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Genre: Action


Xbox Review - 'Bloodrayne'

by The Cookie Snatcher on Oct. 31, 2002 @ 6:37 p.m. PST

Genre: Action
Publisher: Majesco Games
Developer: Terminal Reality
Release Date: 10/15/2002

Riding on the coattails of the recent vampire-themed videogame craze that is currently flooding store-shelves comes Bloodrayne, an action-packed blood-fest starring a scantily clad half-vampire, half-human, who is charged with taking on the Nazi army in an attempt to prevent them from releasing unfathomable terror on the world via ancient occult artifacts. The hero (or, rather, anti-hero) of the game is none other than Agent Bloodrayne, a product of an unfortunate encounter between her vampire-dad and human-mother. She was apprehended as a teenage girl in Europe during which time she was trying to track down her biological father in order to kill him. Her capture can be credited to an underground organization whose sole-purpose is to eradicate supernatural threats, this top-secret fraternity is known as the Brimstone Society. It is with their help that she now dedicates her life to protecting humanity from the demonic forces of the Nazi army.

While the story certainly sounds intriguing and the Blade-like scenario of having all the abilities of a vampire without any of their weaknesses is always fun, you’ll soon realize that the plot in Bloodrayne serves only as an excuse to you pit you against hordes of menacing baddies in a third-person Max Payne-ish excursion. Not that that is anything to complain about necessarily, but the action does tend to get repetitive during the first few hours of playing. Luckily, it doesn’t stay that way: as you progress through the game you’ll explore a multitude of locations and scenarios that immediately draw you in and keep you coming back for more.

Agent Bloodrayne has a host of ass-kicking moves at her disposal, and while newcomers may initially be turned off about the fact that some of them seem more complex than they should be to pull off, it becomes apparent early on that they are essential to progressing. For instance, Rayne must constantly feed on enemies, be they human, monster, or undead, in order to regain lost health. Without a proper diet she will not last long. Aside from her desire to majorly suck, she also must rely on magical and tactical maneuvers to survive. Like her Aura Sense that not only makes her aware of potential snack-packs and objective locations but also doubles as night-vision. Or Blood Fury, which gives her a speed-boost, slows down her surroundings, and makes her attacks more powerful with a higher chance for dismemberment. As you make your way through each level you’ll be given new abilities that give Rayne an “edge” on the competition, so to speak.

As if all that weren’t enough, there is also a huge assortment of weaponry that can be utilized to dispose of the seemingly endless stream of opposition, 31 to be precise. A handful of the weapons can be held at a time and what’s more, thanks to her super-human strength, she can double-fist guns for two times the mayhem. While there is plenty of firearms and projectiles to choose from they don’t seem diversified enough in how they react. For instance, there are seven unique types of pistols, but unless you are paying extra close attention it will be hard to notice any difference in the way they handle.

What all this boils down to is a plethora of methods to kick ass. Agent Bloodrayne can do anything from taking out two separate baddies on opposite ends of a room simultaneously, to feasting on an enemy while pumping metal into another. The sheer variety of possibilities in this regard is definitely worth mentioning, but it can also serve to detract from the challenge of the game since once you get a grip on all her moves you’ll be plowing through baddies like you were swatting flies. The difficulty consistently ramps up as you progress, but the fact of the matter is experienced gamers won’t have any trouble getting to the end-credits with minimal effort.

The visual presentation of Bloodrayne is certainly up to par with the majority of current Xbox games, though occasional clipping and other cheesed-out anomalies do rear their ugly heads once in a while. The texture quality on both character models and environments look exceptional while well-thought-out details like claw-inflicted scratch-marks on walls and other surfaces provide an impressive realism. Bloodrayne is no slouch in the audio-department either: sound effects are creepily believable and crisp with a wide-assortment of aural representations for the on-screen action. The music is also fitting to the theme of the game, though tends to sound somewhat derivative at times. As for the voice-overs, well, if you can’t say something nice…

Fans of Blood Omen 2 or Max Payne will find a lot to like about Bloodrayne, the impressive list of special-moves and slick presentation will certainly raise a few eyebrows. But when you get down to it, the action can get very repetitive and the sometimes-clunky play-control takes away from the game’s overall potential. But if you can get past its gameplay issues and overly-simplistic level design you’ll find an adventure that is well worth investing in.

Score : 7.4/10

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