Review by Rottenwood
"Extra Blood But Light On Brains"
BloodRayne is a thoroughly stupid affair, but that's not exactly an insult. A game about a sexy vampire vixen who battles evil insects and Nazis isn't exactly aiming for the intellectual crowd. If you enjoy gory, violent nonsense, this title is right up your alley. However, the BloodRayne experience is tarnished overall by its short length and rather mediocre quality.
Discussing the plot of this game is like reviewing one of those movies they play on Cinemax at 2:30 in the morning, but what the heck. You're Agent Rayne or BloodRayne or whatever, a half-vampire dedicated to doing good deeds in the most disgusting and violent way possible. Like not many special agents, you're dressed like a Gothic hooker and armed with giant conspicuous blades attached to your arms. Obviously, your enjoyment of the concept depends heavily on how you feel about sexy vampire babes. I love them, personally, although I feel Rayne could have benefitted from dressing more conservatively at first and leaving some things to the imagination for a while. But these kids today, they lack the patience to wait around for some quality digital cleavage.
The game play in BloodRayne is a mish-mash of other successful titles, including Max Payne, Devil May Cry, and of course Blood Omen. BloodRayne's main attack is to leap onto a foe and drain his blood, thus killing him and replenishing her health. Rayne can also find tons of different guns to use, but since the blood-sucking attack is a free kill AND grants health, it seems silly to waste your time with gunplay. You can even latch onto a guy in the middle of a five-on-one gun battle and suck him dry, getting your health back instantly even as bullets hit you left and right.
Despite the game's wide selection of weapons, I could hardly tell the difference between shooting one gun or the other. They all seemed to have the same effect, be it a revolver or a shotgun or what have you. Some enemies were bite-proof (insects, big bad bosses, etc.) and thus the guns were somewhat necessary, but I just shot them at random and went through each gun in my inventory, not really noticing which one I was using at the time. If you're sick of guns and can't eat another bite of tasty blood, Rayne's arm-blades are a nasty and effective way to kill. As the game progresses, Rayne gains larger attack combinations with her arm-blades, although banging away on the L-trigger isn't exactly an ambitious method of chaining together attacks.
By golly, there's more! Rayne can shoot out a chain spear thingie, like Scorpion's from Mortal Kombat, that snags an enemy and pulls him toward you. Once he's there, let the slashing or nibbling begin. And if you suck up enough blood, Rayne can unleash a Furious Frenzy O' Blood Rage attack (I made that name up, if you couldn't tell) that slows down time for her foes and lets her do incredible damage. All in all, it's not a totally awful action package, but it definitely feels like the developers went down to the store and picked up random bits from other games and stapled them together.
The game's main problem is that the combat is too simple and that the enemies pose little-to-no threat. Just about every foe in the game can be slaughtered by standing next to them and hammering on the L-trigger, unleashing the nasty arm-blades. And if you manage to take damage from getting shot, just hop onto the nearest bad guy and drain some blood. All it takes is a hapless humanoid and a touch of the B button to get back half your life bar. The enemies are deadly dull, too. Zombies and spiders and such. Blah. Of course, to be fair, once you start killing Nazis, you may have more fun. Killing Nazis is ALWAYS fun in video games.
The game's graphics, to put it nicely, are awful. I've read stellar reviews about this game's visual package from other non-professionals, and I wonder if perhaps I got some rare and coveted Ugly Version of this game. The animation isn't bad and there is relatively little choppiness, but it looks like a PlayStation 1 game for the most part. My friends and I were actually laughing at the shoddy visuals when I first popped the game in... NOT a good sign.
The sound quality is a little better. The music is ultimately forgettable but not awful. And the voice acting is actually pretty good, and I was relieved that Rayne wasn't given some horribly lame Dracula-esque voice to annoy me with.
I got this game for free (19.99 at Electronics Boutique, with a $20 mail-in rebate), and that's a fair price for this title. It can be guilty fun in short bursts, especially for vampire fans. And there's some unintentional humor to be had as well, especially during the opening scenes, where Rayne is chatting with her female vampire buddy and their breasts would occasionally bounce for no explained reason. Seriously, the vampire chick would be standing completely still, and during the dialogue scene, her chest jiggled from some unseen force. I wish I was kidding, but sadly, I'm not. Anyhow, if you're a fan of this stuff, pick this game up at a very cheap price or give it a rent. Otherwise, let it pass.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/25/03, Updated 01/25/03
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