Itís pre-World War II and you are Agent BloodRayne. The Nazis are searching the world for powerful occult artifacts in order to bring Germany into a new age of domination. As the heroin, it is your duty to travel through the eerie swamps of Louisiana, to Argentina and Germany to prevent the Nazis from releasing creatures of unfathomable terror onto the world in their unwavering quest for the artifacts. But you are no ordinary heroin. You are a Dhampir; a product of your human motherís rape by your vampire father. Born with the incredible powers of a vampire without all the weaknesses, you work for the Brimstone Society helping to hunt down and destroy supernatural threats. This is the plot behind Majescoís new action, thriller game called BloodRayne. I tested the PlayStation 2 version, but the game is also available for Xbox and GameCube.
Your mission begins in the swamps of Louisiana, where you must battle zombie-like creatures who are actually the townsfolk that have been transformed by some biological threat deployed by the Nazis. As you begin the game, you are aided by your friend and mentor, Mynce, who is also a Dhampir and agent of the Brimstone Society. Mynce keeps you informed about your current mission and provides you with what you need to achieve your goals in the beginning levels. Later, you are aided through your direct communications with the Brimstone Society.
After each mission briefing is when the real fun begins Ė the massacre of your enemies. You can attack your enemies in a number of different ways. If enemies are equipped with guns and are attacking you from a distance, you too can attack with any guns that you have in your possession. Youíll find them littered throughout each level, and you can even pick up the guns from fallen enemies. Eventually, you will run out of ammo though, and using guns all the time can also get boring, especially since they are all automatically aimed. So after the ammo is gone, itís time to bring out the blades. Your primary weapons are a pair of swords attached at your wrists for quick and easy access, as well as daggers attached to your boots. You start with a number of standard attacks at your disposal, and you learn more as you progress through the game. In addition, the more you use your blades, the higher your Bloodlust becomes. Once your Bloodlust reaches a certain point, you can activate a super attack mode called Blood Rage. In this mode, your attacks are much more devastating to your enemies, which is why it is best to save them for use against the level bosses.
As a Dhampir, you are less vulnerable than a human but you are not invincible. Bullets do hurt you and can eventually kill you. As a half vampire, water is an enemy as well. But you can easily regain your strength by draining the blood of your enemies like any other vampire. And you can even continue to fire a gun as you feed. In addition, you are endowed with many powers that will aid you in your battles. One is the ability to see the aura of your enemies making it easier to seek them out (even through solid objects like walls). You are also endowed with binocular-like vision called Extruded View, which allows you to see far into the distance. This is good for sniping off enemies. But by far, the coolest ability you will eventually gain is Dilated Perception. This gives you the power to perceive everything around you extremely fast. The effect of this is that you see everything moving in slow motion, which allows you to hit targets more precisely, evade attacks more easily, and even dodge bullets. If youíve seen the movie called The Matrix, then youíll know exactly what I mean. Unfortunately, none of the previously mentioned abilities are timed, so you can basically use them anytime, all the time, which can make the game a bit too easy to play. But if you choose the Hard setting in the Options menu, most gamers will be given plenty of challenge.
The technical aspects of BloodRayne are very good. Most of the graphics are detailed, especially Agent BloodRayne herself, although the enemies could have looked a bit better. The animations are smooth, and the cut scenes can be skipped if youíd like. As with most games rated Mature, this one isnít for young kids, and thereís a good reason. The graphics are very gory as well they should be in this type of game. As a matter of fact, if you want to see BloodRayne in all its glory, play the game in Dilated Perception mode when you are using blade attacks. You can actually see your enemyís heads get chopped off in slow motion and watch as the heads rebound off the floor like basketballs. And if you chop off an enemyís limb it will fall to the ground spurting blood everywhere as the enemy tries to retreat in horror. Youíll even hear their screams in slow motion as you hack them to bits. Itís very awesome.
Iíve heard some critics complain that BloodRayne is just another TombRaider-type knockoff, but thatís just not true. This game provides plenty of variation and a unique perspective on the heroin-based genre. Agent BloodRayneís abilities really lend to the playability of the game, and gamers that enjoy this type of entertainment will definitely like BloodRayne. I say look out Lara Croft. Thereís a new girl in town and she can easily kick your butt.