BloodRayne 2 (PlayStation 2) review
"A sky filled in a murky red haze, as if the sky bleeds. Barren and twisted trees littering the landscape. Bodies, decapitated, eviscerated, mutilated, desecrated, and perforated, blood strewn all around. Screams in the distance, bellowing roars following them, then silence. Deep atmosphere, supreme stuff, captures the mood of a raped world. "
When I was about seven years old, I stuck my tongue in a live light bulb socket, hoping to gain superpowers. It hurt. A lot. My parents werenít around at the time, so I had the surreal experience of laying half-conscious on the ground for about two hours, I lost my sense of taste for a week, and, to top it off, I didnít gain any real abilities. But, hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
BloodRayne 2 was pretty much the same deal. All the sudden I got the insatiable urge to watch a redheaded vampire in tight leather fight other vampires in tight leather by simultaneously humping them and draining their blood (and other body fluids, judging from the moans she always makes in the process) While I never did play the original, I did read the review made by Genj, fellow reviewer and lover of Brit Rock. I got the gist: It was the ideal game for a guy who enjoys looking at topless videogame characters in Playboy and spending a quiet night with his hand.
A guy who is distinctly not me. Being clear.
The sequel starts up with Rayne, decades after her World War II shenanigans and living in the modern times. Now, unlike Genj, I donít find Rayne to be ugly. Angela Jolie is ugly. Rayne is nowhere near Angela Jolie territory. But sheís certainly not as hot as the game would have you to believe, as the first scene has her walking down the stairwell of a ritzy party, men gasping and women cursing, looking for all the world like a cheap, anorexic hooker with bad taste in clothing. Her purpose there is to track down her half-brother, the latest in a series of family killings sheís been occupying herself with for the past half-century. Aiding in her quest is a mortal man with a name I canít remember nor am inclined to recall, because he doesnít serve any real purpose besides giving Rayne someone to talk to and bounce bad jokes off of.
And they are bad.
"And then it dawned on him, 'I'm getting my ass kicked here!'"
"Gotta make a withdrawl from the blood bank!"
"Oh, God! I'm horrible!Ē
Yes, you are. You most definitely are.
BloodRayne 2 continues the trend by having a dumb plot to go with the dialogue. Well, Ďdumbí isnít the best word for it. More like Ďtriteí and Ďoverdoneí. Itís just about vampires sucking humans dry, finding a way to walk in daylight, trying to take over the world and plunge it into eternal darkness, blah blah blah.
Rayneís out to stop them, and this means two things: Running through buildings and running outside.
Running outside isnít so bad; as a matter of fact, BloodRayne 2 is at its best when youíre not enclosed. Youíve got room to move, room to fight, room to take off and actually enjoy the macabre environment on display here. Some of the later levels are like something out of an emo childís worst nightmares (best dreams?) A sky filled in a murky red haze, as if the sky bleeds. Barren and twisted trees littering the landscape. Bodies decapitated, eviscerated, mutilated, desecrated, and perforated, blood strewn all around. Screams in the distance, bellowing roars following them, then silence. Deep atmosphere, supreme stuff, captures the mood of a raped world.
Which is why itís such a shame when BloodRayne 2 goes inside. BloodRayne 2 should never go inside.
Oh, where to start, where to start. I suppose the redundant scenery is at the crux of things; you spend a lot of time going through halls that look identical to the last hall you went through, monotonous. You wonít get lost because, even though BloodRayne 2 doesnít have radar, Rayne has the abilities to see her objective through walls. However, you will get blindsided by enemies, because the camera controls like crap. Itís erratic, itís jolty, and it never seems to be pointing in the direction you need it to be. Youíll walk down a hall, open a door, start to walk down another corner and BAM! some crazy goth chick plants her ridiculously oversized PVC boot in your face with a karate kick from off camera. You slice her in half because Rayne doesnít take that crap from jive turkey goth chicks, and not a second after that another crazy goth chick hits you from behind with a crowbar. You'll take a lot of hits that you wouldn't have to take, not because the enemies are smart-they're dumb as hell and have few attacks. But it doesn't matter if YOU CAN'T SEE THEM. Unless you have some odd fetish about getting bum rushed by goth chicks in hallways (I can relate) itíll annoy the shit out of you.
As will all the damn acrobatic sequences. In her bitchy quest to rid the world of her own family, Rayne will swing on poles, grind on rails, shimmy up pipes, hop off walls, and none of the above activities will look anywhere near as erotic as you know the developers intended them to be. You basically just press X over and over and watch while Rayne does her best Spider-Man impressions.
Half the gameplay really, truly sucks. Makes it hard to appreciate the good parts.
Technically, Rayne only has one set of guns, her Carpathian Dragons (dual guns which may or may not be related to the bad guy from Ghostbusters 2) however, this weapon gets upgraded as you go along; itíll become a machine gun, then a shotgun, even a rocket launcher, and you can switch modes as you please. Plus, as little sense as it makes even as magic goes, the bullets use blood as ammo, so all you need do if you need more ammo is spill a little blood. Or you could use that same blood to refuel your health from all the beatings youíll be taking from crazed goth chicks. Your choice, makes you think a little.
But her guns arenít the main attraction, nice as they are. Rayne has a wide array of useful, non-sucky powers at her disposal, crazy abilities that are perfect for screwing around with. She can enthrall enemies, force them to fight for her and fall into traps for her and stupidly fall off buildings for her. She can summon tornadoes, covering the area in a crimson swirl as bones and blood fly around her. She can even reduce time to an insane degree, making the enemies move so slow that they appear frozen to the naked eye, while she walks unhindered. They come in handy, great for taking out the big bosses and the enemies that just refuse to die when you want them to and a pleasure to use and abuse.
Things like that give BloodRayne 2 its best moments and keep the thing from being as outright boring as it could be. Fun enough to buy? I wouldnít. Fun enough to rent? I did. Fun enough to bum a friend for an indefinite amount of time? Good plan. Both of the original BloodRayneís fans should be pleased, and itís got enough good stuff to keep the rest of us entertained.
For a little while.
Staff review by Zack Little (April 18, 2006)
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