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The game theme is taken from the popular Vampire Hunter D books and was recently featured in the hit horror movie, Blade starring Wesley Snipes. It's basically a sword-slashing, 3D, RPG, adventure set within a Vampire castle.
Imagine Michael Jackson with a talking hand and you'll pretty much get a picture of what the games main character looks like, the strangely named 'D' (who incidentally is half-man, half-vampire). Yes. you got that right. his left hand really does have a slit across the palm for a mouth and two beady eyes, and what more faithful companion could 'D' wish for than one that's attached permanently to his wrist. When he wants it to stop babbling on, 'D' simply clenches his fist. and silence. now I could live with a partner like that!
Most of the enemies have been carefully sculptured to provide a few visual thrills. Expect to face polygon interpretations of acid spewing zombies, flying fireball spitting demons, electric zapping hellhounds and buxom female mutants armed (literally) with a razor sharp sword and a telescopic left hook that will floor you from way across the room. Depending on the force of your return strike, or indeed which weapon is used in the battle, an opponents body can actually be split in two which looks pretty neat.
Armed with his trusty sword of steel the slender caped crusader wanders through some pretty impressive settings on his mission to free the abducted beautiful daughter of a wealthy villager. All of the action takes place within the multi-story Vampire Castle. Most rooms are set in a medieval style, which I found strange considering the game is supposedly set way in the distant future. However, there are computers on the third floor, so maybe that's the futuristic side taken care of.
All the action is viewed from a 'Resident Evil style' perspective where static cameras watch over a section of the playing area, in which the game characters freely walk into and out of. Quite often the position will be set facing towards our hero. As he slowly walks into the camera some mighty creepy sound effects can be heard from behind the viewing position. This actually helps to increase the games atmosphere as you won't have a clue what lurks up ahead. only that it doesn't sound very pleasant. The character acting is acceptable and is accompanied by text at the foot of the screen, while the music score is average.
When first playing the game I thought the controls did everything but 'control' the main character. Maybe this was because the default setting is 'run' (more like a dash) making it difficult to line up with an object to interact. Thankfully this can be switched to a slow walking pace, but the balance somehow never feels quite right. 'D' can also jump, sword fence, throw items (nails, grenades etc.) lock onto targets (very helpful considering the movement problem) and perform an excellent 'guard' motion by drawing his cape.
The gameplay lies somewhere between Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and, dare I say, Resident Evil. It is actually a pleasant mixture of weapon combat, puzzle solving and investigation. The usual format for this style of game is strictly adhered to where various beasties must be defeated (or avoided), only to reach a door that is probably locked. A color-coded key must then be found to advance further through the level. These may found simply lying around the castle or hidden beyond a 'devious' puzzle. Just don't expect any bewildering conundrums because pushing statues, accessing computers and tampering with music boxes is about as good as it gets. You even get to temporarily switch bodies and play a girl character. sound familiar?
· 3 Difficulty Settings
· Over 30 locations
· Spells, wooden stakes, shafts of light, fanged teeth, bats and coffins
· Sword fights, hand to hand fighting and neck biting
· Save anywhere in the game
· Recovery items
Number of Disks: 1
Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 1
Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
Link-cable compatible (max players): No
Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
Other accessories: None
Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: No
Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes