Great moments in PC gaming: The Dark Carnival level in Blood

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.


Developer: Monolith Productions
Year: 1997

Ahhh, Blood. Your typical 90s shooter, except you're out to kill the dark god Tchernobog, can use a voodoo doll as a weapon, and you're an undead former cult leader. Just the usual stuff, really!

Blood was always the odd-cousin of the Build engine games, in that everyone agreed it was good (unlike, say, TekWar and PowerSlave), but rarely did it get much of a look-in next to Shadow Warrior and Duke Nukem 3D. A shame, because while it was a deliberately ugly game, it did some extremely cool things, especially in terms of your destructive power. Not many games start off by letting you chuck entire sticks of dynamite around, quoting old horror movies as you go.

As with many shooters of the era though, the best levels were in the shareware version, first released a few months before the full game—and top of them all was Dark Carnival.

It wasn't just a shooting gallery, but a whole collection of fun little distractions like kicking heads into targets, tightrope-walking across a snake pit, and even access to a bonus level set in an evil haunted house. Encountering it was a balloon-popping journey into charnel house whimsy that, like Duke Nukem 3D, really helped sell what we could look forward to in the next generation of shooters. The one after the crap early 3D ones, of course.

Best of all, you could kill mimes. So many mimes. In many horrible ways. While the rest is obviously pretty simple by modern standards, some pleasures just don’t get old. Unlike every mime act ever. Burn!

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