By Raymond Johnson (www.raysnet.com).
- BloodRayne - BloodRayne 2 -
I Just Downloaded BloodRayne 2.
I played this game many years ago on the original Xbox. It's one of those rare games that will also work on the Xbox 360 so long as you download the patch from Xbox Live. The controls end up being a little different but it's still fully playable. I just thought I'd mention that so you know I've already played this game before, and already love it, but this particular playthrough is about the PC version which at the time of writing I have yet to fully play.
I downloaded it from GOG.com but it's also available on Steam and other sites. It cost $9.99 which I paid via PayPal. It will work on Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10. It's fantastic value for money and comes with the game manual, two wallpapers in different sizes, the full soundtrack, avatar pics, artworks and screensavers.
I've had a quick go and the only annoyance I found was that the screen resolution options don't fully match my monitor so it doesn't fully fill the screen. I'm having to play it at 1024x768 resolution because my laptop monitor while higher in resolution in width isn't higher in height. The other in-game graphic settings work at full high detail with no problem.
There are a lot of shiny surfaces and reflections that really show off the graphics at the start of the game. The polished floor being the most noticeable. It's also possible to rotate the camera fully around Rayne so you can see her face, which in a lot of cases wasn't possible in the first game as she would often turn with the camera.
I'll add more details as I get to them but with this being such a good game I'm sure I'll finish it pretty soon. I won't show the topless wallpaper pic that's shown on so many other websites and blogs, I'll post this one instead because it's not often seen.
One thing that constantly surprises me about this game is the quality of its graphics. For a fairly old game it certainly doesn't show its age. I've been playing this in a laptop and have no problem playing the game with full bump mapping selected.
There are shiny reflective smooth surfaces, blood splatter droplets, blood footprints, bullet holes in walls and fine textures, and Rayne herself is detailed with reflections and bumps on her outfit. There are other unlockable outfits too, some of which are amazingly detailed, but more about those in a later.
For a game I've played so often in the past I'm surprised that I actually forgot what to do in order to enter Club Strages. It's simply a case of harpooning the sign letting it crash to the floor taking the blocked entrance with it, but I spent a number of minutes harpooning bad guys impaling them against spikes instead in the hope something would happen.
There's also the dance floor section where Rayne has to throw a bad guy into each of the four speakers causing an electrical surge to injure a Kestrel Dhampir and therefore lower a force field. I somehow expected the PC version to be somewhat forgiving and not requiring all four to be impaled together but I was wrong. This is particularly difficult due to the awkward PC controls requiring so many combinations of key presses. CTRL+E+W to harpoon someone forward for instance. I found the best way to achieve this was to stand in the middle of the dance floor making sure to activate Blood Rage.
There's a complicated section clambering around the moving gears of a clock tower but I remembered what to do from playing the Xbox version years ago so had no difficulty. I think it's more of a case of knowing what to do rather than having difficulty achieving it. The following fight sequence is lots of fun as the building, gears and masonry, fall around Rayne and Ephemera.
Carpathian Dragons are essentially blood guns that Rayne can use to shoot her enemies, however they drain blood directly from her own body to form their blood projectiles so Rayne has to replenish and feed fairly often. There's something gruesome about the thought of such weapons but other than discomfort from their first use Rayne is pleased at having gotten her hands on them. She stole them from Kagen and they're one of a kind weapons so he's eager to get them back.
During the trailer for this game there's a scene where Rayne rail slides down a banister then shoots a bad guy without even turning her head. This isn't just an effect for the sake of the trailer it is actually possible to do that within the game. I was climbing a series of flag poles and drainpipes when another of Kagan's female vampire thugs started to attack using throwing stars. I simply shot her without even turning my gaze. Rayne is cool.
Characters With Weapons.
I keep getting caught out and forgetting that some characters have a weapon. Vampires don't have guns, it's not really their way, but they often will use whatever comes to hand such as a big stick. If Rayne tries to use her blades or teeth her enemy will block her every move and hit her hard, plunging her to the ground which is then often followed by another hit.
Someone was using small throwing blades which I tried to avoid only to bump onto a man and woman both holding sticks. I cowardly ran away only for the woman to catch me once more. A simple kick is all that's needed to make them drop their weapon but alas it has to be timed well and someone was still throwing blades in my direction.
It appears I was wrong about vampires and some of them do use pistols. It's not very vampiric to use such a weapon but they're not the honourable kind of vampire so I suppose it makes sense. Luckily Rayne has her Carpathian Dragons blood guns handy as well as her blades and her bite.
Incidentally it's sometimes good to wait around to hear the witty comments vampires make before they make their attack. This time she said "You look even better from behind" before shooting Rayne. It wasn't long however before she became Rayne's next meal.
Climbing Pole & Drainpipes.
Climbing on drainpipes and flagpoles are pretty straightforward in this game. It's simply a matter of jumping onto it and Rayne will automatically grab or stand. She can also swing from one to the other with no problem and this is a feature that the game does well. Her tall heels cause no problems for Rayne and in some cases she can even use them to rail slide down sloping pipes.
The only problem is trying to dismount as there is a little inconsistency with the direction she jumps. Sometimes she will jump backwards when trying to jump forwards. The usual way is for her to move in the direction she is facing when you press jump, but in some cases she will jump the opposite way. So far I've never had her jump to her death, it's usually just a little annoyance of having to climb back up again.
This wasn't really an issue with the first game and never came up but it's clear that even though Rayne is dhampir she's certainly no daywalker. Her skin will literally burn within daylight causing steam to waft from her body while she screams in pain. She can recover by feeding but must remain in the shade at all times during daylight hours.
Other vampires and dhampirs are also effected with the same affliction unfortunately a lot of their thugs are human and won't think twice about attacking Rayne while she's writhing in agony exposed to the midday sun.
That was an intensive battle and right at the beginning of the level too. Luckily Rayne was able to use the harpoon and flick some of the bad guys into the electrical equipment and electrocute them. Then there was one of those huge monsters carrying a large hammer but this time there was no scaffold to hide out of its way. It ended up being a full on fight and run frenzy.
Rayne has ended up low on energy levels and could do with a few quarts. Her guns could do with a top up too. She's not the kind of vamp who would lick blood from the dirty floor however, that would be nasty and unhygienic, she likes her blood fresh from the neck.
This game can become very bloody at times, yet I'm still playing within its default settings and without cheats. Rayne can do some really nasty attacks once you've unlocked all her abilities including splitting people in two.
On this particular section of the game Rayne has to grab her enemies using the harpoon then flick them into the rhino horns to impale them. It takes some practise to aim which is made all the more difficult due to needing to press two keys, CTRL+E, just to activate the harpoon then having to press the direction. Luckily on the PC it's not essential to succeed so long as you do it for a set amount of time then other bad guys will open a locked door and make their attack, whereas on the Xbox version, as far as I can remember, it was essential to impale four enemies on each horn at the same time before Rayne can progress.
Flirting With Death.
The erotic aspect if this game is far more noticeable than with the first. There are female vampires who actively flirt with Rayne even while trying to kill her. "You are to die for," one of them said before attacking me, then during her death throes after I bit her said "Oh yea do that again." None of the male vampires so far have reacted that way to Rayne.
Rayne has come across a bathroom within the mansion and has decided to take a break. After smashing all the toilets to pieces using her blades she bathes in blood. It's refreshing and restores her energy levels. She also makes a smart-aleck quip about how the rich spend their tax break dollars.
In fact there are a lot of areas like these throughout the game. Some are hidden and require her aurora vision to find them. If you don't restore your energy levels you won't last very long in this game.
Oh, well this is a bit of a disappointment but the PC version of BloodRayne 2 doesn't contain the cutscene sequence at the beginning of the game that shows clips of what's going to take place. In many ways this could be seen as a good thing as it reveals a lot of spoilers but without it there's a feeling that something's amiss.
On the Xbox version if you don't select an option on the start menu then after a short time the cutscene event will take place, but on the PC version it simply shows the game logos again and jumps straight back to the main menu.
The cutscene shows Rayne in various outfits fighting bad guys in various gory ways as well as revealing a lot of the other characters. It's basically a taster of what's to come. The pictures below come from the Xbox version, sorry about the picture quality, I had to photo the TV.
Sometimes it's good to rotate the camera towards Rayne's face and simply leave the controls alone and watch her gaze. She'll look from side to side, up and down, give a small sneer as though she's aware that you're watching her, then repeat the process. Her eyes are very unusual, bright yellow, which I never expected them to be. Looking back they were also yellow in the first BloodRayne game, but somehow everything appears more pronounced in this sequel.
Every so often she'll talk to herself in the form of a smart-aleck quip. She'll make jokes about Transylvania among various other things, but sometimes she'll make a serious comment depending on the level you're playing. Watching her lips move as she speaks is a good way to see her fangs close up, and the thought of those tearing into flesh is frightening.
This game is far more than the original and incredibly enjoyable to play, albeit with fiddly controls on the PC. It's not just the gameplay itself that makes it fun, or particularly the story, but rather the variety of characters and the interaction between them. I focused upon Rayne herself throughout this playthrough but there are two other characters in particular that I should give a mention to. Ephemera, with her eyelids propped open revealing her smoke filled eye sockets, and Ferril who is permanently naked with just her constantly moving tattoos covering her pale body. Their interaction, the way they bicker, swear and downright despise one another, gives this game so much appeal. There's a lot of build up to the final showdown.