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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (Windows)

83
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

One morning, a seemingly ordinary inhabitant of modern-day Los Angeles wakes up and discovers that he (or she) is dead. Well, not exactly dead, but turned into a vampire - "sired", as the vampires themselves call it. Before the protagonist is able to reflect upon this new and unexpected form of existence, he is taken to a court room, where he gets acquainted with the Camarilla - an organization that preserves order among vampires. Apparently, the protagonist's sire turned him into a vampire without permission, so Prince LaCroix, the head of Los Angeles Camarilla branch, decides to execute both. The hero's short vampire life would have come to an abrupt end, if a mysterious person hadn't stepped in and convinced the Prince to spare it. The Prince takes responsibility for the protagonist from now on, and decides to test his abilities, sending him to Santa Monica. Before long the new vampire becomes involved in a net of intrigues between powerful organizations and vampire clans, and must choose his own place in this terrifying new world.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is based on the pen-and-paper RPG Vampire: The Masquerade. In the beginning, the player creates the protagonist, choosing between vampire clans, each with its own unique abilities and disciplines: Brujah vampires are suitable for melee fighting, Tremeres can cast spells, etc. In some cases the choice of a clan greatly changes subsequent gameplay: for example, Malkavians are insane and will therefore have completely different, surreal dialogue choices; Nosferatu are so ugly that they can't pass for humans and will have to travel through underground paths throughout the game, etc.

The main character gains experience points only for completing quests, not for killing enemies. Many side quests are available during the course of the game. Experience points can be manually allocated to raise the protagonist's attributes, as well as improve various vampire feats. The player can make the main character stronger in combat, proficient in computer hacking or stealth, more powerful in vampire disciplines, more attractive, more intimidating, and so on.

Combat in the game is action-based. The protagonist can fight unarmed, use melee weapons and firearms, or employ special vampire abilities. Melee combat is viewed from third-person perspective, but the view switches to first-person if the main character is using a gun. Blood is used to activate the vampire disciplines, working similarly to magic points in other games. It can be replenished by feeding on certain types of enemies.

The protagonist can also feed on innocent humans, though there are repercussions for that. The rules of the Masquerade forbid vampires to reveal their true nature to the humans. Openly feeding on humans violate the Masquerade; five Masquerade violations lead to an instant Game Over. Feeding on humans with no witnesses present does not violate the Masquerade; however, killing an innocent human in process alerts the authorities and causes the player character to lose some of his or her humanity. Losing too much humanity results in the protagonist becoming more and more susceptible to frenzy, eventually turning into an uncontrolled beast.

Many quests can be completed in different ways - brute force, stealth, diplomacy, intimidation, etc., depending on the preferred style of play and the main character's attributes. The player will also have to decide which faction the protagonist should side with throughout the game. Eventually, the player's choices will branch the storyline, leading it to one of the five possible endings.

Screenshots

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Windows Somehow, I don't think these targets are adequate practice aids.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Windows To go along with those big buildings, there are many dark alleys.  Fortunately, you're a vampire.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Windows Example Character Creation - Gangrel, the essence of "The Beast Within"
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Windows I don`t know why, but this place makes me think of Monkey Island 3

Alternate Titles

  • "吸血鬼:避世之血族" -- Chinese title (simplified)

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Once again, pure RPG bliss courtesy of Troika אולג 小奥 (168701) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
Buggy Yet Beautiful, an RPG to be Savored Bet (634) 4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars
See beyond the bugs. St. Martyne (3562) 4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars
Patch Me Once, Patch Me Twice, Patch Me Once Again. Terrence Bosky (5235) 3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars
A fitting epitaph for a passionate, yet flawed, development house. Dwango (292) 3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars
Spooky! Melody (119) 4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars
Enjoy This Game, No Matter How Hard it Tries to Stop You Tom Cross (31) 3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars
A good one from Troika Games, but again with some flaws. Der.Archivar (673) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars
An extremely intelligent example of "postmodern entertainment" worldwideweird (54) 4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars
Ann Rice + Brian Lumley + John Carpenter = This Game Scott Monster (922) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars

The Press Says

Withingames Nov 28, 2004 5 out of 5 100
Game Captain Dec 07, 2004 89 out of 100 89
PC Games (Germany) Feb 08, 2005 88 out of 100 88
GameStar (Germany) Nov, 2004 87 out of 100 87
Fragland.net Jan 09, 2005 85 out of 100 85
2404.org PC Gaming Dec 12, 2004 8.4 out of 10 84
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Feb, 2005 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Gamernode Dec 29, 2005 8 out of 10 80
GameSpy Nov 16, 2004 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
GameSpot Nov 17, 2004 7.7 out of 10 77

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Can't Stop playing this game! 1 Scott Monster (922)
Jan 04, 2009
What kind of bloodsucker do you think you are? 9 St. Martyne (3562)
Oct 26, 2008
Odd Vampire at Cafe? 27 Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (590)
Jul 31, 2007
Werewolf part 2 אולג 小奥 (168701)
Jun 20, 2007
Amazing 5 Indra is here (19699)
Jun 05, 2007

Trivia

Bugs and patches

Troika did not learn its lesson from The Temple of Elemental Evil (see the trivia section). Once again, serious problems and bugs have been left unattended for too long, until a fan, dan_upright, jumped in with his own fixes in an unofficial patch. The releases of unofficial patches were then continued by Werner Spahl until most bugs were fixed. In the final two weeks of Troika's existence, several employees volunteered to help finish with patch 1.2.

Because of the "beta" state this game was left in even after patch 1.2. Several unofficial patches have been released for Bloodlines. There were two lines of fanpatches, the original "unofficial" patch by Wesp which does not only fix bugs, but also adds adds new weapons, disciplines, occult items, quest items, and action sequences, based on content left over from development hidden in the installed game files.

Another fanpatch, the "true patch" was started by Acrimonious and Tessera, previously known for creating nude patches for various games, on the Tessmage.com forums with assistance by several forum members. It is intended to be a true patch to the official 1.2 version, only fixing bugs found in the original game or the official 1.2 patch. There was a huge flamewar between the Tessera and Wesp, eventually leading into Tessera shutting down his website.

Character creation

The game was supposed to have a fourth character creation mode which would enable you to add a history to your character rather than setting the various attributes by hand. It's still in the final version of the game although it's disabled by default. The choice of history has a large impact on the game, as it basically gives players a bonus effect in certain areas and a negative effect in others. Visit the "Tips & Tricks" section where the actual unlocking process is explained.

Development

Bloodlines is the second game to use Valve's Source engine, after Half-Life 2. Valve did not want another game to display the new source engine prior to Half-Life 2, so when Bloodlines went gold on October 4, 2004, Troika worked on a patch that was integrated into the duplication master prior to shipping on November 16th. Work on the multiplayer was halted for some time during development, with the intention of picking it up later, which is what happened. However, the multiplayer gameplay never really came together and it was dropped a couple of months before shipping.

German version

In the German version, the decapitation during the intro was removed.

Misc

  • In the beginning of the game, when you need to get the astrolite, look around the house on the beach. There is a game paused on the TV that shows one of the large monsters from in the sewers later on in the game along with a vampire who is re-loading an Anaconda.
  • When you use a pass card to open a hatch that leads to Nosferatu hide-out (after the long sewer dungeon), take a close look at the computer. On the right side, there is a message that looks very similar to the common Windows' "Fatal Error" screens. It says the following:

    SLOW

    A fatal error has occurred. You should be panicking now. Your system will now explode. It is now safe to go to your happy place. Press any key to help others learn to read. Press Ctrl+Ctrl+Ctrl to donate money to me, you know the computers will soon take over, why fight it?
  • If you visit Mercurio just before the final showdown you will learn what exactly Camarilla (one of the factions in the game) thinks of Troika Games' leading developers.
  • After you find the man beheaded in the building across the Last Round bar you might want to take his head and try to score in a nearby basketball ring. If you do so the applause will be heard.

References

  • There are a number of references to find throughout the game; many to movies. One is the book "the art of the quickdraw by Ned Nederlander". Ned Nederlander is the character played by Martin Short in the movie The Three Amigos, who is said to be the fastest draw in the world.
  • One reference in the game is when you talk to the food critic in Hollywood. If you are Malkavian, you can convince him that he is eating maggots. This is a reference to the movie The Lost Boys, in which a group of teenage vampires convinces a man that the rice he is eating is actually maggots. When you speak to the food critic and convince him, there is even a line of dialogue saying how that "happened in a movie once".
  • In Hollywood, look at the commercial above Isaac Abram's jewelry store. It says: "Play Troika Games!". Troika is the developer of this game.
  • During your computer-hacking side-quest (received from the computer geek at Nosferatu hideout), you'll come across the password Gil Bates. Gil Bates is one of the central characters of Arcanum, another RPG by Troika. On the other side, Gil Bates himself is a parody on... well, you figure out that one.
  • The NPC Romero, whom you meet at the cemetery in Hollywood, is named after George A. Romero, the father of the Zombie movie genre. Why? You'll have to accept Romero's quest in order to find out.
  • Another NPC, the Nosferatu hacker Mitnick, is named after Kevin Mitnick who in the early to mid 90s was one of the most notorious and wanted hackers in the US.
  • The news broadcast that can be heard when switching on the TV in the the player's haven contains a reference to famous horror author H. P. Lovecraft. The anchorman speaks of a squid-like creature found at the shore of Providence, Rhode Island. This is an obvious nod to Lovecraft's birthplace and his Cthulhu myth.
  • Some time later in the game you might learn from the TV a shocking news of EU collapse. Quite interesting is that the end of EU was one of the reasons behind the nuclear war in Fallout, game developed by Black Isle, the former employees of which constituted the major part of Troika Games.
  • If you hack in to one of the computers in the Internet Cafe, you'll find a reference to the "Chocula" clan. For those that don't know, "Count Chocula" was a cartoon vampire spokesman for Chocolate cereal.
  • In most of the dance bars, you'll see a dance icon. The symbol is pointing gesture made famous by John Travolta in the movie Saturday Night Fever.
  • This game is highly infested with all sorts of allusions to all kinds of movies. Clan Nosferatu's network system "Schrecknet", for instance, hints to German actor Max Schreck who played the original Nosferatu in the ground breaking German silent movie Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau . This is even more interesting because Clan Nosferatu's whole look is heavily influenced by Max Schreck's outfit. Could he have been the first Nosferatu? Check out Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire (2000) and judge for yourself...
  • An easier one of many literary half-quotes to be found in Vampire: Bloodlines: The quest received right at the game's beginning "Wherefore art thou Mercurio" is obviously derived from the more famous original "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" (Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Act II., scene 2). Note that one of Romeo and Juliet's main characters is appropriately named Mercutio.
  • Look for this pop culture reference during Phat Larry's side quest. In the parking garage, you overhear two thugs talking. "Do you like John Woo? Bullet in the head, son!" The other thug responds, "I don't get it." John Woo, is arguably Hong Kong's most famous director. With films such as, The Killer, Hard-Boiled, and Bullet in the Head.
  • In the arcade over at the beach, there are three games: Pitfall, River Raid, and Call of Duty. They were all released by Activision as is this game. In fact, an emulator was in the works so you could play River Raid and Pitfall, but it was eventually dropped due to time constraints

Soundtrack

A release exclusive to Best Buy included the following soundtrack:
  1. Bloodlines - Ministry
  2. Come Alive - Daniel Ash
  3. Cain - Tiamat
  4. Swamped - Lacuna Coil
  5. Isolated - Chiasm
  6. Needle's Eye - Die My Darling
  7. Pound - Aerial2012
  8. Lecher Bitch - Genitorturers
  9. Smaller God - Darling Violetta
  10. Swamped (Video) - Lacuna Coil

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2004 – Best PC Role-Playing Game of the Year
    • 2004 – Best PC Story of the Year
  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2005 (Issue #249) – RPG of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – Best Level of the Year (PC) (for the Ocean House Hotel)
Information also contributed by Apogee IV, Boris Stovich, Little Yoda, MasterMegid, Scott Monster, SimonG, St. Martyne, tata_lu_stefan_cel_mare, Terrence Bosky, Unicorn Lynx, worldwideweird

Related Web Sites

HandofShadow (49) added Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (Windows) on Nov 26, 2004