BloodRayne PC Preview

BloodRayne is shaping up to be a fast-paced action game with plenty of enemies to shoot up and dismember.

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We recently had a chance to play a preview build of BloodRayne, a PC port of the Terminal Reality action game released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube in October of last year. The game chronicles the adventures of Agent Rayne, a half-vampire, half-human (or "dhampir") heroine who works for the Brimstone Society. Her job is to hunt down and destroy supernatural threats to the world, and as the game is set in the 1930s, the bad guys responsible for such threats turn out to be everyone's favorite villain--the Nazis. Her journey takes her through three major areas: the Louisiana bayou, a submarine port in Argentina, and a German castle.

The game chronicles the adventures of Agent Rayne, a half-vampire, half-human heroine.
The game chronicles the adventures of Agent Rayne, a half-vampire, half-human heroine.

PC players familiar with Terminal Reality's previous games, such as Nocturne and the Blair Witch series, will immediately recognize BloodRayne's artistic style with regard to character models and textures. Most levels are set at night, with dark, brooding atmospheres. In many ways, the graphics resemble a close-up version of the Nocturne-engine games, except that in BloodRayne, the over-the-shoulder camera follows the player like a standard third-person action game camera. Other aspects of the game, like Agent Rayne's ability to auto-target two enemies at once with a gun in each hand, will remind players of Terminal Reality's previous games as well.

At its core, BloodRayne is a standard third-person action game in which you shoot, hack, and slash your way through enemies to get to the next level, though there are some platformer elements in the game. Since Rayne is a dhampir, she has some extraordinary physical abilities that you can make use of, including the ability to jump superhuman heights and distances and the ability to hop on and walk tightropes. You'll be using these abilities to get from area to area and avoid hazards like water, which is toxic to dhampirs. Rayne also has some special vision modes that allow her to spot enemies behind walls and see great distances through fog. Since the game also has a radar interface at the bottom, you'll never wonder where to go next to complete the objectives in a given level.

Make your attacks in rhythm and Rayne will mix in some kicks and more stylish moves.
Make your attacks in rhythm and Rayne will mix in some kicks and more stylish moves.

However, Rayne's most interesting special abilities are her combat skills. Her primary weapons are the long knives that she holds in both hands. Attacking with the knives is as easy as hitting the left mouse button. Make your attacks in rhythm and Rayne will mix in some kicks and more stylish moves as she dispatches enemies. As you make your way through the game, you'll be able to pick up guns that are dropped by enemies, including pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, and more. Rayne automatically picks up and holds guns in each hand, and you fire them using the right mouse button. Thanks to the game's console roots, aiming the guns in BloodRayne is automatic. You need only face in the general direction of the enemy for Rayne to automatically take aim at him or her.I If enemies are approaching Rayne on two sides, she will automatically target both enemies simultaneously. Finally, Rayne will dispose of empty guns by herself, meaning that you don't even have to think about changing weapons, aside from swapping in a better gun from your inventory.

Your primary incentive for using melee weapons instead of guns is that engaging in close combat will fill Rayne's blood lust meter. Dispatch enough enemies with your knives and kicks and the meter will fill up, allowing you to activate Rayne's blood rage ability. Much like Max Payne's "bullet time," blood rage engages a slow-motion effect that lets you dodge attacks and make faster, more powerful swipes with your knife, which increases the chances of dismembering your enemies. Blood rage lasts a lot longer than bullet time did in Max Payne.

Rayne has the ability to jump on almost any enemy in the game and suck his or her blood to replenish her health.
Rayne has the ability to jump on almost any enemy in the game and suck his or her blood to replenish her health.

Another unique aspect of BloodRayne is the fact that the game features no health packs, first-aid kits, or healing potions. Since Rayne is half-vampire, she has the ability to jump on almost any enemy in the game and suck his or her blood to replenish her health. The feeding simultaneously kills the enemy and refills a good portion of Rayne's life bar. Rayne even has a harpoon that lets her spear a hapless enemy from distance and pull him or her in for a blood sucking. Even more so than the auto-targeting and the blood rage, it's the feeding ability that currently makes BloodRayne seem somewhat straightforward, even easy at times. When just about every opponent is actually a walking first-aid kit, you don't often feel the stress of imminent death.

Due out later this year, BloodRayne is shaping up to be a fast-paced action game with plenty of enemies to shoot up and dismember. Its interface is simple and easy to pick up, making this a game that could potentially be a lot of fun for the casual action fan who doesn't like to die constantly.

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