Vampire Night Review
I bet there're only three people who knew that a light-gun shooter titled Vampire Night was recently released courtesy of Sega and Namco. What's more, I bet only five people knew that Sega and Namco had a joint relationship in developing a light-gun shooter for the arcade, to be later ported over to the PS2. Sega is of course very familiar with light-gun shooters, as they have given birth to the House of the Dead series, as is Namco with their Time Crisis franchise. So what happens when two of the most popular arcade game developers create a title that has the potential of turning into a light-gun classic? Vampire Night. Namco and Sega's Wow Entertainment division have come together to release this game on the arcades and shortly port it over for the PS2.
Time Crisis 2 was a petty looking game, despite being over three years of age, but because Vampire Nights is a newly developed title the visuals between the two are quite different -in a good way, of course-. Vampire Night is a surprisingly good-looking shooter. It makes good use of the PS2's texturing capabilities, as everything around you is very sharp, smooth and glossy; it's definitely a high-resolution title with a lot of visual finesse. There will be many kinds of enemies that you'll have to shoot through, all with their distinctive designs and wonderful detail. The enemies are composed of a high amount of polygons and lack any annoying aliasing issues. The game as a whole features great character detail, something I've found to be uncommon in light-gun shooters. But this game has excellent emphasis on its visuals, as the game is set in a very dark and gothic atmosphere. It really does stand out, as this game is easily the best looking light-gun shooter on a console to date.
Vampire Night's gameplay is somewhat like House of the Dead, with the horrific atmosphere and all, but the game itself is relatively different and easy as well. For starters, there is no time-counter on the top of the screen, so play as slow as you want. That pretty much diminishes half of the challenge the game has to offer, and only leaves the gamer with the selection of difficulty by adjusting the amount of lives and continues you can play with. But at the same time the game doesn't allow you to hide, so you're in the action no matter what. Vampire Nights feels somewhat like Devil May Cry as a light-gun shooter, as that feeling is contributed by the game's dark setting. It stars two vampire hunters who enter a town filled with demons and creatures of the dead. Your goal as the gamer will be to shoot the bastards back to hell and mark a rendezvous with the game's final boss, who's got various pals to help him out and give you a hard time through your progression. The story itself is no longer than 30-40 minutes. Like every other light-gun shooter, you'll beat this game in one sitting. Extras such as two-player GunCon slinging is a great addition for those who want to play with either a buddy or just with two guns. There is a training mode where the gamer can go through 15 stages to harness his potential and shoot up some serious bootay. As a whole the gameplay is good, while it's no Time Crisis 2, light-gun fans should really take a look at this game.
The game's got voice acting and the yards, but some of it just sounds too cheesy for me to really enjoy. Maybe your ears will bleed, maybe you'll just laugh at the staleness of the voice acting. Vampire Night's music is Goth like, and I don't mean Marilyn Manson! The orchestrated soundtrack sounds pretty good, and it meshes in with the whole visual atmosphere, which I thought was very nice. Nobody should complain about the tracks. As far as other sound effects go, it's all pretty basic and average. Boom, boom, bam, pow, *monster yells from pain* --get the picture? Not terrible, but not great, somewhere around average.
Well, I gave Time Crisis 2's controls a 9.5, and since both games control identically it would of course be only fair to give Vampire Night the same score. I should really save my self the trouble and just put up the excerpt from my TC2 review, with a few minor adjustments. Vampire Night is pretty much perfect in the field, with the note of one problem, force feedback. I was kind of bummed when I picked up the GunCon 2 and noticed how light it was, and how there was no force feedback every time I shot a bullet. It would've been truly a great inclusion into the title, but chances are it was done like that for financial purposes. If you're as much of a light-gun fanatic as I am, getting the hang of the game will take absolutely no time. With backwards compatibility, and the use of two light-guns in single-player mode, Vampire Night's controls are top-notch.
As an avid light-gun fan, and not as a big shot Editor-in-Chief who gets his ass spoiled with free videogames, I would've most likely went out and bought Vampire Night. The story mode is short, but I keep on coming back to the action and the ability to use two-guns simultaneously for either co-op play, or just hellish gun-slinging play. Vampire Night is definitely the best looking light-gun title to date, and should prove to be a worthy purchase for casual light-gun gamers. While it is short, and somewhat easy, I enjoyed it. Rent the game if you're a bit skeptical. What else can I tell ya'?
11/28/2001 Arnold Katayev