|PS2, GC, Xbox
|Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence
| The Good
Lots of fast and furious action
Large areas with some nice detail
Music sets a nice tone
| The Bad
Jump mechanics need work
Animations during cutscenes are unrealistic
1933 - Rayne, a half vampire, half human agent for the Brimstone
Society goes on a mission to Louisiana, where she has her
first run-in with Jurgen Wulf. Five years later, she is sent
to a Nazi-held castle in Argentina to assassinate the officers.
Once there, she discovers that the Nazi's have dug up something
in their hunt for a relic which they hope to use to to resurrect
the demon Beliar.
Bloodrayne is broken up into mission-oriented sections
in which the player uses guns, Rayne's arm-mounted blades
and vampiric abilities to reach their goals. Throughout the
game, the player gains new abilities, like being able to see
enemies' auras, slow down time and even see long distances.
Using Rayne's blades will cause her Blood Lust meter to fill
and once it tops out, a Blood Rage can be activated that turns
Rayne into a whirling dervish of blades, often leaving enemies
chopped into pieces in no time. When Rayne takes damage, players
need to have her jump onto enemies and suck the blood from
them to replenish her own. At this time, she can even turn
the enemy to use them as a bullet shield from other enemies.
She can also use a variety of weapons (including handguns,
rifles, and automatic weapons), most often two at a time and
even aim at two different enemies at the same time. Mix in
her high-jumping ability and a chained harpoon, and any player
can coat the castle walls in Nazi blood.
Visually, Bloodrayne sports nice large areas that
are filled with life. Even though the Louisiana level looks
kind of drab, once you get to Argentina and then later onto
Germany, you'll get to see some nice levels covered in detailed
textures and some nice lighting effects. There are a number
of places where you'll appreciate the spot lighting that adds
to the ambiance. On top of this is that there are often a
large number of enemies on screen, all fairly well detailed
and with a nice variety to keep the player from feeling like
they're killing the same guy over and over. While the character
models look a little blocky, the details really seal the concept
that you're dealing with Nazi soldiers. Even the guns are
well detailed and look fairly historically accurate. Minor
environmental details, like furniture, wooden crates and even
parked vehicles add to the scenery. One of the nicer visual
touches is how Rayne's special abilities are displayed in-game.
In a Blood Rage, the screen gets a red glow to it and everything
seems to be slowed down except Rayne herself. Her vision skills
have similar effects that add to the game.
While there aren't a lot of story sequences, the few scenes
that do pop up have fairly decent voice acting. It's not on
par with Soul Reaver 2 or Metal
Gear Solid 2, but it's a far cry better than most games
in this genre. Vocal bits from Rayne and the Nazi soldiers
during combat add to the overall package, which is aided by
some fine sound effects and a dark, gothic ambient soundtrack
that lends to the grim ambiance of the game.
While I enjoyed playing through the game and working through
each level to see what was next, I couldn't help but miss
a long list of problems that crop up. While Rayne's high jump
was nice, being able to aim it for the platforming sections
was a pain. Also, if you tapped the jump button twice, you
could dive-kick into doors and some walls, but getting this
move to work usually took some effort. There was some serious
issues with polygon clipping (numerous times Rayne or an enemy
would walk through a door or fall partially into a wall) and
even some noticeable collision detection errors. Don't be
surprised if you chop the legs off an enemy only to have him
still come at you before he dies. And a few times, textures
would pop-up as I entered a room.
It has to be said that Bloodrayne is hyper-violent.
This game is not for the weak of stomach as you will be spilling
gallons of blood and performing some serious human butchery.
Also, you'll hear all sorts of foul language during the game.
On top of that, most of the female characters are fairly busty
and have a special Dead or Alive "bounce"
during certain scenes.
If you can look past Bloodrayne's various flaws, none
of which are so bad they make the game unplayable, there's
a full-blown action game here. Fans of guns-and-blades gameplay
should check into this title as it will surely sate you desire
to hurt people. Make sure to play past the fairly boring and
even tedious Louisiana level, as the following stages are
much more intense and action-packed.