing this series.

How Do I Get Started?

It’s easy to get the games running on modern computers. If you don’t have the series, you can buy them on GOG or Steam. While they run well in DOSBox, I recommend the BStone Source Port. This adds a some nice features like customizable key bindings and improves the graphics a small amount. Just download the latest release here

Tips for Playing Blake Stone

There’s a couple things to keep in mind while playing the games that will help you avoid some headaches people can run into with this series, and to fully appreciate them.

Search for Secret Walls
If you’re unfamiliar with early 90s FPS, one important thing to know is that they frequently had secret rooms filled with health and ammo hidden behind walls. The way to discover these is pretty much by spamming the Open Door button while walking along walls.

Save Often
You will want to save regularly. Encounters with enemies can go poorly and may require reloading, especially since there are some enemies that can drain your health very quickly.

Read the Manual
There’s nothing too important in here. I just think the comic they included as the backstory is kinda neat.

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