Review by wunko

"Not as cool as HOTD or TC2, but fun enough!"

Intro
Vampire Night is another lightgun game for the Playstation2. Luckily, it is made by WOW Entertainment which creates The House of the Dead lightgun game series. Unfortunately, VN is not as cool as HOTD, but it still works as something for a lightgun fan on PS2 that wants to shoot monsters. Or simply if a gamer is trigger-happy.

Story
It's plain and simple: Vampires have awaken in a European town and you must save the people and eliminate the threat. It is a typical story for that of a lightgun game. Don't expect a complex Metal Gear Solid story or something, but this is what VN is all about.

VN's story isn't that bad, but it's not something really unique anymore. It surely fits the game when you play though. I got no complaints about that.

Gameplay
Basically, you hold a plastic gun and shoot at the monsters on your television set. This a lightgun game, so you are not really supposed to use a standard Dual Shock controller that came with your PS2. Just point the Guncon2 at the TV, aim at the monster, and pull the trigger.

It's real fun to kill the monsters. It gives more of a challenge for those who do not enjoy shooting humans anymore in other gun games. The monsters hope out at you at different speeds, and only a fast trigger finger and reload method will save you from losing a life. There is enough action to keep you on your feet with your gun ready to blast the next thing that moves!

If you've played any HOTD game before, in the arcade or on the console, then VN is basically the same except easier. Besides fighting Vampire-like enemies rather than zombies, the bosses in VN are a LOT easier than the ones in like HOTD2, for instance. This time they're actually easier to beat! Not that it makes the game weak and too easy, but it's at a normal level for any lightgun gamer to pick up and enjoy. You can adjust the skill level and the amount of lives you get in options for Arcade mode.

Like in HOTD or other games, you will encouter civilians. Unlike HOTD, you must save the people by shooting a little monster that is attached to them. If you hit it carefully, then you will save the civilian and he or she may reward you with a free life. Miss, and the civilian will morph into a vampire and you must kill the civilian quick or he or she will bite you. Cool, huh?

Graphics
The graphics are not the best PS2 graphics around, so this game doesn't really show the power of the PS2. There are more jaggies in this game than what I could see in TC2 (I'm not an XBOX fan, in fact, I don't even like XB!).

On the other hand, the textures for the environment are much detailed! That is good because it helps fit with the eerie feeling of the game. The lighting is alright also. The creators definently did their best to make the graphics but they weren't top notch.

Usually Japanese developers put more detail into textures rather than the maps they put on characters and levels like in Halo for XB. Look at Quake II and Unreal Tournament's graphics although those games weren't bad at all.

The thing I hate though is that the levels aren't as detailed as the levels in HOTD2. In detail, I mean they need to add more objects in the environment. Look at the starting hallway in Stage 3 and the long ones in Stage 4. Take an overall look at Stage 5 in whole: there aren't that much objects! Just platforms! If you play those levels, you'll notice that they aren't like HOTD2. I think WOW should've put more effort into level design.

Control
The control is awesome if you use Namco's Guncon2! It allows a good grip and the most accurate aiming anywhere! Forget those third party guns, all you need is a high-quality Guncon2.

The aiming is accurate much unlike Sega's lightgun for their arcade games. The grip of the Guncon2 is great. You can hit the clip button on the butt of the gun, press A or B, or shoot off the screen to reload. Much more options that in the arcade version of VN.

You can also use the Guncon1 controller for those who do not have the Guncon2. There is only a problem with the NTSC version of the game though: the Guncon1 doesn't work if the opposing player is using a Guncon2. That is weird and it's a big con for the game.

You can NOT play this game with the standard game controller. I mean, you can, but it's gonna stink! That's because this a lightgun game and you're supposed to use a gun, not the d-pad and X button! You will not enjoy this game if you use the Dual Shock controller. Make sure you have a gun or otherwise you are wasting your money. :)

Cinematics
The cut scenes are okay. They are just like any other lightgun games: short with bad english. They do flow with the story just right, but they aren't like cut scenes from a big game like MGS. In my opinion, Time Crisis 2 has better cut scenes than VN's. VN's cut scenes aren't that interesting and the characters' mouths are not lip synched to the actual voices. That's what I really hate.

Sound/Music
The sound is great. From gun shots blazing to roaring monsters, every sound fits the game. There's nothing really incredible about the sound, but it's not bad. Oh yeah, the voice acting is bad just like in most other gun games.

The music is something to look at. Some of background music has some nice tunes, but the others are horrible. Generally, the instruments they used aren't as stylish or good as ones used in Namco's TC2. The worst music ever is the boss fight BGM for Stage 3 and 5. The music is so cheap that it sounds like those MIDI files that people used when Doom and Duke Nukem 3d were high-tech. The tunes in TC2 and maybe even other games make you feel more tense of the current situation versus VN's music.

Basically, the sound and music is okay, but not spectacular. The music is kind of corny if you want to put it that way.

Replay Value
For a lightgun game fan, this game definently has good replay value if you ignore the cheap stuff in the game.

Arcade mode only takes around 40 minutes to beat. After you finish that, you can play Training and Special mode.

There are many training excersizes in Training mode to keep you busy. You'll be addicted to beating them so it will last you some time. I haven't even completed it all yet!

Special mode is a big part of the game. It uses the same levels as Arcade except there are actually objectives to complete. Civilians will ask you to do certain things like locate an object they need. When you go through Special mode and see the object, shoot it. If you successfully complete a mission then you get a reward for it! From special items to silver, this is what you get basically.

Throughout the levels in Special mode you will find silver lying around in certain objects after you destroy them. You can also collect special items to be used in Special mode. You use the silver to go to the Shop in the menu. In the Shop, you can buy any special items you may need for the convenience or aid in completing civilians missions. There are items like things for NO RELOAD, stronger bullets, extra life, +2 extra credit, etc. There are many interesting ones but I won't list them all here. You can earn these items if you find them in the Special mode levels or you can purchase them with the silver you earn or find.

With these two additional modes not available in the arcade version, you will definently keep yourself coming back for more. Perfect for any lightgun game fan who wants a gun game that lasts. When you beat all the modes though, you can always try to beat your old scores in Arcade mode or something. Not every game in the world lasts forever.

Overall
The creators did not put much work into the game as they did for the other HOTD games, but they sure did make a solid lightgun game. It's not the best out there and not as cool as TC2 or HOTD, but it is still worth it. If you like lightgunning and you got a PS2, be sure to pick this one up. If I had one choice I would prefer to get TC2 over this, but at least VN should be better than getting Endgame, a lightgun game for PS2 that simply is a bad copy of TC2. So, yeah, GET VAMPIRE NIGHT!! You'll like it.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/25/02, Updated 06/25/02


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