Stalking Nightwalkers in Vampire Rain

By Louise Yang . July 18, 2007 . 6:00pm

vrain1.jpgVampire Rain takes place in a city on the west coast which is unfortunate enough to have a vampire infestation.  These vampires, called Nightwalkers, are five times as fast and five times as deadly as a normal human being.  You play John Lloyd, a member of a task force formed specifically to deal with these Nightwalkers.

 

From the looks of the opening demo, which serves to get your blood pumping, players may think that Vampire Rain is a survival horror.  It's more accurately described as a Splinter Cell game with vampires.  When faced with a choice between heading straight for an enemy and sneaking around the building to avoid him, definitely sneak behind a building.

 

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The story unfolds through missions with a few tutorial missions and trial stages mixed in. Like most stealth games, your character can hug a wall, shimmy along the side of a roof top, climb up water drainage pipes, rappel down a wall and even pair up with an ally to get to otherwise inaccessible areas.  Your character is also equipped with night vision and vampire-vision.  With such a collection of stealthy moves, one would think it would be easy to sneak past the enemy, but that's usually not the case.

 

For a game that supposedly encourages stealth, there's not really a whole lot of options to choose from when heading down a particular path.  Usually there's only one way to get from point A to point B without being detected and any variation from that path results in a game over.  What's annoying is that there are invisible boundaries put around the mission site so that wandering too far away from where you're supposed to be makes you run into an invisible wall; you don't know where it is until it's too late.  I've had a couple of frustrating deaths where I was trying to back away from a Nightwalker only to back up against an invisible wall.

 

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What would have made the game a little less frustrating is if it was actually possible to kill the Nightwalkers.  As I mentioned earlier, they're so deadly that they can easily kill you in two hits while it takes 10 or 15 accurate shots to take them down.  Paired up with their exceptional speed and you're dead whenever one notices you.  A fatal melee move or something would have evened things out.

 

One good thing I can say about Vampire Rain is that the voice acting is pretty decent.  The atmospheric music which changed into something heart-thumping whenever you were detected was a nice touch as well.  I just wish they could have put that amount of detail into the rest of the game, like the menus.  It's probably not a big deal, but it's annoying that the analog stick is non-functional in the menus.

 

The premise of a tactical stealth game with vampires is a good one.  Unfortunately, the execution leaves something to be desired. Something like a big fracking gun that can actually damage the pesky Nightwalkers.


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