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BloodRayne: Betrayal

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Majesco Games
Developer: WayForward
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action


Graphics & Sound:

BloodRayne: Betrayal takes the classic series in an interesting new direction, and while Betrayal steers away from the 3D third-person gameplay of its predecessors, what it has to offer is still a lot of fun.

The side-scrolling hack-n-slash gameplay is accompanied by crisply animated sprites and stark contrasting colors. The game even drops into silhouettes on occasion in order to make that contrasting style even more pronounced . Betrayal's anime-makeover of the classic genre might take long-time fans a bit to get used to, but it really does fit. Rayne herself looks good as she slashes her way through waves of grotesque creatures of many shapes and sizes and in the process, gallons of blood will fly across the screen in a Kill Bill: Volume 1 manner.

The game's music also does a solid job of getting you into the hack-n-slash mood, but I found that the music was ultimately forgettable after the game was turned off. As for the sound effects, the various noises the creatures make, combined with Rayne's sword slashes and gun retorts, all help to add to the overall atmosphere of the game.


Gameplay:

BloodRayne: Betrayal feels like a classic Castlevania game as far as side-scrolling, room-crawling action is concerned, but with Rayne as your fighter instead of a Belmont. While you won't be wielding a whip, you will have Rayne's swords, gun and of course, her vampiric feeding ability.

Of course, sucking enemies dry isn't Rayne's only special ability. She can also attack enemies and cause them to explode and cause splash damage to the other creatures on the screen, but really, her blades are her biggest weapons. While Rayne can use her guns, and they are necessary at times, getting into the thick of the enemies and cutting them down is what hack-n-slash gameplay is all about.

BloodRayne: Betrayal offers an unsuspected amount of replayability. This mostly comes in the form of the collectibles you will grab throughout the levels that allow you to upgrade either Rayne's meter or her ammunition, and considering how hard the game is, these are collectibles you will want to track down, even if you've survived to the end of a level.

So how does Betrayal fit into the rest of the BloodRayne games? Simply put, it doesn't. It doesn't try and carry on any of the existing story elements, and its own story is pretty isolated and complete. That being said, this means that gamers who haven't played the past titles won't have to learn a whole lot of back story. They just have to know that they are a half-vampire who hunts and kills other vampires. If you are a fan of the series, the fact that this is a one-off story shouldn't be too bothersome since Rayne has lived quite a long life and has surely had many undocumented adventures along the way.


Difficulty:

BloodRayne: Betrayal is hard, hard as hell. Not only does the game have an old-school feel to it as far as gameplay is concerned, but also in difficulty. Let's just say, there is a reason why one of Rayne's abilities allows her to suck enemies dry and regain health. It is very much needed.

The game spans 15 levels and each level swarms you with increasingly tougher enemies. You will find yourself dying and retrying sections over and over again as you progress through the game, and if this kind of challenge isn't appealing to you, then you will want to steer clear of BloodRayne: Betrayal.


Game Mechanics:

BloodRayne: Betrayal presents you with a core set of certain moves and quickly throws you into the thick of things, expecting you to not only get a handle on your abilities, but master them if you hope to survive. You will learn quickly that Rayne's blades are her primary weapon, and given the limited amount of ammo you have for your guns, how you should only use them if you have annoying enemies that are too far away to take out face-to-face. Couple this with her more supernatural abilities, and you have a lean-mean-sexy-fighting machine that will allow you to chain together quite a wide variety of combos.

As a result, it isn't a surprise that the game doesn't offer any kind of co-op or versus multiplayer feature and instead opts for leaderboards to keep you and your friends trying to top each other in not only level-completion speed, but also the number of enemies you take down along the way. This, combined with the collectibles, really adds to the overall replayability of the game, and the sheer fun of it all makes it so that you want to go back in and try for better scores.

Betrayal sticks to its hack-n-slash core mechanic, so that it can be a game that is not only easy to pick up, but a challenge that will require a good bit of time to both master and complete. Simply put, if you like the old-school, hard-as-hell style of gameplay, then BloodRayne: Betrayal is a good investment, but if the idea of a challenge like this turns you off, then spend your MS Points elsewhere.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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