Blade Hands-On

Blade is the PlayStation adaptation of the movie adaptation of the comic book about the half-human, half-vampire hero who spends his days fighting the vampires that created him. See how the game is coming along.

In the summer of 1998 audiences across the country were introduced to Wesley Snipes as Blade, the half-human, half-vampire who spends his life fighting the vampires that killed his mother and cursed his existence. The movie was a solid production with excellent acting and astounding visuals. The PlayStation game is based on the movie, and it tries to capture the feel of the picture. It also expands the game's storyline with a completely new plot. As Blade, your goal is to collect several glyphs from the various vampire clans first introduced by the movie.

There are fourteen glyphs in total, some representing clans not mentioned in the movie. As Blade you'll be fighting the Faustinas, Cianteto, Dragonetti, and the Lemure, among others. Each clan has its own enemies, and throughout the course of the game Blade will face vampire ninjas, vampire zombies, human security guards, and the occasional well-armed SWAT team member. You'll use different tactics to fight your opponents, depending on whether they are human or vampire, and in the game you'll find an icon that will help you determine which tactics to use. The icon is in the upper-right corner of the screen, and it changes color depending on the type of enemy you are confronting. Human enemies are best fought using traditional weapons, while vampire foes will have to be dispatched with Blade's custom silver-based weapons. Not only will you use your superstrength and martial arts skills but several different projectile weapons as well as Blade's custom katana, of course.

At this point the graphics need a little refinement. The characters all have a fairly high polygon count, but because of this the frame rate sometimes suffers. Additionally, some of the textures and animations don't look so hot. Hopefully, Activision will tweak the graphics before the game ships. The cutscenes are pretty cool and are all rendered using the game engine. The game also uses a number of distinct camera angles and movements. In one cutscene Blade jumps from a helicopter onto a rooftop and lands exactly as he did in the movie - in a crouched position with one arm supporting himself, only to look directly in the camera at the last moment. The game sports a pretty swift soundtrack full of techno and rock reminiscent of the movie soundtrack. Though the game uses some of the characters from the movie, all the voices are new. Whistler's voice sounds a bit off, and Blade's voice is just horrible - way too gravelly and nothing at all like the voice we heard in the movie. The villains' voices are all pretty cool, and Mannheim in particular has such a grating voice that you'll feel compelled to take care of him as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, most of the original characters in the game seem a little weak, and some of the controls take a little getting used to. Still, with a little tweaking Blade could be a fairly good beat-'em-up-style game. A decent plot and some good level design could help Blade be a decent adaptation of the movie.

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