True to the film, Blade Runner is a mystery yarn centered on a detective tracking a group of dangerous replicants. Of course, things are a little different -- Ray McCoy is a rookie, fairly new to the unit, hoping to make the big bucks from a replicant "retirement." His position on the force makes him considerably different than Deckard, who returns to the job for one last hunt. The two stories also intertwine slightly, and at various points in the game Deckard's name is mentioned or his case is alluded to. Some of the most iconic set pieces from the film are also faithfully recreated in the adventure -- I doubt I'm the only one who got chills exploring the dilapidated hotel-turned-home home of J.F. Sebastian.

Concept art from the film Blade Runner by Syd Mead.

Blade Runner conveys its story especially well thanks to incredibly ambitious technology for the time of its release. The backgrounds are all pre-rendered and decorated down to the smallest detail. Though games of its ilk are becoming more and more rare, Blade Runner's areas conjure up memories of similarly-designed backdrops such as Myst's and RE-make's. The technology provides a representation of dreary dystopian Los Angeles that lives up to the original vision of the film, and the video cutscenes are even more detailed than the regular gameplay thanks to fully-rendered characters. The visual side is also backed up by a soundtrack that does its best to emulate Vangelis' score and a total reliance on voice acting -- no reading lines and lines of dialogue here. Finally, McCoy narrates his detective work like a true noir gumshoe of old, adding in dry commentary or wisecracks to suit the mood.

Two factors do cause Blade Runner to show its age. Animation is the first -- though it's far ahead of many games of its time (such as, say, Final Fantasy VII), the characters still wave their arms at odd times and rarely display any sort of bodily movement appropriate for the conversation at hand. The cutscenes are a little better, and only display the general stiffness expected of 90s CG. Both fall victim to the unfortunate passage of time and advancement of technology, however. Though computers today can run the game without a hitch, its pre-rendered locations and videos look pixelated on monitors that stretch its 640x480 frame far past its intended size.



Since you're reading Nintendo Wii Fanboy, chances are you know that our beloved little system can't output video at a resolution greater than 480p. In a lot of cases, this can be disappointing; in the case of Blade Runner, it makes the system an ideal candidate for a port. The game's four discs could be crammed onto a single DVD easily, especially since much of the data on each CD was repeated content necessary to explore the city at any point in the game. And now that there's a console that can do the point-and-click genre justice, a game like Blade Runner is just what the Wii needs for something different.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.