Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/13/03 | Genre: Action
BloodRayne is a 3rd Person Action game set in the late 30's-early 40's. You are an agent of The Brimstone Society. An organization tasked with the seizure, control, and, if necessary, elimination of supernatural artifacts and beings(Naturally a job this sensitive and discreet requires you to wear skintight pants and a bustiere made of red velvet and black leather.). Soon you're sent to find a relic the Nazis are looking for and all Hell breaks loose.
Beyond the game's sexual undertones and unoriginal plot, BloodRayne is an enjoyable game. Though the first level, in which you learn your basic skills, is rather boring, the action heats up quickly. Through the game you'll gain abilities, extra moves for your combos, and vision modes. Rayne's basic attack combo starts off with the basic 1-2 punch, but develops into a string of acrobatic kicking and blade slicing as you progress through the game. You also have a different combo associated with your "Blood Rage". A state of frenzy Rayne can employ after slicing through enough enemies. Other than the blades on your arms, and the spikes on your shoes, you'll also have a variety of guns and explosives with which to level the throng of adversaries before you. To assist you in finding enemies and objectives is your Aura Vision. Aura Vision will present these things to you as blue orbs. One thing about this game is that you'll rarely get lost, you'll always know the direction in which your immediate objective lies. Other vision modes you'll receive in the course of the game are Dilated Perception(basically it's unlimited bullet time) and Extruded View(more or less a sniper mode). Dilated Perception is very useful, especially if you're getting creamed in a certain area. The action is slow enough to allow you to dodge bullets, and get behind enemies who can block your frontal attacks. After all this hacking, shooting, and jumping, a hot little dhampir like Rayne can get a little thirsty. When you find yourself low on health, you do what any good vampiric vixen would do. You jump on a guy and suck the life out of him.
The control is solid, although it feel a little sluggish as console ports tend to. Rayne's combos aren't timed on Easy or Normal, so you're welcome to wear out your mouse button with incessant clicking. They are timed on the hardest mode, and I can only imagine the difficulty this adds. The action tends to be pretty frenetic and involves multiple enemies. You won't get much improvement over the console version with PC controls, because there is no reticule and the aiming is lock-on, a la Tomb Raider.
Graphically the game is pretty average. The PS2 is showing its age, and Terminal Reality doesn't seem to have put much effort into any upgrades for the PC version. I had problems with the dynamic shadows and bump mapping, but the game is perfectly playable with these options turned off. Experimenting with these settings can be a hassle, since they're controlled through a frontend. To change graphical settings such as resolution, texture detail, or reflections, you have to quit the game and restart. You can expect some slowdown during heavy action, especially around fire or explosives, but normally the game coasts along above 30fps. The textures are clean, the settings are conceived well, and the animations are fluid. The levels have a gritty feel to them that add to the ambience of the plot.
Aurally, BloodRayne fares well. The scripting isn't Shakespeare, but the voices are appropriate and lack any disjointed histrionics. Sound effects are crisp, with crackling gunfire and the metallic swish of Rayne's blades. As far as music goes, it's a mixed bag. The dramatic breaks and millitaristic drum marches are well suited to the atmosphere, but occasionally a bit of techno sneaks in and pulls you out of the early 20th Century.
When all this is said and done, BloodRayne remains a solid action title. Thin on plot, heavy on blood, and topped with ample-chested females, it's everything you've come to expect from the genre.