Vampire Rain Review
Vampire Rain box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Artoon 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: July 3, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
It may not turn you into a vampire, but you might feel dead
by Matthew Walker

Whether it is about an immortal angelic bloodsucker or a raving madman that can never escape his thirst for blood, everyone loves a good vampire story. In fact, the numbers of novels, short stories, comic books, movies, and video games that center on these creatures of the night seem to surmount every other genre in creation. If you have never been a fan of the undead fang bearers, you cannot deny that you at least have had a basic brushing of "night breeders."

Vampire Rain screenshot

More than likely, you have experienced the films with the vampires as the leads and, unfortunately, have been subjected to a level of acting that is only permitable on an episode of Mystery Science Theatre. The reason I bring this up is that Vampire Rain is treated and delivered like a horrible movie that should have never been made.

This is an unfortunate instance unless you are a huge fans of things that cost you sixty bucks to make fun of them. When it is a film, you watch it looking for the hilarity that you know is going to happen. With a novel, you can just put the book down and never pick it up again. However, a game is more of a marriage commitment for gamers. You buy it, and then you are locked into the deal for the rest of the game's playability life or you take the huge loss in trading the game back in. It is a commitment that gamers have become increasingly avoidant of. The concept of the game is sound; you play as a character by the name of Lloyd, a member of a special tactical team that takes out the undead. Lloyd is also the only member of his team that has had the misfortune of running into the Nightwalkers previously. The team's mission is to take out the vampires. Like I said, a pretty solid plot.

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The problems really start when the game begins. At the core, Vampire Rain is a sneaky stealth game, which is a great concept. Even Lloyd himself looks like a blend between genre icons Solid Snake and Sam Fischer. This could have been forgivable, considering that you can't really have a stealth game without borrowing here and there from the greats of the genre, but Artoon didn't really try to hide the fact they were trying to create the next mega star of the genre. Lloyd wears a tactical suit reminiscent of Snake's from Metal Gear Solid and goggles that could be Fischer's, except Lloyd's goggles are Necrovision goggles. They are an interesting concept that allows you to scan the NPCs running around in the levels. Why are you scanning them? To see if they are the undead of course. In fact, this is the only way you can tell if you are in the presence of a bloodsucker or not. What is the problem with that, you might I ask. I would like to say nothing and that this is a great addition that separates Vampire Rain from all of the other games in the genre, but I can't. It becomes too troublesome to quickly get an accurate reading the first time you scan an NPC. Therefore, you have to move in closer to the characters and if they are the undead, you will regret getting that close.

Vampire Rain screenshot

This brings me to another point about the game. Before I say this, I need to stress that I love a game that has a challenge. Unfortunately, Vampire Rain doesn't have a challenge when it comes to the Nightwalkers; it is really quite simple. They see you and in two hits, your life has ended. This wouldn't be a bad thing if you had an opportunity to escape from them after the first hit. Instead, the first hit stuns you until the second hit is delivered. Why not kill them before they get too close? This would be a great tactical method except these guys aren't called the immortal undead for nothing. It is insanely difficult to bring down your enemies, resulting in the two hit kill a lot. Couple the insane amount of bullets they can take with the faulty controls, and it spells disaster every time.

Screenshots / Images
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