I think IÃ‚'m starting to like boobies.
Or at the very least, pixilated ones.
I just finished playing BloodRayne, a game whose protagonist possesses possessed breasts, with little jiggly minds of their own. Her breasts are mobile without explanation, they inexplicably never come out of the barely-there strips of leather, and clearly, the rest of Rayne was designed around them.
Conceptual Artist: I think that long hair would be cool, in black maybeÃ‚"…
Breasts: We like red!
Lead Designer: Red it is!
In fact, from all the promotional material for this game, you would think that RayneÃ‚'s breasts were the ones that wielded those wicked dual blades, had dilated vampire vision, and were given missions to kill nazis, rather than Rayne herself. And indeed, itÃ‚'s hard to ignore the fact that the designers thought it necessary to give the player a cheat to make RayneÃ‚'s breasts bounce even more than the clearly sufficient amount of jiggle they have already.
And yet, and yetÃ‚"….
I liked this game. In fact, I really liked it. It had everything that I enjoy in games: third person view, melee combat, a female main character, and nazis to slice and dice. WhatÃ‚'s not to like? Perhaps it was the sheer over-the-top nature of the boobage, but I found myself laughing rather than being mildly offended, as the Tomb Raider games have always made me. Gameplay was strong as well, with a minimum of annoying jumping puzzles, switch pressing, and item fetching, and a maximum of ass-kicking (ably aided by RayneÃ‚'s stainless-steel stilettos). ItÃ‚'s pretty linear, but the game style didnÃ‚'t lend itself to deeply involving plots and side encounters anyway. It was all about the charge toward the next goal, shredding everything in your way. To assist in the headlong pace, RayneÃ‚'s next objective showed up as glowing lights which could be seen on her little radar-type thing at the bottom right, as well as through the magic of Aura Vision, one of several special abilities that Rayne gains throughout the game. The glow showed where to go without telling you how to get there Ã‚– helpful without dumbing it down too terribly much although at times a tad frustrating, as I ran around and around large, maze-like complexes, hunting for a way to get at that tantalizing gleam.
BloodRayne starts in the Louisiana swamps Ã‚– basically a series of islands that you must navigate Rayne across in search of a zombie-making monster. Since Rayne is a half-vampire and allergic to water (long enough exposure will kill her), this makes for an interesting choice for a first level. Most of the jumping crap is centered here too, as well as a particularly frustrating bit where you have to find a way into a building that is partially submerged in water, locked at all doors, and has no weak points in the walls. As first levels go, they could have done better.
Get past the water, however, and all is well. From here on in, Rayne wastes no time, saves no civilians, and takes no prisoners. Everything that moves is a target. There are plenty of enemies, as well Ã‚– the best of BloodRayne is in the large-scale battles where you move like a mobile juicer through dozens of nazis, leaving nothing but blood and bits on the ground. They often scream gratifying little lines like, Ã‚"What the hell is she?Ã‚" Ã‚"Kill her! WhatÃ‚'s wrong with you, kill her! Argh!Ã‚" and my favorite, Ã‚"Get her off me! Get her offlgherg!Ã‚" That last one is a special for when Rayne is wrapped lovingly around a nazi, sucking him dry with all the gluttonous enjoyment of a fat man with his straw in a MacDonaldÃ‚'s chocolate milkshake. At the peak of this kind of combat is the Ã‚"bloodrageÃ‚" mode, which becomes available as Rayne fills up her bloodlust meter. When in bloodrage, Rayne is a whirlwind, too fast to hit, and capable of reducing anyone but bosses into giblets within seconds.
Bosses are sometimes pushovers, sometimes difficult, and sometimes ludicrous *cough* the twins *cough* but never aggravatingly impossible. The graphics seem to get better as the game moves along, although the character animations never rise above adequate. The enemiesÃ‚' reactions to her attacks are not tailored to the particular damage sheÃ‚'s doing. For example, a roundhouse kick to the head wonÃ‚'t send the naziÃ‚'s head snapping back Ã‚– there is only a vague flailing, pretty much the same reaction to whatever attack Rayne is unloading on them. This is a minor quibble for me personally, and more than compensated for by the fact that she can kick that naziÃ‚'s head right off his shoulders. It does become more painfully obvious in Ã‚"dilated vision,Ã‚" however, a nifty slow-motion mode that you can toggle on or off at will. While revealing the flaws in the animation, it also give you the ability to dodge bullets, outmaneuver you enemies, and of course, watch as RayneÃ‚'s breasts heave up and down in a weirdly hypnotic fashion. This is a handy tool for fighting particularly tough bosses, assuming you can keep your eyes on the action and not on the, ahem, Ã‚"action.Ã‚" IÃ‚'m not a fan of final boss fights (I often simply quit when I get to them, or cheat my way past to see the final cutscene) but this one was at least interesting. No spoilers here, but it was something I hadnÃ‚'t encountered before.
On the not-so-good end of things is the way in which the PC version doesnÃ‚'t allow you to choose what kind of melee attack you want, and this was at times a pain. Some enemies need dicing, some need a stiletto to the groin, and not being able to tailor your moves was annoying, especially since I used melee almost exclusively. The game is also somewhat short. As per usual these days, ten to fifteen hours will get you through, unless you play the whole thing in dilated vision. The voice acting was pretty mediocre, although I rather liked RayneÃ‚'s deadpan delivery despite several gratuitous, look-how-edgy-we-are uses of the f-word. Some of the nazis were amusingly overdone, spitting and gnashing all over the place. There is also the feel that BloodRayne is not so much a new game as an amalgamation of several others (not that this is anything unusual). Dilated vision is obviously Ã‚"bullet-time,Ã‚" half-vampires on the side of good is nothing new, and cÃ‚'mon, nazis after hidden occult artifacts? On the plus side, there are a several nods to the various movies and games that BloodRayne is obviously inspired by, including a semi-hidden crate that when busted open reveals a certain Ark.
On the whole, BloodRayne was a fun romp, gory and gratuitous and fully aware of it. It will definitely have replay value for me in a few months when IÃ‚'ve forgotten some of it. I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 16, although itÃ‚'s not anything you want your kids playing. Go on out and buy it Ã‚– I want them to make a sequel.