[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”WayForward Technologies” publishers=”Majesco” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”September 7, 2011″]
BloodRayne is an interesting franchise. With two previous retail game titles, a comic book series, a Playboy pictorial, and a trilogy of Uwe Boll movies, BloodRayne has surely seen its ups and its downs. With the last game being released in 2004, Majesco decided to give the job of series revival to Wayforward; best known for it’s DS & Wii titles Contra 4, Shantae, and The Boy and His Blob. Does BloodRayne Betrayal succumb to the baggage of the series or give it a fresh start?
Betrayal is a 2D side scrolling bowl of old school goodness. It is light on plot, much like the titles of yesteryear, so knowledge of past titles is not needed to enjoy this one. The premise is simple, Rayne is a half-human half-vampire mercenary working for the Brimstone Society who needs her to assault a castle. The vampire lord of the castle just happens to be her father. This is reminiscent of the single paragraph plot lines for the 8 bit era games. It gives the player just enough reason to slaughter the masses.
BloodRayne forgoes its more serious 3D roots, instead opting for a heavily stylized hand drawn cartoon look. The graphics style change brings the game more in line with recent XBLA outings such as Shank and Outland. The change also helps gamers to forget the fiasco of Rayne’s 3D rendered model appearing naked in a video games pictorial in Playboy. Cute manga styled characters and beautifully morbid backdrops mixed with an endless amount of blood and gore give Betrayal a very satisfying aesthetic not quite unlike Castlevania.
Combining platforming from hell with blood spraying hack and slash combat, Betrayal blurs the line between NES era and modern day gameplay. BloodRayne’s melee attacks consist of pressing the X button and the direction of the left analog stick being the modifier on what move is performed. BloodRayne can also dash, jump, suck blood, bite/infect enemies, trigger infected enemies to blow up, and shoot guns. During later stages, she also gains the ability to turn into a raven that has a shriek like attack. These moves combined with the slashing allow an agile and deadly vampiress to overcome the odds from the gauntlets of enemies she must face. Combat sections tend to be split up with platforming that requires many of the same moves used in combat.
Platforming is also where the true difficulty in the game comes from. There will be detractors out there that say the games difficulty is due to poor design or less than precise controls. It is obvious that the developers wanted to harken back to NES era difficulty where one wrong move equaled death. Speaking of death, be ready to experience it… a lot. You have to master Rayne’s skills to even beat the game. To get the highest rankings on each level would require the player to be a sadist.
The achievements are typical fair for an XBLA game. Do this so many times, kill this many enemies this way at one time, beat the game, find all collectibles, and a couple others fill out the list. The hardest achievement is to get S rank on all levels for 50 points leaving 150 points moderately difficult to attain and the last 50 being a pipe dream for many.
BloodRayne: Betrayal is a game that will make the player curse and it is definitely not for those that do not enjoy a challenge. It is still a beautifully drawn game and successfully resuscitates a dead franchise and puts it back on the prowl.