Sep 182011

If you automatically hear the word “Bloodrayne” and tune out whatever it is you’re listening to, don’t worry — you’re not alone. The Bloodrayne series, starring Rayne the human/vampire hybrid, has thus far produced two games that were received as mediocre at best, and some of the worst game-to-film adaptations ever seen. However, with a great developer like WayForward behind this game, it is worth giving a second look. A completely overhauled aesthetic and new gameplay that will speak directly to the hearts of both lovers of old school games and vampire fanatics looking to sling a little blood and gore.

Bloodrayne: Betrayal is a 2D action platformer with some old school arcade beat-em-up elements thrown in for fun. It’s like if Super Mario Bros. and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game had a little vampire game baby. Players will guide the buxom protagonist Rayne through a series of fifteen levels as she slices and shoots vampires and miscellaneous creatures of the night. The combat is fun at first; slashing enemies to ribbons feels appropriately visceral, and the gun is great when you actually have bullets. There are some fun moments to be had from sucking the blood out of a particularly difficult enemy in order to replenish your own health, or infecting them and turning them into a bomb, but eventually it becomes overly difficult and frustrating. I’m a sucker for a babe who can kick ass, but there is something lacking in Rayne’s moveset that came across as a little underwhelming. While it is easy to appreciate a challenging game, this one only gets harder by adding overwhelming amounts of enemies to the fray. Thankfully, there are frequent checkpoints that also refill your health, because this game is relentless. Most players will hear Rayne’s dying scream every two or three minutes.

Fountains of blood were particularly satisfying.

Most of the platforming elements in Bloodrayne: Betrayal are ill-conceived. The controls are not precise or responsive enough, so getting the right timing of jumps down is about as easy as getting the Democrats and Republicans to agree on a health care plan. Also, Rayne seems to be lacking the physical prowess one would expect from a person who is half vampire. She is not very quick, for some weird reason she can’t crouch or duck, and pulling off a backflip is infuriatingly complicated.


Visually, this game is a work of art. 2D cell-shaded graphics are WayForward’s forte, and they really outdid themselves with this title. Colors are sharp and vivid, environments are appropriately Gothic, and the enemies are animated well. Rayne’s attacks leave a satisfying amount of carnage in their wake. The sound was a little loathsome, but that could be simply a matter of personal taste. The entire soundtrack was a heavy metal cacophony, which did not sit well with my ears.

Bloodrayne: Betrayal may be a vast departure from its last-gen console roots, but from what I can tell it is a move in the right direction. The old-school arcade action will be a big draw to previous members of Team Rayne and there are probably people out there who enjoy throughly and frustratingly difficult platforming action. Without WayForward’s reputation to back it up, this game would probably never have caught my attention, which is a shame because this is definitely a game worth playing…but maybe not until the price drops.

Bloodrayne: Betrayal

This game has fantastic cell-shaded graphics with old school arcade game mechanics at it's core.Some of the platforming elements are poorly implemented; difficulty only increases by overwhelming you with enemies.
Verdict This game will be great for elite fans of the genre, or die-hard vampire game enthusiasts, but isn't a good entry point to Bloodrayne for newcomers. This game will aslo surely appeal to gamer geeks with no girlfriends who enjoy looking at animated boobies.

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