Review by Ofisil
"Cool, fun and sexy, although it could be bloody better!"
BloodRayne is an Action\Shooter developed by Terminal Reality and released by Majesco Games. Although bringing nothing really new to the scene it made some bucks when it hit the stores. Many said that BloodRayne succeeded because of its cool style of action, others believe that this game features many things that sell, (vampires, nazi's etc), but all, without a doubt know that a sexy female protagonist sells more than anything! But is the game itself really fun?
The story introduces Rayne, who is a Dhampir, (half-vampire), and see that she is searching for her father in order to kill him. While doing so, some mysterious people of a secret organization make Rayne a suggestion to join them. After some years, before the WW2 starts you are a given a mission by this organization to investigate the actions of a Nazi paranormal group, (like in Wolfenstein). After playing for a while you find out that the Nazis are trying to unleash an evil power in the world.
Extremely typical like in most action games but here not only we have an average plot but the game manages to make it look bad. The main problem is that 90% of your quests revolve around killing Nazi high ranking officers and nothing more. Cutscenes don't give you many details about your mission or Rayne's past, only endless killing. Finally simple plot twits and lack of interesting secondary characters make the whole experience even worse. The only good thing is that it has some sort of a B-Movie atmosphere.
BloodRayne is quite good in terms of graphic quality. Models are detailed and textures, (model and scenery), are really life like and with the help of gloss maps, (that make textures more shinny) and bump maps, (that make textures look more 3D), everything looks quite good. Decent special effects, lighting and water too. Shadows are not so good though and I don't mean they are bad, I mean that they can barely bee seen. All stages are a bit misty and gloomy and especially in open areas after some meters fog surrounds everything something that enables faster game performance but restrain you from enjoying the view from afar. Where the game truly shines is animation and I'm not talking about the simple enemy animation but Rayne's. This sexy gal cuts, jumps, grabs, bites like no other vampire lady and that makes the game look gooooood! Why 6/10 in design you ask? Well, one word only, variety! Only three Acts that have many stages that all look extremely similar, 2-4 human enemies with no major differences between them, some monsters and that's it.
With or without music this game feels the same. Most music themes can barely be heard and almost all of them are more like ambient tracks. Apart from the music section, sound effects are quite good. Guns sound like guns, monsters growl and scream, characters have good voice acting, (Nazis speak English but that's another matter), and Rayne sounds ok although dialogues are quite cheesy.
Replay Value: 6.2/10
This game confused me in a strange way. I cannot decide even today if I like it or hate it. Well I'll start from the advantages of the game. Rayne can use 2 Katars, (some kind of knifes attached into her arms), to slash enemies. This is the basic attack of Rayne and the one that you'll use most of the time. Hitting enemies means cutting them to pieces and is something that can be quite fun especially if you like gory situations. You can hold one gun at each hand that automatically target enemies. There are two things that make gun fight great and these are that each hand can target a different enemy and that you don't need to holster your blades. You can shoot then slash, shoot, slash, shoot again and again without any weapon change. Also Rayne can make cool high jumps and acrobatic side jumps to evade bullets while shooting at the same time. Finally you can throw a harpoon to catch enemies from a distance. Every continuous hit you make with your blade makes the next hit a bit different a more powerful like in old fighting games. Also after some missions you get more moves.
Now let's talk about vampire abilities. Rayne moves very fast, jumps high and can use some special tricks, First we have Aura View which can help you see in the dark, find where to go next and know if an enemy sees you or not. Secondly we have some kind of a bullet time mode that like Max Payne slows time enabling you dodging bullets and other stuff like that. The thing with this mode is that in difference with the traditional bullet time where time slowing doesn't affect you, here you become slow too something that isn't bad but here in BloodRayne's bullet time you move very, very, very slow. Also there is an ability that can help you see and shoot from afar, (in first person view), in order to act like a hitman. Finally when hitting enemies you fill up a bar that when it fills up lets you go into the Blood Rage mode which slows time a bit and make your attacks more lethal. Finally Rayne can bite human enemies and drink their blood in order to fill her health bar.
Now the bad things. As I've said Rayne moves fast, that makes the game fun but also makes accurate movement, (like precision jumps), a bit hard. You can use any weapon that falls into your hand but can only hold 8 of them. That is not bad to be honest, but the fact that you can find any additional ammo or take ammo from the weapons that lie on the ground is a bit frustrating. Also I've personally found Aura Sight quite useless. Apart from showing you where to go next it shows the awareness state of your enemies. The thing is that although you can do that the game doesn't let you play in a more stealthy way. Most enemies see you no matter the distance may be and in case they've turned their back at you they don't react to sounds made by you. Another thing that was a bit bad for me was the camera movement at some points of the game that was quite bad, especially in narrow spaces.
This game also is extremely straightforward and offers 2 kinds of missions only, 99% percent of the game is actually a big main quest. You have to kill some commanding officers that apart from being very easy, (you can just bite them and they are history), they are nothing more than simple enemies that are a bit harder to kill because the block some of your attacks. The remaining 1% is the usual find that object quest, but don't expect anything great, you just go in a room find some batteries go in the elevator use the batteries and the show goes on. Also the game is easy and very small. I finished it in 5 hours but judging from what I've seen this game is great for speed runs because it can easily be beaten even faster. In general in this game you just kill, kill, kill. No strategy needed, it's pure fast paced gory action, there are 40 stages and all look the same.
-Fast paced cool action
-Great main character design and animations
-Err Bouncing boobs!!!
-Extremely average plot, badly executed
-No enemy, quest and level variety
-Too small and too easy
-Bad camera movement
BloodRayne 2 (PC, PS2, XBOX)
Devil May Cry (Series)
Oni (PC, PS2)
The game is quite cool but it is also a one-time fun only. The funny thing is that the second time I've played it I tried beating it as fast as I could and it turned out to be more fun this way and really the beauty of BloodRayne is it's fast paced killing kind of style. Too bad because with a more experienced developer or at least with a more sophisticated gameplay it could be a new classic, oh and remember Bouncing Boobs!
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 08/06/07, Updated 02/09/09
Game Release: BloodRayne (EU, 05/31/05)
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