The character of Rayne gripped me from the start, so I distinctly recall playing the original BloodRayne with great anticipation. I was a little let down but I continued to give the flame-haired vampire hottie a chance; consequently, I’ve played every title to exist thus far. …and thus far, I’ve yet to be satisfied. Even so, they all held at least some entertainment value, as the stylish combat and copious amounts of blood made for some fun-filled situations. It was always the camera and controls that got in the way so perhaps the best way to deal with that issue – outside of just fixing the recurring flaws – is to get rid of it entirely. Hence, BloodRayne: Betrayal , a downloadable old-school side-scroller.
Developer WayForward has a chance to deliver the first truly solid Rayne adventure, even if they’ll have to do it within the confines of a 2D space. As you might guess, this new project will be a straightforward beat-‘em-up action extravaganza with ceaseless action and yes, a whole lot of blood. Rayne can slash with her sword and shoot with a pistol; the basic control mechanics are simple, as she’ll run, jump and dash. Thing is, the latter ability is her only way of avoiding incoming attacks – she becomes invincible when dashing, for some bizarre reason – as there’s no block maneuver. I’m wondering if constantly dashing about as a form of evasion will affect the pace and feel of this side-scroller… Just something to ponder.
Now, let’s not forget that Rayne is a vampire (or a hybrid vampire, at any rate), so she’ll be able to grab foes and suck their blood for sustenance. Doing so recovers health and after she releases them, they become infected. Here’s where one gameplay twist comes into play: infected victims will explode when you taunt them, so if you can lure them to a part of the screen where a ton of enemies reside, you can really lay waste to the battlefield. Another interesting element of the game is that due to her vampire blood, the moonlight can effectively drain her health. I always thought it was only sunlight that vampires dreaded but apparently, any kind of light is hazardous to Rayne’s health.
At first, we’ll face simple braindead enemies that don’t really pose much of a problem but as time goes on, more challenging foes will rear their ugly heads. This sounds like standard side-scrolling fare, doesn’t it? The media we’ve seen thus far doesn’t quite qualify as “impressive” but the presentation and atmosphere definitely fits, and the special effects are decent. With 15 levels of mayhem, I’m hoping that BloodRayne: Betrayal is the type of stress reliever that is both technically sound and artistically charged. Obviously, length is always a matter for discussion when talking about downloadable titles, but 15 levels sounds promising. Look for this one some time during the fall.