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I was quite looking forward to getting my teeth into Blade the vampire hunter (hehehe), especially since the last project by Hammerhead and Activision produced the mighty Quake 2. So as the camera pans over the opening location with a real-time cinematic intro, and having briefly checked out the in-game controls I felt I was adequately prepared for the task in hand.
There are many promising ideas incorporated into the gameplay. Non-more so than dividing the enemies into three completely different life forms; human, zombies and vampires. During play you must always take into account the type of enemy attacking and, when pressed, the helpful R2 button homes into the intended target and displays vital on-screen information about the creature. This is very important when deciding which weapon and what type of ammunition to use. For example the humans glow green when targeted and can be taken out with a few normal bullets. Zombies keep getting back up to their feet so wasting precious ammo is not a good idea therefore hand to hand combat or a few strikes with the Blades trusty sword should slow them down… permanently. Vampires are lightening fast and best taken out at a distance with bullets containing silver. The Boss characters are very challenging and correct use of the critical hit meter is essential to defeat them. This is a small on-screen meter that rapidly fills up and firing the gun when it reaches maximum strength inflicts additional damage. Critical Hits can also be chained for extra effect.
The polygon environment has been neatly sculptured with some splendid lighting effects used to brighten up an otherwise dingy setting. The layout of the levels have just about enough variation and scope to fool you into believing that this is a go-anywhere 3D world, when in fact there is really only one way to go. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of several secret areas, which in some instances are almost as big as the main core of the level. All throughout the game there is a splendid Techno soundtrack pulsing away as if monitoring your heartbeat. So far… so good!
From a third person perspective Blade looks one mean son-of-a-bitch with legs solidly planted astride, arms like tree trunks and gun firmly grasped in hand. Unfortunately this ultra-cool appearance is completely blown away as soon as you try moving him around the set. On occasions the motion of the camera is so jerky that I’d swear it was being operated on the back of a pick-up-truck running low on kangaroo juice. Even attempting something simple such as… walking around a corner… is awkward because the camera view is whipped around as if had been launched by a slingshot. Of course when there’s a bunch of trigger happy hoodlums hanging around almost every bend then your life meter isn’t going to last that long. Worse still, someone in the production team seems to think they are a wannabe Stanley Kubrick, or Alfred Hitchcock. I admit it does create a cinematic atmosphere when the camera is drawn way back in the distance just as the Blade begins climbing a flight of stairs, but it’s such as chore trying to guide him all the way up to the top without slipping off the edge or walking into a wall. Even on the more spacey areas there seems to be a problem with the frame-rate. I doubt if it ever gets above 20 fps making the main character appear to have a ball and chain constantly attached to him.
Finally there’s the awkward control system. A single strafe button used in combination with the D-pad is my pet hate and renders itself totally useless in combat situations. If that’s not bad enough, a similar system is also used to switch weapons/ammo/health. So imagine being in an area where there are humans, zombies and vampires preparing to attack. It goes something like this… hold down L2, press up/down to select weapon, press right/left to choose silver bullets and shoot vampire. Now hold down L2, press up/down to switch to sword… slice zombie. Now hold down L2 again etc…. You get the idea! Another annoyance is that the action button is also used to shoot a weapon. Try to open a door, or click a switch, or climb a ladder and BLAM! BLAM!… more precious ammo wasted. Even the platform jumping elements are a nightmare to get over and with a cruel save system you will doubtlessly be back tracking over previously covered ground many, many times.
· Based on the hit vampire movie, Blade
· Defeat zombies, cop collaborators, and more of the movie\'\'s netherworld.
· Eliminate evil using guns, knives, grenades, fists, feet... and of course, swords.
· Backdrops for battle include Chinatown, sewers, and the Gothic City Museum.
· Features an advanced auto-aim system
· Cinematic cut scenes
· 21 gothic locations take you deep into the action
· Employ an arsenal of weapons to waste the undead-32 gothic creature variations
1 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 1 Players (without Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'Blade' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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