Written by  :  Daniel Reed (29)
Written on  :  Jul 30, 2002
Platform  :  Windows

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Love at First Bite? Um, no.

The Good

The graphics were quite good for their time, and the sound effects were superlative. The voice acting, with a couple of exceptions, was solid, and the characters were three-dimensional, i.e. they had their own dreams, aspirations, and agendas.

The Bad

To anyone who ever played the pen and paper version of this game, this is a horrible oversimplification and insult to their intelligence. The pen and paper version is a game that puts its emphasis on the story and the surroundings, building a sense of tragedy and futility juxtaposed with the eerie savagery of not being human anymore. This was apparently forgotten by the writers of the computer game's plot, who instead chose to use every stereotype they could think of from the pen and paper version. Playing the campaign in this game was like playing in a Vampire adventure ran by a barely literate moron who thinks "bittersweet" is a rather nasty form of chocolate. The artificial intelligence of the enemies in the game was almost non-existent, consisting of running around a lot and randomly attacking, almost always one at a time. Several times, the enemy simply stood there and let me kill them, even with the latest patch installed. In addition, the save system that shipped with the original version was horrendous; you could not save the game except at a save point, which was located in your haven! You might have to travel several levels deep into a difficult dungeon, and if you die, you would have to repeat hours and hours of game play. A patch remedied this to being able to save anywhere, but for a game released in 2000, and not being a console port, that is borderline criminal. Finally, the multiplayer mode was a complete failure. The editor was cumbersome and limited, and the graphics could not be altered without a degree in computer science. Playing online with strangers was not a viable alternative, either, as they would either kill you on sight, or make it their goal to annoy you to the brink of insanity.

The Bottom Line

If you have never played the pen and paper version of Vampire, go ahead and try this, because it will give you a very simple idea of what the real rpg is all about. Similarly, if you enjoy dumb-downed rpg's, by all means, play this game. However, if you are a veteran gamer, either computer or pen and paper, avoid this at all costs, because it will make you sad; for ultimately, this is a game that could have been great, but barely achieves mediocrity.