Review by Auron255

"A simplistic Vampire game with some genuine charm..."

Blood Rayne is a hard game to introduce -- it's really hard to figure out from where I should start writing about this game. Should I start with the beautiful Blood Rayne, the Nazis, horrific Daemites, the Brimstone Society, Rayne's hand blades or her Matrix style moves, etc.?

In Blood Rayne, you take on the role of our beautiful anti-heroine, Rayne. She's the most beautiful digitized woman you'll ever find. Anyway, she's a Dhampir -- a half-vampire/half-human who is the product of her human mothers rape by a vampire father and she's a highly trained assassin with long blades attached to her hands (more on that later). The game starts off in 1933 in the swamps of Louisiana where strange things are happening -- just the (im)perfect way to start the game. Five years later she's dispatched to South America where even stranger things are happening and guess who's causing this? You guessed it right -- the Nazis. The Nazis will do anything to win World War II even if that means reincarnating the devil himself . Then she's off to Germany where the final showdown takes place between her, Jurgen Wulf (the villain) and a special guest of honor.......

The game is divided into three acts -- Louisiana, Argentina and Germany with each act consisting of several sections. Each part offers a save point at the start of the level like so many other games but not to worry, most of the sections aren't too long and therefore you get the chance of saving often. Every level has an objective like assassinate the target (she's an assassin if you didn't know) while sometimes it can be a bit tedious like "find that damn explosive to open that damn door so you can kill your damn target".

The combat system is the game's strongest point since its fluid and extremely well done. Rayne has a large range of combat moves and they link together to form some devastating combos. As the game progresses, Rayne learns new and more powerful moves -- literally chopping her enemy into diced tomatoes. The best part of the combat is that you can use both her hand blades and two guns simultaneously -- just how cool is that? Different time sensitive weapons can be picked up from dead soldiers during the game, most of which are useful. She can automatically target any enemy (as if there were any allies in the game......) making long range battle more fun than it would have been without this feature. Although weapons are aplenty, her blades are much more useful when it comes to close combat -- kill enough baddies and you have Bloodrage which when unleashed -- the screen turns red, time slows down and she can perform more devastating moves one after another -- literally ripping apart bosses within seconds.

Now, everyone knows that vampires regain health when they feed off their victims -- similarly in the game you can jump or grab onto a nearby soldier or another vampire (vampires feeding off vampires?) with the press of a button and presto -- your health bar is refilled. This can be very helpful at times since levels later on in the game tend to have lots of enemies on the screen at any given time and it's most likely that they'll drain your health more than expected -- Rayne might be strong but she's not invincible. It also helps her avoid gunfire as the enemy she's feeding off can be used as a human (or vampire, whichever is the case) shield from incoming fire and the way its done is pure style AND substance. She can also harpoon her enemies from a few feet away with the help of a harpoon chain which comes in handy when fighting against Nazis with jet packs.

Just as other Dhampirs of the same kind -- Rayne also has a few extra senses. First off is Aura vision -- with it she can see through the dark, view objectives easily (appears as a blue glow) and also displays enemies positions and it also comes in handy as night vision. However, its the atmospheric effect of this sense that makes it just so cool and compelling. Just imagine sneaking up on a Nazi in the dark and pouncing on him like a tiger -- sounds fun, huh? Dilated Perception is the most useful vision you'll find in the game since it slows down time and allows you to dodge bullets. Actually it doesn't slow down time but it makes Rayne move faster than normal so it looks like time has slowed down -- in this mode she can basically dodge bullets and attacks by her foes. This mode unlike Max Payne or Enter the Matrix is a normal sense for Rayne (she's a vampire after all) and is for unlimited use. Just don't think its only for style -- its very useful and necessary at times when tons of enemies surround her -- without this the games learning curve would have been serverely steep. The third and final vision is picked up later in the game -- it allows her to zoom in on the baddies and like other visions, this one is also necessary since it allows her to snipe enemies from afar and survey her targets safely.

The graphics in Blood Rayne is where it all goes down at. First of all, the frame rate stutters when heated battles start, ans it goes way too low making you lose some fights throughout the game. But there are some nice touches in the attention of detail as environments take damage -- for example bullets will take down pillars in a building, if you'd been taking cover behind one -- then be ready to jump out since they fall down when damaged enough. Rayne's hand blades also leave marks and scratches on walls and if you kill an enemy near a wall -- be ready to see some blood drawings. The game's architecture is absolutely brilliant as is the level design -- which are at times pretty original and cool. It's just too bad that the coloring in the game wasn't as vivid as it should've been since everything I looked at had a somewhat grayish color except for the red of blood. The in game cut scenes are pretty good since lip synching is done almost perfectly and the movements, albeit stiff -- were still pretty good. Animation is also good throughout the game with solid movement for Rayne and a few other boss characters but it all drops down when going for Nazi soldiers as their movements seem stiff and stilty when compared to the others. Overall, graphics for BloodRayne aren't too good or too bad either -- just average.

The soundtrack is often creepy enough to make you twinge a bit and it gets uber disturbing when Rayne gets on to feed on an enemy.....her moans.......The music also changes with action as soft music settles in during exploration and techno during heavy slashing. The voice over for Rayne was dead on, a mix between a beautiful seductive woman and a battle hardened beotch -- she sounds like a woman you wouldn't want to mess with but would love to be with at the same time. At the same time, Nazis have really weird German accents and sputter cheesy things like "I'll wear you like Lederhosen", but then again, Rayne herself sputters cheesy stuff when fighting.

*while she's feeding off a screaming soldier*
"Honey, what'll the neighbors think"

*when the battleground is clear*
"Nazi boys wanna come out and play? I promise I'll bite."

So, is BloodRayne worth it or not? I won't waste my time since I seem to be missing her already but here goes nothing: it's a fun, short arcade type game with almost no replay value. It's great for you if you're looking for a fun time slaughtering Nazis with a hot vampire chick with lots of guns and hand blades at her disposal but if you aren't -- then rent it and see if it suits you since everyone has different tastes. If you're a concerned parent -- then DO NOT get this game for your child since its filled with gritty violence, sexual innuendoes and a lot of cursing.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/30/04


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