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SummaryAs boring and generic as it gets (But hey! Check out those boobs!)
The GoodAs if we didn't have enough 3D action beat 'em ups already Terminal Reality (responsible for the pioneering Terminal Velocity) decided to craft yet another title of this ilk, and shove it down our throats via the promise of extra T&A and gore... right...
Aaaanyway. I guess this is the part where I mention the good things about the game, right? Ok... let's see... as mandatory for these types of games you have different viewing modes to aid you, including Dilated Perception, aka "bullet-time" a-la Matrix/Max Payne/Gap ads, which is always a nice addition. Your character can decimate enemies with the aid of a couple of nasty wristblades which chop up your enemies a-la Soldier of Fortune, meaning there's plenty of dismemberment to go around for all to enjoy. Firearms are also available, and they are handled simply via a targetting aid that allows you to zero-in on two different characters at the same time, and thus making John Woo proud. Finally, your character is a half-vampire and thus she gets to sink her teeth on whoever she pleases to replenish her health. This is done surprisingly well, as your character straddles the selected victim (or jumps on him if he's on the floor) and starts sucking away, with the option of turning the victim around and using him as a human shield should other enemies try to take you down while you are having lunch.
Graphic-wise the game has a number of interesting features including very good water effects, and dynamic lightning tricks. The real showstopper however is the curves in the female models used for the game, which also boast an interesting development of physics simulation which allows their boobs to jiggle and sway in every direction as they move... don't you just love technology? The pre-rendered cutscenes as mentioned elsewhere, are a sight to behold, but then again, ever since 3DStudio closed the gap with Maya (or since more small studios became able to afford Maya) this is hardly surprising anymore.
The BadBloodrayne's your basic "kill everything that moves" game, in which you play your average "army of one" super-character able to take down anything the reich throws at her. Oh yeah, I forgot. You fight Nazis... a real clever touch since as you know there are practically no games out there the enemies are Nazis... right. Let's start again: as an operative for a super-secret paranormal organization, you take the role of Rayne, a half-vampire vampire hunter turned assassin that gets tasked with the termination of certain high-profile Nazi generals that are about to unleash some sort of demonic creature... ah, silly Nazis, always fooling around with the occult! Anyway, Rayne dons the most revealing rave costume she could find circa 1940's and she goes forth to off the krauts with her wristblades while paying attention to showcase her boobs in every animation.
Anyway... did you manage to count all the cliches in that last paragraph? All the stolen ideas? Good. Quite frankly Bloodrayne is such a blatant example of plagiarism that I can't understand how is it that no one has bothered to sue Majesco's and TR's ass off. Half-vampire female vampire hunter working for a secret organization and going at it ninja-style with a couple of funky wristblades? Ok, I can count Blade, Buffy, Blood: The Last Vampire, Vampire Hunter D (in which the half-vamps are called Dunpeal, y'know, no relation to BloodRayne's Dhampir...), etc. etc... Need I say more? How about that while Rayne herself looks good she's nothing but Annah from Planescape: Torment in a raver suit?... geez...
Of course, all of this thievery would be minimally justified if BloodRayne were a nice game, however the lack of creativity must run extremely deep at TR, as this is one of the most stupidly generic and boring games I've played in ages. One of those "kill everything that walks till you reach the exit" ordeals with no depth at all, fighting is limited to mashing a single attack button that somehow controls the assortment of combos available to Rayne's disposal and if you think than that's just a bit too much for you then don't worry, as the gross unbalance of features means fighting is dead easy as you have the ability to abuse bullet time at your leisure. Dealing with the consequences of being a mediocre gamer is a non-issue thanks to Rayne's ability to completely replenish her health after munching on one or two Nazis, and don't worry if you get lost either, as a nice viewing mode highlights your "objective" and where you need to go or what you need to kill next. This moronic simplicity in gameplay and design is counterweighted with the most obnoxious and blatantly cheap bossfights you can find this side of an SNK fighting game, with bossfights that are extremely hard (the cheap kind of hard) and out of tone with the rest of the game. Just consider the final boss: a gigantic monster with a single, sniper-only, weak point, no health powerups, a time limit and another boss running around just for the fun of it... this after levels of random button mashing where it's virtually impossible to die unless you really, really suck. (For the record however, my favorite bossfight is the one against the Nazi female scientist, not only because her gigantic cleavage rivals Rayne's but also because it's a clone fight in which you just charge at her and press the attack button while the AI does the same until someone else dies... God, did anyone playtest this thing at all??)
Add to that levels that are insipid, uninspired arenas and which could be cleared just by gluing down the forward and attack keys, weapons that are basically all the same and enemies that are... well, Nazis! Are we sick of Nazis yet? Apparently not... and you know that you have a winner in your hands.
From a technical point of view while the game has it's good points (as mentioned above) one cannot ignore the horrible animations, which award BloodRayne with the worst character animations of 2003 and recent memory prize. Really, it's character studio pandemonium here, with a downright pathetic collection of fighting moves that look worse than the most ridiculous moves from Mortal Kombat, where the main character just starts flailing her limbs around and hovering (??) while her blades and heels eviscerate whatever comes near in a completely laughable manner. Worse yet are the walking and jumping animations of Rayne, which make her look like she's running atop a threadmill and is super-imposed over the screen... as for the jump, oh well, it deserves full praise for being the worst jump I've seen in ages... Rayne is a Dhampir, thus she can practically fly when jumping, which I have no problem with. It's the fact that she seems to hover and float upwards instead of jumping that bothers me, and the fact that when she comes down she seems to act as if she had dropped from a parachute... worse yet is the "double" jump, which causes her to STOP in middair, lay back horizontally and then shoot off (rather slowly mind you) in a perfectly horizontal manner (think Dhalsim in Street Fighter)... the fact that not only they included this crap but made it the only way to break some of the obstacles in the game only adds to the insult.
Finally... does anyone really like this kind of crap? I mean, sure I enjoy sexploitation and T&A like everyone of us, but this game caters to the same morons that enjoy games like DOA: Xtreme Beach Volleyball... I mean, I can dig a game that's all gore and sex if it's a good game or at least has something controversial in it, but BloodRayne is just a sad excuse to show dancing boobs and "bad grrls" killing lots of people, you know, the kind of R-rated crap that consoles have been churning out since they finally discovered the 17-24 demographic. Too bad it doesn't include a game in there.
The Bottom LineSo you heard a sequel is coming, a movie is on the works and that it's a decent enough action game right? Wrong. Make no mistake: BloodRayne is lifeless, generic console-crap with extra boobs and blood. Not only does it lack redeeming qualities, but it is such a blatant example of lazy design and plagiarism that it'll make you wish a half-vampire raver bursts through the door and cleaves you down the middle to end the torture that is playing through Rayne. Worse yet: this is exactly the kind of game that people talk about when they say that videogamers are sweaty-palmed, pathetic, sex-starved morons that lock themselves in their basements and jerk off to a pair of digital boobs dancing on the screen.
No, really. This game is the most damaging and retarded product to come out since DOA: Xtreme Beach Volleyball. For retards only.