BloodRayne 2 is improved over its predecessor, but struggles to stand out from other titles with similar gameplay.

User Rating: 7 | BloodRayne 2 PC


In hindsight, BloodRayne depended on a lot of hype about its sultry and tart-mouthed half-vampire, half-human protagonist to market itself. In practice, the game has gameplay that is not tightly designed, a camera that was very unhelpful and terrible optimization with most platforms during its time.

BloodRayne 2 would, unfortunately, try to sell itself off the same way, albeit with a bit more fine-tuning and more mechanics than its predecessor.


Rayne, the eponymous protagonist of the game, is no closer to exacting vengeance on her wayward sire by the end of the first game. However, she has discovered that her father was exceptionally lecherous; he had fathered many other offsprings, many of which are eager to serve him, often for selfish reasons.

This development in the canon is of course just an excuse to have Rayne living down the centuries by hunting down her sisters and brothers. BloodRayne 2's story starts with her tracking down some of the last of her half-siblings, and as luck would have it, an opportunity to have her ultimate revenge and thwart a terrible plan to place the world under the dominion of vampires – all of which of course means more bloody violence.

The premise would seem old to one that has already seen many ways of story-telling, though it is perhaps a lot more refreshing than the oft-overused settings of fighting against clandestine Nazis and their dastardly plans. However, there are also tropes such as decadent vampire-worshipping cults and effete clubs of foppish vampires in BloodRayne 2 – tropes that more sophisticated vampire-related franchises such as Vampire: The Masquerade have done already.


Being a half-vampire, Rayne can jump and run around with gusto, not unlike what she could do in the previous game. However, she has learned a few tricks since then.

One of these is the double-jump; the second jump that she can perform in the air can change her jumping direction, which is convenient.

If the player needs a refresher on the moves that Rayne can perform, he/she can bring up a list of moves via the main menu, which is convenient in-game documentation.

As a half-vampire (or "dhampir", to use the franchise's own terms), Rayne has to refill her health by feeding on enemies, be they vampires, mortals or monsters – if their blood flows red, she can drain them. However, feeding is not as easy as simply latching onto them, unlike the first game, which made feeding very easy.

A computer-centric player may find that the controls are better suited for a controller than the mouse and keyboard, unfortunately. The default layout of the buttons for the control inputs on the keyboard can be cumbersome, requiring some re-mapping. This more than suggests half-hearted porting on the part of Terminal Reality.

The camera does not follow Rayne from behind as in the first game. Instead, it takes positions that show both Rayne and any enemies that the player may be targeting, which is convenient. However, the camera is not entirely competent all the time, and during moments when it is not, the player will discover that he/she has little control over beyond tilting it up and down.

Like the previous game, the game may slow down and have the camera focusing on the particularly gorier of deaths that enemies suffer. This is not a new camera feature in games, and would only seem exhilarating to players who are looking for bloodily nasty visuals.


The vision modes that come with being partly vampire return in BloodRayne 2. The first of these is Aura Vision, which allows Rayne to see enemies through walls and other obstacles, keep track of their health, spot locations of supernatural power (namely Vampire Lairs, which will be described later) and notice which parts of the environment that she can interact with, such as poles and beams that Rayne can hop on to and off from and rails that she can grind.

However, as with Aura Vision of the previous game, it tints the screen, among other graphical effects that make things harder to see than when the player is using normal vision. It also makes the rest of the game's graphical designs more difficult to appreciate.

Dilated Perception also returns. As in the previous game, it is a slow-motion toggle that can be used at almost any time. This is convenient for a lot of battles, but like Aura Vision, it warps the aesthetics of the game, namely its sounds. Moreover, Dilated Perception consumes Rage now, so the player cannot have it turned on all the time.

However, Dilated Perception has more powerful variants that removes the slow-down for Rayne herself such that she moves a lot quicker compared to her enemies, or even freeze enemies altogether. These more powerful variants consume Rage more quickly, however.


Perhaps taking heed of complaints about inconsequential weapons in the previous game, BloodRayne 2 does not have an array of firearms that can be pilfered from slain enemies, though this does not mean that enemies lack fire-arms (far from that).

Instead, Rayne's selection of weapons has been limited to only an apparent few, with a pair of guns being particularly versatile because it has several modes of firing, as will be described further later.

Initially, Rayne only starts with her trusty, signature dual blades. She will be carving up a lot of enemies with these. As in the previous game, attacking with them is as simple as jamming away on the melee attack button, which sends her into combos with escalating damage. There does not appear to be anything else that is remarkable about the regular blade attacks.

Of course, the blades do matter in the mechanism of executions, though this mechanism serves more purposes than regular attacks, so it will be elaborated later.

The harpoon also returns from the previous game. Rayne can launch this at enemies to relieve them of their weapons, as well as latching onto them and tossing them in a direction that the player chooses. Yet, Rayne cannot use the harpoon to pull enemies towards her. This is a limitation that can seem disappointing, considering that some other action games at the time had managed to implement physics scripting that allows player characters to reel in enemies.


Sometime into the game, the player comes across the Carpathian Dragons. These are firearms with firing modes that draw from the same source of ammunition, which is unsurprisingly blood. (The excuse that is given for this is that the weapons are arcane designs that are inspired by the nature of vampires.)

The Carpathian Dragons are perhaps the only appealing weapons in this game, though their designs were nothing new in video games or fiction at the time (though perhaps rare, and certainly not with such an entertainingly outlandish name).

The different firing modes expend different amounts of blood; fortunately, the game has visual indicators in the user interface that conveniently informs the player how many shots remain with the currently selected firing mode. The player can recharge these guns by using them on enemies, much like how Rayne would feed to regain her health.

However, running out of blood for the guns does not mean that they stop firing. Instead, they draw from Rayne's health instead. This is a very interesting mechanic, as the player can continue shooting when he/she has run out of "ammunition" and expend away some health, which can be recovered later by having Rayne feed.

These different firing modes for the Carpathian Dragons have functions that are similar to familiar weapon archetypes, such as rapid-firing SMGs and shotguns. The Dragons start with the Bloodshot, which makes them behave like pistols. Later, the player obtains other firing modes, such as Blood Spray, which is functionally a shotgun.

However, as an attempt to make these firing modes seem more than just typical archetypes of weapons and to include some gameplay elements of statistical development in BloodRayne 2, each firing mode is given an 'experience meter' of sorts. Using a specific firing mode to kill enemies accrues experience for said firing mode.

Breaching experience thresholds increases that firing mode's efficiency of its blood consumption, as well as increasing its damage output. It may also gain new and devastating properties, such as the Blood Spray's ability to blow enemies off their feet at level 3.

Being a console port, BloodRayne 2 for the computer platform has a convenient aiming aid in the form of automatic lock-ons. The player can have Rayne cycling between targets of opportunity while the player has her running and leaping around to avoid attacks. The camera tries its best to keep track of the target, though the player can have Rayne moving around so much that it fails to keep up.


As in the previous game, Rayne is capable of harnessing her rage, which is represented by a meter. The player can unleash Rage to raise her attack power tremendously, at least for a short amount of time as the Rage meter drains away. During Rage, Rayne is also incapable of having any staggering animations and cannot be knocked down, though her model can still be shuffled around when powerful attacks connect with her hitboxes.

Before entering Rage can happen, the player has to build up her anger with regular combat while using the blades, filling a meter that indicates how much longer there is to achieving the opportunity to unleash that state.

Certain enemies are weak enough that they stagger or become stunned when damaged past a certain threshold. When these occur, the player can have Rayne latching onto them, but instead of feeding, the player can have her executing them in gory manners to gain more Rage than from killing them with regular attacks. However, these animations take a while to perform, and can render Rayne vulnerable when they end.

In addition to regular Rage mode, there are also two other variants that have different benefits and Rage consumption. One of them increases the reach of her close combat attacks, unlocks additional moves to Rayne's combos that do more damage than regular combos and also slows down time when active. The other variant is practically a room-clearer, but drains rage away much more quickly.


Throughout the game, there are regular enemies that throw themselves at Rayne. These are mostly non-mortals, so the player can expect them to endure somewhat longer than the Nazi troops in the previous game. However, as enemies, they are not really any more skilful than their predecessors in the previous game.

In fact, they may even be simpler to deal with. Whereas the Nazi troops knew to keep their distance so as to utilize their firearms, the enemies in BloodRayne 2 are mainly close-combatants, which mean that the player should have a slightly easier time getting enemies to come close enough to kill them than in the previous game. There are enemies with firearms, of course, but they are lesser in proportion compared to the Nazis in the previous game.

Enemies may be armed with weapons that are held in the hands (in the case of enemies that retain their humanoid shapes), or may already be so beastly as to have natural weapons (or are abominations with grafted weaponry). In the case of still-humanoid enemies, they can be disarmed with Rayne's harpoon.

Disarmed enemies will attempt to retrieve their weapons (or somebody else's), though they are very vulnerable to attacks when doing this. Perhaps surprisingly, after having shown some alacrity or finesse in performing their attacks with said weapons, their weapon-retrieving animations are rather clumsy.

Of course, one can argue that they are not used to having lost their weapons, but it strengthens the impression that regular enemies are push-overs once the player knows their weaknesses.

However, as the game progresses, an observant player will notice that enemies are less and less likely to retrieve lost weapons, probably because the game-makers have become aware by this stage of the development of the game that the player needs more sources of health and that the enemies are rather vulnerable when retrieving weapons. Yet, enemies that lack weapons do very little damage, becoming more of a nuisance than a threat, or more likely, just nourishment for Rayne.

Anyway, the player will need to disarm enemies, as disarmed enemies are much easier to feed upon. As in the previous game, Rayne has to jump and latch onto enemies to bite into them and drain them of their ichor in order to heal.

Rayne can be knocked off her victims by other enemies, which releases the former. However, freed enemies, especially humanoid ones, may be somewhat dazed and vulnerable to further feeding attempts, as well as finishing moves.

As in the previous game, to prevent Rayne from being set upon while she is feeding, the player can have her shuffling the victim around so as to use the victim as a meatshield. Unlike the previous game, the camera no longer zooms in on Rayne when she is feeding; this makes shuffling the victim around easier.

(One can argue that this design is not an improvement and should have been in the previous game.)

Armed enemies can still be fed upon, if the player can have Rayne latching onto them from behind; this is of course, easier said than done, as it requires knowledge of enemies' attack animations and knowing when during these that they are vulnerable to feeding from behind.

After latching onto an enemy, the player can opt to have Rayne throw or kick enemies away, either straight in front of her, or at a specific direction. Latching onto enemies behind also allows Rayne to perform exceptionally nasty killing animations, which contribute more to Rayne's Rage meter than other executions.

One of the convincing appeals in the previous game – and there were few of these – is that there are enemies of different nature that are often fighting each other as Rayne gets through the levels. There are far fewer of such moments in BloodRayne 2, unfortunately; if there are any, they were concentrated in the last few levels in the game.


In addition to the long-term statistics for the Carpathian Dragons, the game also has a similar mechanic for Rayne's own physical capabilities, simply called 'Carnage'.

Carnage is essentially an experience meter, which fills up as the player has Rayne killing enemies by hurling them into environmental hazards, such as spikes, exposed electrical conduits or explosive/flammable materials; alternatively, tossing enemies off high places also works.

Upon achieving a Carnage threshold, Rayne's health and Rage capacities increase, which of course leads to an improvement in her durability and killing power. However, there is a ceiling limit to the capacities anyway, which can be reached early before the end of the game, if the player is prudent enough to get the most Carnage out of enemies.


In addition to savaging and feeding on enemies and her vision modes, Rayne has some supernatural powers that she can use on enemies. Almost of them expend Rage that could be used for buffing Rayne up for a murderous rampage, so the player has to manage consumption of Rage so as not to run out at the most inopportune moments.

One of the most convenient powers has Rayne sending out her spirit at an enemy to feed on him/her/it, regaining health remotely while the player compensates for the drain on Rage by having Rayne's corporeal body continue to carve up enemies. The spirit is impervious to any damage and also happens to stun enemies while it drains them, making it one of the most useful powers.

Another - but far less useful - power has her dominating a regular enemy and making him/her/it turn against his/her/its allies. Although this seems useful on paper, in practise, its usefulness is outweighed by its very high Rage cost and the fact that most regular enemies are push-overs, not being much of any use in combat even when enthralled.


Considering the designs that have been mentioned above, the player has to strike a balance among eliminating regular enemies via feeding (which will be described shortly), offing them by using the Carpathian Dragons and killing them with executions, whenever the need to replenish health, ammunition or Rage arises, in addition to balancing these actions against killing enemies with environmental means, at least for the player's first time through the game.

Moreover, feeding on enemies is not a decision of having the benefits all just go to Rayne's health, Rage meter, Carnage, the Carpathian Dragons' tubes or their experience meters. Depending on the methods used to terminate a feeding victim, one or two of these recipients may get the benefits.

These two designs are perhaps the most sophistication that the game can come up with, as the rest of the gameplay mechanisms in BloodRayne 2 can be quite rote to people that have played many action games.

However, a crafty player may also spot the weakness in such designs, and exploit them. For example, enemies that appear on rooftops can be fed on to regain health to the point of being almost-dead, before they are tossed off the rooftops to earn Carnage on the side.

As for Rayne's powers, these are certainly additions over the previous BloodRayne game, though their functions are not refreshingly new to the video game scene.

However, the game's post-game feature renders a lot of these features moot. Upon starting a new playthrough after having completed one, Rayne starts with maximized health and Rage capacities as well as all powers. Even the Carpathian Dragons and its maximized firing modes are available, before the point in the story when Rayne obtains them.

This removes a lot of the challenge in the game, as well as removing the need to accumulate any experience. Consequently, this feature seems more of an afterthought in design than a novelty.


Most of BloodRayne's bosses have attack patterns that are capable of punishing a careless player, but for other players who are wiser, they are just there to be predicted and avoided until openings present themselves. This is especially the case for the early bosses in the game. Furthermore, unleashing a Blood Rage at these moments of weakness on the part of the bosses makes the fights a lot shorter, thus dashing the challenge of the game.

If the bosses are not this typical, then they are of the sort that is rendered invulnerable until the player accomplishes something other than hitting away at it, e.g. the player is to avoid the bosses' attacks until whatever objective other than their deaths has been achieved.

Furthermore, in these boss fights, there are usually regular enemies that are spawned into the arena, not unlike what had been done for the previous game. They are namely there to be both a nuisance and a source of health for the player character, of course. Such a design was perhaps entertaining in the previous game, but in the second game, it may seem more like the trope that it is than ever.

Throughout the levels in the game, the player may spot hidden places with Aura vision; they are typically located behind weak walls or around obscured corners. If the player can locate these hidden places, called "Vampire Lairs" in-game, he/she can have Rayne confront the denizens, which may also include a mini-boss.

The immediate rewards from Vampire Lairs are fountains of blood that Rayne can get into to heal. The longer-term rewards are new close combat moves that she can perform after killing the mini-bosses in Lairs, if there are any (and some do not).

The unique bosses relinquish powers upon their deaths, though such a design would not impress players that already have experienced games where the protagonist gains powers from defeated foes.

These close combat moves are of limited utility too. Some of them deal tremendous damage to enemies, but at the risk of killing them outright before the player can exploit them for health or Rage replenishment. Others are useful for getting out of situations which the player should not be getting into the first place.


The levels in BloodRayne 2 are mainly several areas linked together in a linear fashion. The areas are expansive enough to support fluid combat, as well as some obstacles that have to be circumvented with some jumping and swinging around, which are sometimes the only way to have Rayne advance to the next area.

However, the player should not expect the acrobatic activities in BloodRayne 2 to be of the calibre of those seen in games such as those in the Prince of Persia franchise. Most of these involve swinging off poles and grinding rails, as have been mentioned earlier, but there is little if anything else that is remarkably refreshing.

Moreover, there is some cheesy utilization of the Aura vision: some poles and other level features are invisible and can only be perceived using Aura vision.

If there is anything entertaining with these acrobatic sequences, it is Rayne's set of animations for these moments, which will be described later.

Some areas require the tossing of enemies into environmental hazards in order to progress. For these moments, enemies are sometimes respawned into the immediate area through entrances that have been conveniently incorporated into the level for this purpose.

Some of these scenarios can cause disbelief though, such as a puzzle that requires tossing enemies into a powerbox in order to divert power to a gate, which is perhaps one of the most ludicrous ways to open a gate as had been seen in video games. There also happen to be a lot of these kinds of obstacles in the game, eventually making them seem rather rote.

Then, there are the usual obstacles that require interaction with buttons, levers or some other object to raise an obstacle. At least such actions are kept a bit amusing by the fact that Rayne often just thrashes switch objects instead of interacting with them in a non-violent manner.

There are moments in the game where some of the environmental features work in the game's favour though. For example, there are spiralling stairways with rails that Rayne can grind down along, killing enemies along the way in quite the bloodily merry fashion.

The previous game did not play on the more popularly known (fictional) vulnerabilities of vampires, namely the consequences of exposure to sunlight. As BloodRayne 2 has the advantage of somewhat better graphics technology, Terminal Reality did not miss on the chance to implement this. However, the result is not remarkable; sun-lit areas are merely areas that have been programmed to inflict damage on Rayne and other vampiric creatures as soon as they step in them. (It is worth noting here though that Rayne conveniently takes less damage than her enemies from exposure to sunlight.)

A more convincing improvement in the designs of hazards that are dangerous to vampires over the previous game can be seen in the implementation of water. In the previous game, water is implemented as little more than areas that continuously inflict damage on characters that are immersed in them. In BloodRayne 2, water sprays and splashes out of containers that are either leaking or completely broken. However, technically, this is just a toggling of scripts that make previously innocuous areas suddenly hazardous; there is no advanced water-flowing physics to be had.

Being a console port, BloodRayne 2 for the computer platform has restrictive game-saving features; it makes use of invisible checkpoints that are located throughout the levels, so the player cannot just save anywhere. Making a manual save only saves the player's progress to the most recent checkpoint.


Many of the characters in BloodRayne 2 would be forgettable if not for their visual designs. This is because their personality designs are unremarkable or ham-fisted.

Rayne is still tart-mouthed as ever, spitting off insults and curses as she fights enemies; she is not any different in the game's cutscenes. However, to cut her some slack, the passage of the decades has brought her some wisdom and lengthened her short temper a bit, so she does appear somewhat reasonable in scenarios where she ponders on what to do next.

Unfortunately, Rayne is probably the only character with worthwhile designs, because those for everyone else are forgettable or are even more difficult to appreciate. For example, there is a half-sister of Rayne that is even more boisterous than her, and happens to have very simple model designs, e.g. she appears almost completely nude, with sensitive regions obscured by cloying blue-black decals. There are other characters that would seem clichéd to experienced followers of fiction.

The player should not expect anything better than B-grade characters in movies (to use a convenient comparison) from BloodRayne 2.


The graphics in the game are one of few aspects in the game that is worthwhile, as it appears to have the lion's share of the developers' effort.

The characters in the game have models that are quite detailed, with Rayne having the most sophisticated models of course. The leather- and corset-bound model that was seen in the previous game returns, having been updated with a greater number of polygons and gleaming textures. She also has a couple other models that can be unlocked via progress through the story, one of which is appealingly racy yet classy.

Discounting Rayne, there is a wide range of models for humanoid characters, though the differences are mainly in the form of different clothes; their body builds are practically the same for either gender. Generally, the males are often clad in dapper clothes or severe, spike-ridden garbs, whereas the females are almost always sultrily dressed, typically enough for a game in this franchise.

Most humanoid enemies have the same animations, with one set for either gender. The later enemies have more animations to accommodate their wider range of moves, but otherwise basic animations such as running are shared across their models.

The animations for when they are being fed on by Rayne are practically common to each and every regular humanoid enemy. In fact, these appear to have been recycled from the previous game, which suggests laziness on the part of the developers.

Then there are the monstrous creatures, though these are perhaps of archetypes that have been seen in action games with outrageous settings before. There are giant bugs, werewolves and demons, among the usual menagerie. They provide visual variety to the enemies, but they are not likely to be considered remarkable by many players.

Most of the models for weapons in the game are used by enemies, though these would not be missed by the player; there are mostly models for mundane weapons, though some of them are more exotic, such as punch daggers and claws. Nevertheless, they are nowhere near as exquisite as the models for Rayne's weapons.

The Carpathian Dragons are perhaps some of the most peculiar-looking weapons seen in video games thus far. They appear to be wickedly shaped giant syringes with baroque stocks and handles, as well as transparent tubes that show how much blood that is left within them, though the blood does not appear satisfactorily fluid, looking more like runny jelly than viscous fluids.

Not to forgo the chance for including more suggestive aesthetics in the game, Terminal Reality has implemented sultry animations for Rayne's acrobatic activities. For example, she swings around and changes positions on poles in elegantly lurid manners.

While some of these animations are impressive to look at, they can take a while to perform, which can be aggravating if the player only wants to progress through a jumping and swinging puzzle as quickly as possible.

If the player wants to waste some time staring at the screen, then Rayne has some idle animations that may be amusing to watch, though these typically contribute to her sultriness.

Like the previous game, all models have segmentations along their models that allow for some gory partitions when they are slain via major lacerations. The better graphics technology in BloodRayne 2 also allow for more details in the exposed wounds, such as spines sticking slightly out of torsos. However, these would not seem any more impressive than the gore that has been seen in other graphically violent games.


Most of the textures in the game are surprisingly glossy or gleaming, especially in the first few levels where there are a lot of surfaces that are supposedly marble or of some other lustrous ceramic. They can seem dazzling for a while, though they would soon be an eye-sore for players that are looking for other forms of aesthetics.

Blood is typically a common sight in this game. There are geysers and mists of blood coming out of characters that have been killed in painful manners, a sight that the game's camera will highlight, as mentioned earlier. Blood also pools about corpses, applying generously large decals on the ground where they lie. The decals may seem odd sometimes, such as blood splotches overlapping each other, but generally, at the time of this game, these were some of the most detailed blood splotches to be seen in video games.

However, as prodigiously bloody as the game is, the blood does not appear as decals on character models, even on the highest settings. This is a glaring limitation, because other games that feature gore, such as The Suffering, have already done that to visually impressive levels.

Some of the textures in this game do look convincingly better than the rest. These are the patterns and motifs on the dresses of female characters, which help make them look sultrier and less bland.


In the sequel, Rayne still utters moans and slurps as she drinks the blood of enemies; this was perhaps appealing in the previous game, but the appeal may have diminished a bit by the second one. Nevertheless, they still sound amusingly suggestive.

The other characters do not benefit from voice talents that are as enthusiastic however, unless they happen to be voiced by the same voice-actress for Rayne. Moreover, compared to the female voice-overs, the male voice-overs are a lot less appealing. In fact, many of them are of the snivelling and jeering sort, which can be grating.

The worst voice-overs are those for the bosses though, especially the aforementioned near-naked boss. Their voice-overs consist of a lot of hissing, snarling and growling, as if Terminal Reality is trying to emphasize their beastliness. When they do sound legible, their lines mostly consist of taunts directed at each other (there is no love lost among them), if they are not already hurling abuse at Rayne.

As for allies, most of the time they would be whining at Rayne's unpredictability, making pokes at her belligerence or remarking about how dastardly their enemies are, to which Rayne often replies with a nonchalant or boisterous response.


The music, composed by (not-well-renowned) Kyle Richards, is more aurally appealing than the voice-overs, though not by much. They are not a pain to the ears, but are not remarkable enough so as to be memorable to the point of being easy to remember down the years.

Most soundtracks in the game are typically ominous and/or exciting, as befitting the dangers that the player would face. There is a lot of electronic and percussion, which may be appealing to those who like the fast pace of such artificially-made music.

Moreover, there appears to be less metal and rock than that in the first game, which was very typical for games with a focus on violence at the time, so this might have been a relief for some.

Some of the sound effects are recycled from the previous game, though this is understandable as most of these are for the sounds that are made when blades meet flesh, or other gory occurrences. They are satisfactorily fitting, especially to players with a sadistic streak.

However, the newer sound effects would not seem so different from those that are in other action games with a predilection towards metal screeching, booming explosions and crumbling buildings, so the player should not expecting anything refreshing.


BloodRayne 2 is noticeably more sophisticated than its predecessor, as well as more aesthetically impressive. However, there is little about it other than its sultry and lethal protagonist that is remarkable enough to make it stand out among the action games of its time.