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BloodRayne Review for GameCube
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 @ 05:13:37 pm E.S.T

BloodRayne, 2002’s signature bloodier-than-hell action/slash-em-up was long overdue for a review. With Majesco and Terminal Reality’s (the same publisher and developer duo responsible for BloodRayne) BloodRayne 2 on the horizon, it only seemed fitting. So here’s my review of the badly designed, nonsensical, but at the same time guiltily enjoyable and extra-bloody—as might be surmised from the title—BloodRayne.

Let’s say, hypothetically of course, you have a pair of gleaming, five-foot long blades protruding from each wrist. You (and this is still purely hypothetical) can leap thirty feet from the ground and land cat-like on telephone wires in high heels, in addition to being a half-vampire named Rayne with a very hypothetical thirst for blood. Need I say you wield a handheld harpoon and a wear leather near-negligee?

Well, since you have all these hypothetically awesome powers/accessories, what are you going to do? Kill the omnipresent ruler of half-vampires and overtake his seat of power? That has promise. Maybe you could completely wipe mosquitoes from the face of the Earth (although they are your hypothetical blood-sucking relatives). Maybe you could kill Queen Latifa with them. But alas, our feminine crusader does none of these things.

She, well… I’m not quite sure what Rayne’s big plan is. During the opening cinema (which is indeed cool), an onlooker watching Rayne slaughter hordes of vampires states that Rayne’s looking for her father, and that she’s trying to kill him. It may not be very valiant, but at least it’s a plan. What little valiancy there was in the plan is lost when directly after laying some whoop-!@# on the vampires, Rayne proceeds to trek through the bottoms of the Louisiana swamplands, without any mention whatsoever of Dad. Shortly after her brief jaunt in Louisiana, the rest of Rayne’s linear but entertaining adventure is dedicated to killing Nazi warlords and… er… demons, for some reason or another. The story doesn’t make much sense, but it doesn’t have to; players should realize within one hour of playing BloodRayne that any storyline at all is there merely to set up large-scaled, gory battles or cheesy (but very entertaining) cinema sequences.

Let it be known that BloodRayne is, without question, all about the action. Evidencing this is Rayne’s extensive arsenal; she has enough powder and shell (along with fearsome melee weapons) to send any of those cheeky Nazis and their mutated cohorts straight to Hell. From shotguns to rocket launchers and even old-timey, German pistols, Rayne can blast through just about anything thrown at her. And if her multitude of firearms isn’t enough to keep you kill-happy weapon enthusiasts enthused, she’s also packing four-inch long fangs and huge, pointy wrist-blades. Really, all these weapons make the game, and Terminal Reality has made certain that they’re fun to use.

Rayne has five different ways—including her normal line of sight—of viewing the world around her. Firstly, she has ‘aura sense,’ which allows her to better see targets for feeding (the way Rayne regains health and an unquestionably cool feature of the game). It also doubles as night vision. Her extruded view is sort of a built-in scope; it allows Rayne to see objects two-hundred yards away as if they were right before her. Dilated perception puts Rayne on an LSD high (albeit without the hallucinations); everything is slowed down because Rayne’s brain is processing everything so quickly. This mode is ideal when Rayne needs to dodge bullets. These modes of view of fun to play around with, but they really don’t add much to the game and aren’t implemented into gameplay much at all.

One of BloodRayne’s biggest—and most frustrating—faults is its twisted and at times horribly complicated level design. Many times during the course of the game Rayne will find herself traveling from identical room to identical room, searching for an exit, a new doorway, or anything else that might break the tedium of searching for a (or should I say ‘the,’ since the game’s so bloody linear) path through the level. There is an on-screen compass present, but it’s about as useful as the Nazi’s flak jackets during one of Rayne’s slaughterings; it points toward the completion of the objective, not the path that should be taken.

What saves the game from all this frustration is some of the most enjoyable combat I’ve ever experienced. Partly thanks to her huge arsenal of weapons—both handheld and projectile—Rayne has so many ways of disposing of Nazis and such that’ll it’ll make your neck bleed. Slicing through enemy after enemy is quite satisfying, especially after a hard day at work (or school) and if you do get tired of it, the game has nice changes of pace—like a level dedicated to letting players control Rayne in a mechanical robot suit—that keep things from getting too boring.

Though Terminal Reality may have donated a few too many polygons to Rayne’s character model (particularly her chest and its surrounding areas), the game is aesthetically sound. All characters—as well as the monsters—move exceedingly well, and blood’s never looked so enticing – that coming from a non-vampire. The game, along with featuring buckets upon buckets of blood, also provides players with full damage models for all objects in its predictably linear levels. Chairs can be smashed, lights can be cut down, and environments can be turned to sty in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, the game’s camera is a step—or two—behind the rest of BloodRayne’s graphics. It gets lost much too easily when Rayne jumps high into the air (one of her unique skills, along with a corkscrew, Mortal Kombat-ish air kick) or takes a sharp turn down hallways. Really, this is a minor gripe at the least, but it does occasionally lead to a few unnecessary deaths. Fittingly, the game runs the smoothest on the Xbox, but the GameCube and PS2 versions of the game don’t lag too far behind.

Despite BloodRayne’s so-so score selection, the game’s audio is also passable. Voice acting (cheesy one-liners and all) could use some work, but overall the cast does a decent job. Also, everything sounds as it should (though enemy deaths may be a bit overplayed); weapons and opening doors, and other things of the like sound as they should, and if I were to hear a vampire feasting on a human, I’m sure BloodRayne would sound realistic in the sense too.

Unless you just want to go back and beat BloodRayne again, there’s really no incentive for players to give the game another play-through. No multi-player mode is present, and Rayne can’t, even for the sake of all us male horny gamers, go back and unlock new (and preferably more scant) outfits. Darn the luck!

In all reality, BloodRayne set out to do one thing: to be a decent action game. And in my book, it accomplished that goal. Yeah, the storyline is incoherent, the camera occasionally gets lost, and Terminal Reality probably could have worked on the level design, but it doesn’t kill the overall experience. With all the blood-letting, over-the-top enemy deaths, fluid character animations and inspired boss battles, BloodRayne is great action game for the sadist and action-enthusiast in us all. Hopefully the sequel won’t disappoint.

Review By: Stealth52 - 1343 Reads

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