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game: BloodRayne
three star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Majesco Games
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 19th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 19th, 2004

By Eric Qualls

BloodRayne is the type of game that I should like, but I just can't get into it. It is filled with blood and gore and features an incredibly cool vampire chick as the main character, but I don't need to be constantly reminded Hey! Look at that woman. She's t3h sexy!? and I could definitely do without hearing a curse word in practically every piece of dialogue. The combat is fun and sucking blood to regain your health is pretty awesome, but there isn't really anything that stands out in BloodRayne that puts it a step above any of the dozens of other hack and slash and shoot games available now. The PC version of the game is made even more disappointing by the horrendous control and high specs required to actually run the game. This is one game that maybe should have stayed on the consoles because the PC port is pretty poor.

The story follows a half-vampire named BloodRayne who works for a secret organization in the 1930's known as the Brimstone Society. The Brimstone Society's responsibility is to protect humanity from all of the creepy crawlies that go bump in the night. Over the course of the game, you'll travel from the Louisiana bayou to Argentina to Germany and try to snuff out a Nazi conspiracy all while fighting monsters and sucking the blood of your enemies.

Playing through the game as agent BloodRayne is rather fun because there are so many different weapons and moves to take advantage of. BloodRayne has blades attached to her wrists that can be upgraded as you play through the game, but there are also a host of guns at your disposal. This mix of melee and projectile weapons means that there are a lot of different ways to take out your enemies. You are encouraged to use the blades more than the guns, though, because using the blades will build up BloodRayne's blood lust and give you special powered up attacks. The way you restore your health is by sucking the blood of the enemies, and it is pretty thrilling to watch BloodRayne jump on an enemy, wrap her legs around them, and have a little snack. You can also use a grappling hook attack that grabs enemies from a distance and drags them over to you so you can feast on them without having them put up too much of a fight. Other moves include the ability to change vision modes, make incredible jumps, and tightrope walk across wires so you can reach new areas of the map.

Despite having a seemingly large arsenal at your disposal, BloodRayne plays pretty much like every other action game on the market. There are dozens of enemies spread throughout the levels, and it is your job to kill them all. There isn't anything in the game that could be really be considered a puzzle because the only pauses in the action are tedious fetch quests where you know exactly where to find the item or sections in levels where you have to find your way over a wall or something. You spend most of your time fighting enemies, which is fun as much for the gore as it is just watching BloodRayne do her work, but it gets old after a while. You are pretty much unstoppable since it is so easy to mince up your enemies and you can top off your health bar whenever there is an enemy around, so the game fails to provide a decent challenge.

Trying to control the game, either with a keyboard and mouse setup or a controller, is an exercise in frustration and the main reason why the PC version of BloodRayne isn't all that much fun to play. With a keyboard and a mouse, the game controls like a first person shooter despite being a third person action game. You move with W,A,S,D and move the camera with the mouse, but it is hard to be precise with your movements and the camera manages to be awful even though you have control of it. It is too spazzy and it is hard to consistently position it so you get the best view of everything. With a controller, the game is a little bit better but the camera is still an issue. I also had trouble using the in-game calibration process with my controller, and once I got it working the minimal improvement in control was hardly worth the effort. Whether you are using a keyboard and mouse setup or a controller, actually performing the moves you want is wildly inconsistent, and it is frustrating when you have to use a certain move to destroy an enemy and you can't seem to do it.

The graphics in BloodRayne are impressive, provided you have a computer powerful enough to handle it. Even if you meet the 2.53 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and GeForce 4 (or higher) recommended specs, good luck getting the game to run smoothly. The game looks very good overall, and there is a lot of detail in the environments and the character models, especially the model for BloodRayne. The lighting effects in the game are excellent, as well as the fact that many items in the environments can be destroyed and come with their own unique physics. The gore is also exceptionally well done and looks entirely realistic. It is pretty satisfying to look back on a room you just had a bit battle in and see the walls splattered with blood and the floor littered with body parts. Where the graphics fail to impress is in the animation. The enemies are incredibly jerky in their movements and BloodRayne looks absolutely horrible as she herks and jerks her way through combos. The game looks pretty good, but the animation is flat out horrible. It is pretty pathetic when the breasts of the female characters so obviously had more attention paid to their animation than anything else in the game. The sound is good enough to get the job done but nothing more. The music and sound effects suit the environments, but they aren't anything you haven't heard before.

Overall, the PC version of BloodRayne is a disappointing port of a console game that was already a bit hit or miss. If you dig B-rate horror flicks, you'll probably like it, but there is so much in the game that goes beyond being a mere send up to campy horror that it instead comes across as being simply stupid. I don't need innuendo so thick you can cut it with a knife and I don't need curse words in nearly every line of dialogue. The gameplay is fun, even though it is a bit on the easy side and doesn't present anything radically different from other action games. Controlling the game on the PC is a lot more difficult than it should be and the high system requirements and overall poor performance make this title more trouble than it is worth. If you really want to check out BloodRayne, get one of the console versions because the PC version isn't worth your time.