You know what? I know. I get it. I understand that I am not supposed to love BloodRayne, for any reason. It is, by and large, a very unpolished and rough game. Its premise is ludicrous. Its main characters would be parodies of oversexualized female protagonists if there was any sense of humor evidenced, but there isn’t. By all accounts, BloodRayne is a bad game. However, when it comes to guilty pleasures, I find few titles as pleasurable as this. Or as capable of making me feel guilty.
For those not in the know, BloodRayne is a hack n’ slash action game from last generation, starring a dhampir by the name of Rayne. She works for a shadowy organization and wages war on the occult, which naturally causes her to cross paths with the Nazis. Those wacky national socialists just love messing about with Hell, and a number of third reich bigwigs are up to nefarious shenanigans in Argentina. Rayne is sent in to slice, shoot and suck her way through Germany’s finest, putting a stop to the demonic chicanery in the process.
The combat in BloodRayne is about as rough as you can get. Totally lacking in any sort of grace, the general aim is to run around an enemy in a vague circle, hammering the attack button until the opponent stops screaming. The mindless action is usually accompanied by plenty of limbs flying off, as arms, legs and heads are separated from uniformed Aryan torsos. Rayne can also pick up a variety of machines guns and rocket launchers, although their ammo is limited and Rayne seems fond of discarding weapons as soon as they run dry. Since the game is so chaotic, it is a tad more difficult than it might have otherwise been. Aside from a weak dodge move and some bullet-time opportunities, Rayne doesn’t have much in the way of defense, and her health tends to drop quite swiftly in a room full of gun-toting soldiers. Of course, she has one important trick up her sleeve, a trick that also served as the main reason why so many teenagers even bothered checking the game out.
With a simple button press, Rayne can latch onto an enemy and suck his blood. On a standing opponent, she’ll jump onto him, wrap her legs round his waist, and slurp at his neck while making a variety of erotic noises. It’s hard to achieve and maintain an erect phallus while the sexual imagery is also accompanied by a German screaming for his life and begging for mercy, but if one game did an impressive job of trying to get it done, BloodRayne deserves the honor. This, coupled with the ludicrously revealing leather suit and tendency for breasts to jiggle like crazy every time a character speaks, might lead one to believe that BloodRayne is just a tad shameless. One would be right to believe that.
Really though, BloodRayne is full of such camp charm that I can’t help liking it. It’s utterly, utterly, dedicated to gore and gratuity, and I have to at least slightly respect a game so committed to a single, brainless vision. Released these days, such a game would rightly be torn to shreds by any critic, but I can’t help having a soft spot for it. All except for that mech level, of course, where Rayne is introduced to a giant robot that simply makes her a larger target and tends to explode in seconds. It is a miracle I managed to get through that level without burning my house to the ground and dying in the flames. Still, that blip aside, I did have fun with it at the time, and I still play it on GOG today.
Available for $5.99, you could get worse than this trashy piece of nonsense. It’s like a successful B-movie videogame — a rare feat to pull off in a genre that demands much more interaction and dedication than a film. It’s sloppy, it’s exploitative, and it’s undeniably stupid, but if you can embrace that, switch off your brain, and maybe fire up a few cheats (but not the terrifying extra-jiggle one), it’s a solid waste of time.
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