Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 12/25/01 | Genre: Action
Blood Wake is the latest from Microsoft and developer Stormfront Studios. You control Shao Kai, the former Lieutenant with the Northern League. Unfortunately, your group, ship, and men have all been killed in a heinous attack. However, thanks to Ped Zeng, the lader of the Shadow Clan, you have been rescued and spared death. Despite the kindness shown in this act, you are not free. To stay alive, you must work for the Shadow Clan and help fight against their enemies: the Jade Kingdom and the Iron Empire.
To sum up Blood Wake, it is a pure action game. You control a boat, fire a multitude of weapons at your enemies, and accomplish mission objectives in order to continue on to the next level. Along the way, you will gain bigger and better boats, more powerful weapons, and more recognition within the Shadow Clan. Hopefully, in the end, you can also avenge the death of the Northern League.
Controlling Blood Wake is very easy. The L Trigger fires your primary weapon, the R Trigger fires the secondary weapon, the white button changes the camera view, the right thumstick looks around in your current view, the black button toggles the game screen, X performs a turbo boost, and A selects a weapon. They key to Blood Wake is learning to navigate on the fairly realistic waters. At first the controls seem fairly simple. However, after killing enemies and trying to pick up the cargo they leave behind, you will discover that making a tight turn is nearly impossible. This is my biggest and only complain about the control system.
Graphically, Blood Wake is everything you would expect from the Xbox. The boats are very detailed and realistic looking. While I am no boat expert, each boat looks like what you would expect it would in the real world. Also impressive is the water effects. There is definitely a learning curve when learning to turn over these treacherous waters.
I must point out that the cinematic scenes in Blood Wake are horrible looking. Instead of using CG, developer Stormfront Studios chose to use non-interactive still screens with voice narration. This was a mistake as CG could have definitely drawn the player into the storyline. As it stands, by using these still screens to tell the story, I was turned off by this and just concentrated on completing my mission objectives.
Besides the problems with the story-telling, Blood Wake is a fun and enjoyable action title. While it doesn't set any new standards, it is worth a look. Hopefully this will be one of many fun action titles on the Xbox.