Blood-lusting, buxom vamp heroine is fair play

This is the worst game I’ve ever played.

That was the beginning of the first draft of my review for Majesco/Terminal Reality’s “BloodRayne,” a game that pits a sultry half-vampire sadist against the pre-Nazi army. At the end of a six-hour marathon playing of the game, I had concluded that BloodRayne was just a typical action game, featuring nothing more than crude humor, lots of blood and a half-vampire with a well-endowed chest.

However, as I put the controller down and went to class, I found myself strangely drawn back to my couch, and suddenly, the controller was in my hands once again. Was Agent BloodRayne using her vampiric power to sway my actions? Or was it the alluring jiggle of leather and lace that accompanied the beginning of every cut-scene?

Unsure of what was happening, I played another hour or three of the game and finally understood that decent gameplay and excellent graphics made this game altogether better than bad. In fact, they made it good.

At first, BloodRayne’s campy style and Twisted-Metal-meets-Max-Payne artwork screams lame carbon copy. However, the player soon becomes immersed in the gothic world of vampires, swamp things and then, *poof* you’re in a 1960s B-flick!

The cheesy, overdone dialogue and excessive blood and gore match the classic titles of a lost era of filmmaking a la “A Taste of Blood,” “Kiss of the Vampire” and the original “Dracula.” The ridiculous characters and outrageous situations blend into the background as the Terminal Reality staff truly takes this one over the edge.

The gameplay also seems very poor in the beginning. The physics engine has a very jittery, twitchy feel to it. This leads to a great deal of walking into walls, falling into water traps and an overall poor experience as the genuinely boring first level grinds along. However, as the player adjusts to the pace of the game and starts to master the various moves and controls, the gameplay becomes very fast-paced, exciting and immersive. Spinning air attacks and frenetic melee combat combines great graphics with intuitive controls.

BloodRayne can target multiple enemies with a weapon in each hand, as well as shoot while performing flips, tumbles and other impressive acrobatics. Camera effects allow the player to enhance BloodRayne’s vision sensitivity, slow down time and go into a state of bloodlust, where BloodRayne can use special moves and superhuman strength.

New moves, powers and weapons are unlocked throughout the game and the awesome animations of these special moves and powers are requisite eye candy. Backwards flips, acrobatic kicks and savage dual-slicing attacks all link fairly seamlessly into each other and, of course, BloodRayne can suck the blood of her enemies. While feeding, she can use her meal as a human shield and fire her own weapon at incoming enemies.

If you ever saw a B-movie with vampires and liked it, go buy this game. If you have any taste or class at all, go buy it anyway, but you’ll probably regret it the morning after.