Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Gothic hottie in tight leather? Cool...but I get the same sight at Hot Topic."

The day and age of action gaming with blood, violence and gore is upon us in full force it seems. With games such as Max Payne and Dead to Rights, it almost seems fitting that a vampire game would come along to fill up the next slot in the shelf. Blood Rayne does just that, giving you a badass chick in leather that has a penchant for blood and sadistic tendencies. Trash talking and blade welding, Rayne is the complete gothic package that allows you to blow away the bad guy and suck out his life force all in one fell swoop with little more than a couple of button presses.

The Story

The story behind Blood Rayne is nothing special in which you are introduced to Rayne during a night of vampire hunting. The girl with the attitude and shocking colored hair is chasing down her father, a cruel and malicious vampire though his name goes unknown. Taken in by the Brimstone Society, Rayne is put to work as an agent and killing machine that is sent out against the Nazi regime in World War II and must kill everything in her path while solving a mystery. Though the story seems to have some depth, there are inconsistencies in why a woman like this is in a time era like that.

The Game Play

If you were to cross Tomb Raider and Max Payne with just a little bit of Dead to Rights, then you’d find the complete formula for Blood Rayne. The game itself centers more on task completion instead of just mindless killing, though there are portions of the game in which you do just that. Thinking around corners is a must for most of the missions, and Tomb Raider fans will find that this part of the game is something that they can, well, sink their teeth into. When the guns and the killing come into play, there are plenty of things that you can do to deal a little death on your way to the goal.

Killing isn’t just limited to shooting your enemies, but rather using a pair of wicked blades that are attached to Rayne’s arms. Through enough use, you’ll be able to learn new combinations that will dish out a new meaning of pain and if you’re lucky, you’ll learn how to use them all effectively. To regain a little heath, you have a couple of options in which you can either hunt down the heath packs, or simply grab hold of your target and suck the blood right out of them. The fun part of this is that you can use your dinner as a human shield and fire over their shoulder at other enemies in the room which can save you at certain points.

Rage Mode is another portion of the combat system that allows you to use some pretty impressive moves that are generally deadly to anything within a short range. The more you fight, the more your Rage Meter fills. You do have other powers that you can use to help further yourself in the game, with the likes of slowing down time {something taken right from Max Payne} and being able to see just how healthy your next victim is before feeding. Those little additions to the game play are useful only in some areas, but you might find that the “bullet-time” is the most useful power that you can use.

Control really isn’t all that hard to come by and anyone who has played a Tomb Raider game or Max Payne will find that there is little here that takes too much time to learn. As you move through the game, you’ll be able to double jump, run and slice at people as well as bite and scroll through different handguns that you come across. Something that has to be said though is that the control setup is a bit on the extensive side and it might take a little time to get used to if you’re not used to a fully functioning action game. Attacks and otherwise are pretty much automatic, with combinations being done easily with simple button presses on the L1 button.

The Visuals

This is the only portion of the game that I had a problem with in which Rayne, her enemies and her surroundings seem to have a bit of chunkiness to them that just doesn’t seem to fit the Play Station 2 visual expectation. As you move through the game, it is exceptionally dark and you’ll find that there is little or nothing in terms of differences with the enemies that you come across other than by design. Without the brightness turned up on your television, you might go blind in some of the more dark areas of the game. That aside, Rayne is fluid in her motions and the blood seems to flow all over the place regardless of what you do; and you’ll see it quite often.

The Audio

The audio here is dependant on where you are and what you’re doing in the game. Locations for the most part have a dark undertone that you just can’t place your finger on without turning the volume up really high and that can be a little on the disappointing side. Sound effects on the other hand come through with constant flare and you might think that you’re listening to a cheesy porno movie when Rayne starts feeding on her victims by the way that she moans and carries on. Snappy one-liners and orders from the commander as well as some funny clips of enemies screaming for you to get off as you feed pretty much round out the rest of the sound effects.

The Verdict

You can slap a different name on it, put a foul-mouthed gothic chick in it and call it something new, but in all reality, it is probably something that you’ve played before. Though there is plenty of violence and gore as well as the snappy on-liners of Rayne and her moaning, you might find that this game is a once through that doesn’t have much to offer once you’ve finished it out. Tomb Raider and Max Payne are the predecessors to this title and it is worth a look if you’re interested in something just slightly different than exploration or all out violence. Action gamers need apply while the rest of the gaming world might as well look for something better to do.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/28/02, Updated 12/28/02

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