Blair Witch: Volume I - Rustin Parr
Windows - 2000
Description of Blair Witch: Volume I - Rustin Parr
The Blair Witch Project was a film that divided audiences like no other. One half were on the edge of their seats the whole time, the other half wondered why everyone was getting worked up over the shake-o-vision camera work and the fact that you never actually saw anything. The idea that there would be a game to follow up the film's success was inevitable. Exactly what you would do in this game was not. Let's face it, Blair Witch could have been a FPS, RTS, RPG and just about any other acronym you could think of. It turned out to be an 'action/adventure', which completely buggered its chances with the gaming cognoscenti.
The game is set in the one-horse town of Burkitsville, where all the atrocities took place in the film. You play Elspeth 'Doc' Holliday, a member of Spookhouse; a top-secret government agency set up to track spooky things (yes, the very same organization featured in Nocturne: expect obligatory appearances from familiar characters like the "Stranger"). You have been sent in to investigate the murder of seven children by one Rustin Parr, a loner who lives in the forest by town, which is said by local folklore to be haunted by the Blair Witch, who possessed Parr and forced him to murder the children. Naturally, anything relating to murders, rituals, witches and ancient evil is going to be popular, and many fans of the film are going to rush out and buy the game no matter what it's like...which would probably be a mistake.
If the film confused you, then you don't stand a chance with the game. You'd think the intro would tell you what's going on: Who you are and what you're doing. It doesn't. In fact it doesn't tell you anything because there isn't one. What you think is the intro -- the main character seemingly about to be executed -- is the training room and you're not going to be executed... it's just a silly prank. Confused? I had to watch it through three times before I had even a rough idea of what was going on. In-game training modes are thankfully common these days, but the one in Blair Witch is just plain weird. In most tutorials, there is little pretence made that it is a tutorial you're playing and not really part of the game. But in Blair Witch, Terminal Reality has tried to make it seem like you're just playing the game. This leads to a disjointed mess where you follow the on-screen instructions of your commander but he keeps making comments like "When you aimed up or down, did it seem too fast or too slow?" It makes everything you do seems totally unnatural and out of place. Another instance is when packing for the mission in Burkitsville. There's a comment by an in-game character watching you stuff your suitcase on every single item you pack. Now if someone stood over my shoulder while I was packing and made comments like 'Ah, toothbrush, very handy. Good for cleaning teeth, you know.' I'd have punched them in the throat before they got around to 'Now you'll need an extra pair of shoes in case the ones you've got run out'.
Fortunately the training is soon behind you and you can get on with playing the game proper. You book your room in Burkitsville, and after a few hints by the innkeeper you get to explore the town. This is by far the best part of the game. For half-an-hour, it seems like you've got the freedom to go where you like, talk to who you want and generally just play and get involved. It doesn't take long, though, before you realise the game's actually very linear. Everything has to be done in a certain order because it simply won't let you do anything else. Want to go to the forest? Not until you've had the dream. Want to get out of the dream? Not until you've shot all the monsters. It even uses B-movie tools such as dreams and hallucinations so you can revisit areas twice to make the game seem longer. Even once you've got into the forest, you go to investigate Parr's house but can't leave until you've discovered every scrap of evidence. The 'puzzles' are also non-existent. The only two parts of the game that I can honestly call puzzles are where you have to analyse two sound recordings you (automatically) make, and these are completely trial and error. You have to find hidden messages in the two recordings, one of which is a recording of a young girl seemingly speaking to herself. However, all you can hear is static. You only hear the girl's voice when you find the ghost's voice.
Speaking of strange conversations, your progress in the game seems to be determined by talking to the right people at the right time. Don't be frightened of saying the wrong thing because you have no, er, say in what you say. All you have to do is select the person you want to talk to, and the game runs through everything it needs to. You don't have to ask them about anything or anyone, it's all done for you. Very nice, except it's all horribly reminiscent of the bastardised 'interactive movies' of a few years ago. You feel like you've got less control than you do over a scalectrix car -- at least with that you can go backwards. In BW you just wander around aimlessly hoping to trigger the one event that lets you progress. Ironically there's actually a 'hard' mode that gives you fewer clues, but as you don't actively need to think anyway, it really doesn't make any difference. You could say it's quite convenient; at least this way you don't have to actually play the damn thing.
If you can say one good thing about BW, though, you could certainly say it looks pretty darn groovy. Based on their Nocturne engine, claiming Blair Witch would look good is as guaranteed as the future offspring of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. Graphically, the game is spot-on. Nocturne 's mean and moody colour schemes lend themselves perfectly to the Blair Witch mythos. Thin, spindly trees overhang pathways, rivers are a deathly pale grey and the dynamic lighting is the best I've ever seen. Your character has a torch strapped onto the barrel of all the weapons, which means any monsters charging towards you cast a huge, menacing shadow behind them. The shadows cast by foresaid trees also look absolutely magnificent, and do wonders for the rarely present atmosphere. In fact, the engine is the one saving grace of BW, so it's quite disappointing to say that even this isn't perfect.
The main problem with the game engine is exactly the same as in Nocturne, and that problem lies mostly with the camera angles. Although they're fantastic for looking dark and evil, and you can get some great screenshots from them, they're utter pants for actually playing. The problem is not that you can't see where you're going (although this does crop up from time to time), but that they're all over the place. If you're on the High Street in Burkitsville, and you want to enter Gretchen's Diner, just by walking across the road you can go through up to five different camera changes before you actually walk in. Now, this is just by walking across the road -- God knows what would happen if you went through an obstacle course on the way. Even the readme file says that if you don't like a camera angle you should move to a different area, so the developers do realise there's a problem, even if they couldn't do anything about it.
Another little niggle with the Nocturne engine is the control system that comes with it. Although it's pretty much the same as most first person shooters, it's damn hard to put your character where you want her to go. This isn't so bad when you're pottering around town, trying to talk to everyone. But when you're belting through twisty woodland footpaths with a hell-hound, two zombies and a ghost all chasing after you, it becomes more than a handful. Even more so when the auto-aim locks onto a monster you're trying to run away from and you end up heading either straight for it or into the nearest tree. There is an alternative point and click method available but it doesn't really help because it has the same problem: adequate for mooching about, over-stressed in combat.
It's all a shame, really. When the Blair Witch mythos is allowed to shine through, the game is enthralling. The trouble is that almost all the time it's submerged under a torrent of linearity, weird camera angles, linearity, poor controls and even, yes, I'll say it, linearity. BW is plagued by poor design decisions and silly little oversights such as the tip of the cursor in the journal facing the top-right instead of the top-left. Yes, it's only a small mistake, but why the hell is it like that in the first place? There's also the problem that the subtitles don't match what's being spoken and the fact that the main character doesn't only speak the Queen's English, but she speaks it like the Queen. Empathy? Don't think so, old bean, I'm off to see Bertie and Floppy. Might have some bolly on the way. Cheerio! Oh, please.
I would like to say there's a good game hiding under all those faults, but I really can't. The whole thing is just a tangled mess of inadequacies and oversights. With a big franchise behind it, the $19.99 price tag, and 2 more episodes on the way, the game was obviously planned more for the mainstream audience than the regular PC gamer -- an odd choice, then, to fuel the game with the Nocturne engine, which requires whopping specs (almost a gig of HD space and a high-end processor/video card combination for decent gameplay speed). Regardless, only consider buying it if you're criminally insane or a sado-masochist. Otherwise, leave well alone.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
TeleFan76 2023-09-27 0 point
Just download the Repack version and extract it to a folder. It is a windows game so dosbox isn't needed. If you have problems running it on your version of windows try checking out the gaming wiki site to see if there are any fixes and patches.
JediStriker816 2023-09-11 1 point
First timer to this site and really want to play this game. Do I need DosBox? Don't know how to work that either if I do. Got an HP Enxy x360 if that helps at all
Bladez1992 2023-09-03 0 point
Hey everyone, I've had a project for a few years now making new installers for old PC games; Blair Witch Collection (Volumes 1 thru 3) are three of the games I've restored
Come check out Legacy Gamer's Union on Discord for this game and plenty of others that actually work on Windows 10/11
J.D. 2022-10-21 0 point
a small correction about the game, change the compatibility to Windows 98/Me is almost mandatory, otherwise the game will 1. load very slowly or 2. won't boot up at all. after you change this settings run it as administrator, it will reduced the loadtimes on the menu screen and settings options. about the hardware mode it depends on you're pc, it should work fine on modern pcs but with some mild loading, but in software mode its alot faster and recommended for older pc's.
J.D. 2022-10-19 0 point
a great game, survival horror with fixed cameras similar to classic resident evil. despite the name it has little to do with "The Blair Witch Project" film, it does serve as a both sequel to "Nocturne" and a loose prequel tie-in to the film. my best guess is the developer "Terminal Reality" were unable to fund for Nocturne sequel, so in a clever move to keep the original team at bay, they used to Blair Witch license for funding to make a continuation/spin-off to Nocturne. three chapters where made. the other two were developed by different studios ("Human Head Studios" and "Ritual Entertainment") it's shame all 3 chapters were sold separately and not as a bundle together after 3rd chapter released.
the good news it does work on win 10, the bad news is on hardware mode (higher resolution settings) it takes a toll on a menu screen and it is slow as molasses. it takes like a minute for the menu screen to load i actually thought the game froze on me, but every time i want to go back to the menu or the settings it takes forever. the game itself thankfully runs OK in 30 fps, but sometimes it get choppy here and there during gameplay for some reason (not because it gets busy on screen like older hardware). i have pretty strong PC, so i have no idea why it's struggling. i did follow some tips on how to fix game performance with the dgvoodoo2, change some settings here and there on my pc and compatibility settings, it didn't really fix my main issue, the slowdowns are still present. in software mode (640x680) and it plays much better, the menu loads quicker, the frame rate is consistent with no slowdowns and after a while you get used to it, the backrounds and shadows are low-rez anyway no matter the resolution. maybe a proper patch will be nice. Nocturne got a great patch for modern PCs to run higher resolution with no slow downs. why not this one and it's 2 other chapters. great game just make sure you're pc can handle the game's high-rez performance.
Siwy 2022-10-07 1 point
How to run setup? Nothing happens after running setup. NO reaction. I tried with compatibility, booting in safe mode (the virtual drive does not work then)
DarkNES04 2022-09-20 2 points
This game was an ABSOLUTE BLAST! As a huge fan of the BW project, when it came out, the lore was sparse, but this game helped explain everything, and it was VERY satisfactory. The game was creepy and made me jump at least once, and really got me hooked on the story. The other 2 games were easier, and got less creepy as they went, but still were good in story overall. 5 out of 5 stars all the way.
VirusURABUMHOLE666 2022-09-13 1 point
In case someone is upon this game, as you read about the comments. This game doesn't work on windows 10. Well, there's this video (I used it last year in 2021). It will provide all the information you need, how to install, having to replace old exe with new exe etc. It's a helpful vid and worked straight away with this person's help.
Hal 2022-04-10 2 points
I love these Blair Witch titles. A lot of horror games don't do anything for me, but these somehow still do even to this day. Almost criminal how underrated they are.
TheWolfbat 2022-04-02 7 points
I had an error on Windows 10 where after the files are mounted, the setup.exe would not run. The solution to this issue is starting Windows in safe mode and then starting the process as usual. After this, you should be able to access the game executable without issue.
Took me a while to find the solution (on a single comment on a YouTube video with 500 views no less!) so I hope this will help someone out in future!
Bladez1992 2021-06-08 -4 points
I made a fix for this game, a new installer.
If anyone wants to play it join my Discord server and look in the releases section for this download and other classic game fixes like this
Legacy Gamers' Union
retrogamer 2020-09-09 0 point
trying to play this on xp but the game doesnt show characters.
i see only shadows
unluckygirl 2020-08-23 2 points
So, I'm having trouble installing the game... I mean, the setup won't start for some reason, I've changed the compatibility to win 98 but still nothing
KirbyMorgan 2020-06-12 1 point
Works great in Windows 10, set compatibility settings to Windows 98, even works with 3D hardware enabled.
ScarecrowPete 2020-05-20 0 point
I never played this game when it came out, but it was actually really fun. I recommend you try it out. I ran under Compatibility for Windows XP, with reduced colour mode, in forced 640x480 resolution. It worked fine, for the most part, though for some reason menus were glacially slow even though loading was very fast.
Abandonded Games 2019-11-25 1 point
Hello all! I just recently reviewed this game! Have a look if you are interested :)
Tom 2019-03-09 3 points
This game scared the crap out of me when I was young, really good game considering its age.
Write a comment
Share your gamer memories, help others to run the game or comment anything you'd like. If you have trouble to run Blair Witch: Volume I - Rustin Parr (Windows) , read the abandonware guide first!
Download Blair Witch: Volume I - Rustin Parr
We may have multiple downloads for few games when different versions are available. Also, we try to upload manuals and extra documentation when possible. If you have additional files to contribute or have the game in another language, please contact us!
Fellow retro gamers also downloaded these games: