Maybe it is just me, but there is something pretty darn cool about female vampires. I think it must have something to do with the Goth image and the way they are usually portrayed as sexy in movies. Enter Rayne. You see, in BloodRayne we once again have a sexy-cool vampire to deal with. Okay, so you now know I like vampires, but what about the game? Well, on we go.
BloodRayne is a tale about your run of the mill Dhampir, the offspring of a mortal female and a vampire father, who gets enlisted by a secret organization called the Brimstone Society to hunt down and kill supernatural threats. You play the role of the title character throughout the game as you start off in 1932 in the swamps of Louisiana with trips to Argentina and Germany later.
The game itself is a third-person action game. The controls work fairly well once you get used to them. It did take me a little while to finally get the hang of moving BloodRayne around and attacking at the same time, but once mastered it really does become fluid. BloodRayne is a very violent game - some would even say disgusting - and has a well-earned M-mature rating. During a typical battle there will be heads flying around, an arm here and there, a rather large pool of blood developing and some choice four-letter words being thrown in for good measure. While I was out on a recent trip to a local gaming store that had a playable version of the Xbox version on display, I overheard a couple of teenage guys playing the game and talking about how disgusting it was - but obviously in a very good way as they continued to play for the entire time I was in the store. (Which brings up an interesting aside: should an M-rated game like this be out for just anyone to play?)
BloodRayne creates all of this havoc though a variety of interesting, but not completely original, weapons and powers. You can divide your weapons into two general groups: those that you are born with and develop as the game goes along, and those that you find lying around. Much like Blade, BloodRayne has the powers of a vampire but without some of the nasty side effects. Your primary weapon, at least in the beginning, is a pair of very sharp and nasty blades attached to your forearms. As you progress in the game you are able to pull off more and more complicated attacks by just pressing a button. Personally I found this a nice relief to the finger numbing gymnasts that some games put you through.
BloodRayne also has special abilities that she can use. One of the coolest is Blood Rage that, once your Bloodlust meter is full, allows BloodRayne to go really medieval of some Nazi scum and where beheadings and dismemberments are a lot more common. Good stuff. BloodRayne also has something called “Aura Sense” which is basically kind of like a cross between a mood-ring and night vision goggles. Using this sense you can tell the health of an enemy and also use it to see through walls to detect badies on the other side. And what self-respecting vampire game would be complete without the ability to move so fast it actually looks like you are moving in slow motion. Not this one, as Agent BloodRayne also has “Dilated Perception”. This allows you to pull off ridiculously insane “Matrix” style maneuvers and get out of some situations where you are impossibly outnumbered. I thought that Terminal Reality did a nice job of implementing this as actually useful and not so much gimmicky. When fairly new technologies and gameplay first become popular there is a big temptation for developers to just slap it into a game, whether it enhances the game or not. Luckily this was not the case for this use of “bullet-time.”