Bloodrayne - PS2 - Review
The man in the light gray uniform is just doing his rounds as usual in the dank basement of some remote building he was forced to guard. He has no idea what goes on in this place but he knows it’s for the benefit of the Fatherland. Suddenly, almost too swiftly for him to see it, a pale figure embraces him. He struggles madly in the arms of this beautiful pale woman as her sharp teeth pierce the soft skin of his neck and drain him of his blood. Her name is BloodRayne, half human and half vampire.
While her background isn’t quite original, the story is still interesting. She was born of a mortal woman who was raped by a vampire and as a result, BloodyRayne is born with the dark gifts of the vampire and the same lust for human blood. Knowing that she should have never been she goes on a quest to kill her vampire father only to be taken in by a top-secret order calling itself the Brimstone Society. As World War II is ready to erupt, Agent BloodRayne is sent by the society to hunt down a growing threat that might very well involve the Nazis.
The game starts in Louisiana--and later moves on to Argentina and Germany--where Agent BloodRayne and her mentor Mynce investigate some strange happenings in a flooded area in the bayou. It is here that gamers get a lesson in the many moves available. She can perform high-flying kicks and even a scissor kick that can decapitate foes, but BloodRayne also carries around weapons such as her twin blades or she can pick up an assortment of guns. Her dark vampire gifts also allow her to sense other vampires and later slow down time or focus on a subject as if using binoculars.
Her enemies range from parasitic mutants, zombies, Nazi henchmen and the requisite level bosses that get in her way. Thanks to her gifts, she can jump pretty high and out of the way of gunfire and when her Bloodlust Meter fills up, she can trigger her Blood Rage that make her move more faster, inflict more brutal damage and even decapitate her enemies easily. When she’s low on health there are no healing herbs or potions to be found in this game. Her health meter is replenished by draining blood from her enemies around her. She simple jumps up on them when an enemy is near and bites into their neck and feed. You can even use a harpoon from a great distance to pull the enemy closer to you so you can drain them.
Visually BloodyRayne on the PS2 is not bad looking at all, although it could have been handled a lot better than this. The areas, for instance, are nicely rendered with smooth textures on things like the green grass or the bricked walls of the building in Germany. Still, certain objects--like chairs or tables you can interact with--have a flatness to them that give objects a fake feel to them. The same can be said about some of the characters here--although the main cast of characters, like Agent BloodRayne herself, does look wonderfully well detailed. The fluid movements are also quite impressive, especially when the vampire leaps on to her victim and drains them.
The sound is an aspect of the game that is downright brilliant in both the soundtrack and sound effect department. There’s an eerie creepiness to the score that plays throughout the game during moments of calmness and then picks up dramatically during intense fights. But the best part of the sound is the sound effects, which outdo even the good voice acting. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the scuttling of rats in the dank cellar as drops of water tap the concrete floor.
BloodRayne is a non-stop action with enough blood-curling supernatural chills and intensely violent high-flying thrills that make this a tempting treat. And while the graphics aren‘t particularly spectacular, this is a game action fans will enjoy playing with the lights out and with the volume cranked up.
#Reviewer's Scoring Details
Part of the reason people certainly are infatuated with the idea of assuming the role of a vampire is the dark gifts they possess. Agent BloodRayne certainly has her share of gifts, such as her amazingly high-flying acrobatic moves, jumps, sensory powers (like the Aura Sense), and her ability to heal herself by draining the blood of her victims.
Controlling her during encounters with enemies is not that difficult to master (thanks to the six control configuration options). She can slice through her enemies with her twin blades, rebound kicks or use more than thirty-one weapons such as shotguns, rifles and machine guns. Since she can handle two guns at the same time, she can target multiple enemies. There’s also the Blood Rage that helps her take down her enemies more efficiently and more quickly.
The graphics are not a complete disappointment since much detail can be found in the environments and the characters themselves. In the swamps of Louisiana, for example, the mist rolls across the dark body of water as toads hop out into the grass. Overhead, bats take flight and fly past the decaying church. And the level of details found on the major characters like Mynce or the sadistic Nazi scientist Doctor Mengele (not to mention Agent BloodRayne herself who certainly makes being half-undead seem sexy). Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the mutants, human foot soldiers or characters the heroine meets during the game. In fact, many of them look like they belong in a PSOne game instead with their badly rendered facial features and poor limb movement.
The sound, however, is a different story. A marvelous score sets the perfect mood for a supernatural action game and it is dramatic in all the right places. There is also some top-notch voice acting here, especially geared towards BloodyRayne herself who has an alluringly soft-spoken yet creepy voice. The accents are just right too and seldom come off as a parody, especially when it comes to the German or Creole accents.
Great care has also been placed on the sound effects that are simply delightfully well detailed. The environments are alive with the sounds of the night as noisy insects and the howl of a distant wolf become like a symphony.
Thanks to the Aura Sense, you will hardly ever get lost even when in an area filled with enough twists and turns. The biggest challenge comes during battle with multiple enemies, especially those enemies that are armed to the teeth. While you can shoot two guns at the same time, targeting a moving enemy is still rather difficult. Strangely enough, it is easier fighting hand-to-hand than with guns--unless you’re using a sniper rifle or wise range weapon like a shotgun.
Still, the biggest challenges you will encounter are the level bosses such as the huge parasite in the first area or The Butcheress. No matter what difficulty level you choose these bosses put up quite a fight but thankfully it is never annoyingly difficult. In fact, the level bosses are really enjoyable challenges.
Unlike Blade, Agent BloodyRayne has a collection of moves and powers that haven’t been seen before in a game that involves vampires. And the fact that the only way to replenish you health meter is by draining that precious lifeblood from your enemies is quite brilliant. Also the story takes you to exotic and interesting locales in a period where the ideal enemy is the army of the Crooked Cross.
Like a good horror movie, BloodRayne is one of those guilty pleasures that will be sure to keep those action gamers’ thirst for action more than quenched. With plenty of levels to play through and a story with a supernatural twist, this is a horror-action game that’s truly fun.