Review by hijks

"Nothing revolutionary, but bloody fun!"

Before you play this game, do not expect anything grand. No matter what the advertisement says, this game is nowhere near an instant classic. Even though Bloodrayne does not offer much, it does its job darn well!

Sex appeal and Carnage
These are the two major selling points of this game, and it truly shines in these two departments. Rayne is good looking, and though her suit reveals less leg than Lara, it looks so tight that all the important curves are there. Other female outfits look ridiculously revealing, in comparison. I can understand that some people would be offended by that, but I myself do enjoy some polygonal beauty, when my significant other isn't looking.
However, the sex appeal department could use a little enhancement. Though Rayne is so nicely modeled, I could not find a free camera feature on PC. Other than a few cutscenes, you can only stare at Rayne's rear. It's a fine rear, however. Yet, imagine how much more fun the game can be if we are free to freeze the action, zoom in the camera, and appreciate how God and game designers create women.

Carnage, on the other hand, is nearly perfect in my opinion. When performing melee attacks, Rayne could send something flying, be it a helmet, a hand, a leg, or the upper half of a body. (I did not list everything.) The best part is that each body part sprays out blood, and wounded soldiers usually try to run or crawl away from the scene, leaving another trail of blood. In the end of a close quarter encounter, you usually stand in a room with a new paint job, with plenty of body parts all over the place. It's no Soldier of Fortune, but doing it up close and personal has its own appeals-- sometimes guns do not solve all the problems.

Now, I will continue this review with the more traditional angle.

Graphics 8/10
I ran the game in a P3-733, with 384 MB of RAM, with a GeForce 3 Ti 500 64 MB, at 800x600 with everything set to max. The game ran very smoothly, and loaded missions quite fast. I noted that in another review, a similar system had severe trouble running the game, so I would recommend you test it out first before spending your money on it.
The character models look decent, but nothing extraordinary (except the nice, flying body parts and our heroine). The environments of the three chapters requires separate scores. Chapter 1 is by far the worst, except the wonderful water reflection (but the credit, IMO, should go to nVidia). For a swamp level, most ''islands'' had been mowed recently, and all trees had no leaves. It's simply... plain.
Chapter 2 took place mostly indoors, and it's better than normal, but nothing like Unreal 2. Chapter 3, IMO, looks the best. A castle's ruin half covered by the snow? Anyone would be touched by the sight!
So, with ok models and avergely above-average environment, how does this game deserves an 8? Carnage certainly adds points to it, and a lot of destructable items littering all over the place do, too. A plain room can suddenly look very impressive after all the destruction. The game is all about fighting, and the graphics engine performs a great job showing that a big fight took place. That's why I gave it an 8!

Sound and music 7/10
Most sounds are nice in the game, but I did not pay much attention to the music. Rayne's voice acting requires special mention. Rayne talks A LOT in the game, and most of her dialogues are quite interesting to listen to. The voicework does a great job showing off Rayne's personality! Nothing wrong in sounds and music, and you will love to hear what Rayne has to say.

Gameplay 7/10
A gimmick here is that Rayne can suck blood to recover her health (and she makes a quite sensual noise when doing that... not to mention her posture). I am not sure what constitutes of her digestive system, but she seems to be fine with any humanoid creatures. I know it sounds weird, but just watch her sucking blood off zombies. This feature makes the game quite easy, since there are ''mobile health packs'' all over the place. It is interesting, IMO, since that box with a red cross on it is absent in this game.
The rest of the action, much like the graphics, looks average. In fact, during chapter 1, the game was awful. Rayne has two attacks: melee and guns. Left mouse button for melee, and right for guns. Since she auto-targets her guns, there's no real skill there, as long as you have a lot of bullets. Melee does not require much skill, either-- just run to your enemy and hit your mouse button as fast as you can. Since Rayne does not have many moves as in Splinter Cell or Enter the Matrix, you will see the same few fighting moves over and over again, and she's moving so fast you don't really see what's going on.
Once again, you will wonder how such a repetitive gameplay could earn a 7/10. The answer is unlimited bullet-time given after chapter 1. And in chapter 2, Rayne finally gets to kill some Nazis. With these two factors, the melee combat becomes amazingly interesting. It is very satisfying to run into a room full of Nazis, and cut them all into pieces, without taking a hit. In the mean time, you get to see Rayne's every move so very clearly in slow-mo, with Nazis screaming in a dull pitch. I ened up spending 80% of the remaining playing time in slow-mo, since it gives you much more time to respond to nasty surprises, take on multiple enemies, and especially boss characters. It is surprising how bullet time plus a lot of carnage could make a repetitive gameplay so much more fun.
This kind of fun does not last forever on its own, however. Fortunately, the game ends before it gets old. It took around 10-15 hours for me to finish the game, and since there is no multiplayer, it will be a while before I go back to it. It is one thing to show off when friends (males especially) come visit, though. Who wouldn't love to see a babe hacking Nazis in slow-mo?

Story 3/10
Ok, there's a few twists, but none will make you cry or anything. The meat of this game is in action. No, sorry, it should be cute babe in action. Expect a story much like Doom, and you will not be disappointed.

Atmosphere 8/10
The game's atmosphere is good, but somewhere in chapter 2, Rayne would encounter something rather strange, and that part was extremely spooky. There were a few escapes, and I was literally scared when running away, in slow-mo (which lengthened the scary moments), from these ''things.'' I played Resident Evil for breakfast, and Post Mortem for lunch. It's been a while since my hands got so sweaty playing games.

Overall 7.6/10
Bloodrayne does not do anything new. In fact, when most action games nowadays have many moves, like all sorts of rolls and climbing to the ledge, Bloodrayne's limited moves feel quite primitive. Yet, coupled with unlimited bullet time, and a great engine in modeling carnage, the simplistic gameplay suddenly becomes hard to put down. It is not an instant classic, but it is fun while it lasts, and isn't that the goal of games?

The above review is simply a person's opinion, based on performance ran on a single machine. Check out other reviews and forums if you like more information about this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/24/03, Updated 05/24/03

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