Over the life-span of the PS2, we've seen many dark action titles bolstered with some mean, sullied action stars: Devil May Cry(Dante) Soul Reaver 2 (Raziel), Blood Omen 2 (Kain), and Shadow Man 2 (Mike LeRoi), to name a few. BloodRayne is yet another action title with a dark setting as well as characters. Similar to the aforementioned titles, BloodRayne pits you in the shoes (high-heels, actually) of a sullied heroine -- a vampire -- known as Agent BloodRayne. In most cases, your oppressor would be some deep, dark villain such as a demon, grim reaper or vampire. However, the enemy is far from the obvious. Instead, it's a archaic, maligned band of soldiers from Germany, to be more specific -- the Nazis.
Set in the 1930's, Agent BloodRayne, who works for a fraternity to stop all preternatural threats, must stop a myriad of Nazis, and more specifically, defeat their commander, Jurgen Wulf. Initially, Agent BloodRayne ventures into this mission just as any other mission. However, she will then find out that Wulf's dastardly plot is now much greater, which will eventually result -- if carried out successfully-- in the total obliteration of the world. One of their main weapons, which will help to successfully complete their plan, is the construction of a whole army of powerful monsters.
Agent BloodRayne isn't just the typical female protagonist. Her supernatural powers and prowess is unmatched by humans as she boasts an array of abilities and attacks. First off, she has two huge claw-like, razor sharp poles on the end of each wrist, a la Wolverine, but with just one on each hand, instead of Wolverine's three. This alone is enough to make enemy soldiers run in dismay. However, she also has a pair hand-guns equipped at all times. What's more, players can garner tons of attachments and power-ups to augment the already devastating claws. In addition, BloodRayne boasts a plethora of weapons that you can pick up as the game moves forward, such weapons included are harpoon knives, pistols, rifles, submachine guns, and grenades.
While most of the Nazis can use the same forces of offense in the previously stated weapons, they sure can't use her typical vampire-born abilities. These include night vision, zoom vision, and slow-motion perception. The slow-motion perception is what opens up the gates for Terminal Reality, letting them engender the use of Bullet Time, which was notoriously filled to the brim in Rockstar's Max Payne. These special powers are also bolstered by her superhero-like strengths that she possesses. She can do cartwheels to the left and right to dodge oncoming attacks/fire. If that's not enough, she can also back flip out of dangerous close encounters as well as pull off one-two hit combo attacks in a melee-like manner.
Another cool -- and probably the most essential need of a vampire -- facet of play, which Terminal Reality has implemented, is BloodRayne's longing lust and necessity for blood. So much that there's a blood meter at the bottom of the screen, which somewhat indicates her life. Her blood meter, which is uncannily similar to a breath meter in other games, will slowly deplete until it's completely consumed and therefore results in death -- think Raziel in Soul Reaver. So, of course, you must find some hapless victim in which you can inflict your blood-thirsty needs upon, which is executed with the circle button. There's also a bonus-like stage that BloodRayne can enter -- accomplished by feeding on a large number of prey, giving her an abundance of blood -- which makes her attacks even more destructive.
The developers have also incorporated some lighting-fast action, maybe even up to par with the speed of DMC once the game is completed. Normally inanimate objects -- tables, couches, desks, flags -- are also fully interactive in the midst of the outlandish gameplay style. This game still has a lot of development time before its slated Fall release. Keep you eyes peeled as more information will most likely be unveiled at this year's E3 in which PSX Extreme will be there with full coverage.
3/19/2002 Joseph Comunale