Note: This review was originally posted on March 18, 2003
ESRB Rating: (M)ature
This review is rated ‘I’ for Immature. If you are easily offended, then do not read any further.
A friend of mine – who shall remain nameless for soon to be obvious reasons – will never read a review of a game until after he/she has finished said game and written their own review for publication. Claims that reading another review beforehand would prejudice his/her opinion. I’m of the opinion that if you are that easily influenced, then you shouldn’t be doing analytical writing.
Well, I’m embarrassed to admit that I did my homework on BloodRayne and was suckered in by the rave reviews: A fast and furious action/adventure that oozes style – GamePro Magazine; Packs an amazing amount of depth, challenge and excitement – Gamerankings.com; A – Entertainment Weekly. Nearly every review – all written by males – went to great lengths to comment on the main character’s ample bosoms and voluptuous movements.
BloodRayne is the unoriginal story of a half-human/half-vampire female who has been bred to eliminate global threats. Since the story is conveniently set around the beginning of World War II the enemies are Nazis who are using an ancient artifact (stolen earlier from BloodRayne) to create an army of horrific creatures. Hey Nazis, bet you would never guess them to be the opponent in a game. In fact, a recent national survey of 1,000 high school students asked, ‘What is the historical significance of the Nazis” and 93% responded, “Their wood be know video games without the Nazis.” So you see, our younger generation can learn from playing video games (Yes, I know I stole this line from my recent Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb review, but it was too good to not use again). But my favorite part of this uninspired plot is that the artifact is actually a relic from – get this – the lost city of Atlantis! Ha! And you thought Dreamcatcher owned the copyright on all things Atlantis.
Let me tell you, BloodRayne exemplifies and is representative of everything that is wrong with this industry. But before we get to the bad stuff, let’s be fair and mention what is good about BloodRayne:
~There are some sparks of ingenuity including Aura Sense, a vampire enhanced vision that allows BloodRayne to sense the aura of her enemies.
~The controls are responsive and intuitive.
~The graphics and animations are smooth and atmospheric.
Surprisingly, Terminal Reality is a very talented group of developers who can create a gothic or supernatural atmosphere better than anyone in the industry. Their previous efforts include one of my all-time favorite games, Nocturne (starring The Stranger) and Blair Witch 1, a game that could also been a classic had it not relied so much on mazes.
Are there any puzzles in BloodRayne? Sure, there is a total of three puzzles and for all you hardcore action fans who bitch about the simplest puzzle slowing down a game, well take note, all three puzzles in BloodRayne are exactly the same: find a battery to activate an elevator. For those who have become terminally stupid from absorbing too many first person shooters that have weapons and ammo scattered everywhere, the missing battery is always in the closest room to the elevator. No coffee breaks for intelligence in this game. In fact, here is the entire game in a nutshell: kill lots of zombies in Louisiana swamp – watch video; kill lots of Nazis – watch video; kill more Nazis – watch video; kill big mutated thing – watch video.
Of course, if there is any one thing any vampire worth her stake needs, it’s an arsenal of weapons and BloodRayne has thirty-one from which to choose. As if that weren’t enough, the weapons – handguns, rifles, machine guns, etc. - are broken into categories such as light or heavy so that our heroine can only carry a specific number of weapons at any given time. Seriously now, who gives a shit about such stupidity? Back in the day, a true gaming geek was someone who could quote the solution to the babel fish puzzle from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but today’s geeks are identified by their ability to discern the differences between 31 different styles of guns, the type of ammo in the magazine and its effectiveness in different situations. What’s wrong with this picture?
BloodRayne is still an impressionable young bloodsucker so it’s only natural she have a mentor – Mynce. Now before Mynce is killed early in the game (ha, spoiled it for you!), she is often featured in close-ups offering worldly advice on how best to suck her enemies bone dry. But these close-ups also reveal that Mynce suffers from a terrible affliction common to most video game females – juggsashakin. For you see, every time Mynce utters even a single word, her boobs begin to vehemently bounce as though they’re beating a tune on a tom-tom. Now I’ve spoken to a few women in my lifetime – even seen a few naked ones unlike most of today’s game developers - but I’ve yet to find any whose boobs go spastic just from the simple act of speaking. Maybe these game developers have discovered a new breed of woman?
So I decided to conduct the following experiment by summoning my wife into the room:
“Could you just stand still and speak to me?”
“ That’s it, now say something else.”
“ Look, I’m really busy. Is this important?”
Alas, my experiment was a failure, she had spoken twice and there was absolutely no evidence of juggsashakin. Maybe I needed to be bold and carry my scientific research to a new plateau:
“Could you take your clothes off and recite Mary Had A Little Lamb while doing a jumping jack?
“ Here, I’ll help you.”
“ Get away from me you asshole”
Eureka, my experiment was successful for as I ducked her oncoming blow it was juggsashakin heaven as those bountiful beauties heaved mightily at my head.
Our final scientific conclusion: big boobs do not a game make, but big boobs did make this game.
Now, it is important to note that the ESRB has rated BloodRayne ‘M’ for mature. According to the ESRB the definition of a Mature game is Content may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. May contain mature sexual themes or more intense violence or language. So I started to wonder, why is this game rated M? Other games have featured vampires and only been awarded a Teen rating. Could it be because of all of the guns and violence in the game? Nah, guns and violence in a video game are as accepted as a G-rating for a Disney movie.
No instead it is because the violence and language are carried to a nauseating low. If greedily sucking blood and decapitations are not enough to satiate your appetite, then BloodRayne offers Dilated Perception, an event similar to Max Payne’s Bullet Time. Time comes to a crawl as amputated limbs spurting blood spin across the screen. Not violent enough for you? Then transform BloodRayne into her Blood Rage mode and stand back as the screen tints red and dismemberments come quicker and more ferocious.
As for the language, hey I played The Longest Journey twice, I don’t have virgin ears. But there is a difference between colorful language being a natural part of your vocabulary and swearing just for the sake of swearing. Bloodrayne’s vocabulary occasionally explodes with the word ‘fuck’. Do developers expect us to believe that uttering fuck is a sign of maturity? And we know that since this game is rated Mature that not one person under the age of 17 purchased or rented it. So what point is it that the industry is trying to convey? That young adults consider juggsashakin, heightened violence and obscenity a sign of maturity? Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Hey, look at me, ain’t I mature? Fuck, fuck, fuck. Isn’t this the most Mature review you have ever read?
What grates me the most though is not the immaturity of the developers because, after all, they’re just trying to make a buck by appealing to the lowest common denominator. No, the bigger whores are the professional reviewers who are more than willing to overlook the gratuitous violence and rampant sexism that is prevalent in too many of today’s games as long as they have an enjoyable gaming experience and don’t have to struggle with the controls. But by doing so, they continue to perpetuate the stereotype that most gamers are drooling, addle-brained teenagers content to luxuriate in a sea of sex and violence.
Final Grade: D
System Requirements (Recommended):
512 MB RAM
GeForce4 TI 4600 Video Card
Sound Blaster Audigy
2GB HD Space
200MB Virtual Memory