Friday, 2 November 2012

Play This You Bastard: Vampire Rain - Part 1

Splinter Gear Vampire
This arrived in the post for me, so I ripped open the packaging and looked in horror at the game sleeve. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was all in a foreign language! "Oh no, they've sent me a foreign copy" was my initial reaction, but after firing it up, I saw that this wasn't the case. Phew.

For a horror game, it had already scared me before I played it. Kudos.

It starts with a cut scene of a woman walking home from work, she hears a noise, runs down an alley, and she's vampire bait. (Said vampire is clinging to the wall above her) I watch the next cut scene begin which is a montage (Fuck yeah!), hoping to gleam some information of the plot, but apart from seeing some missing persons database and a few character's faces, there's nothing. Except at the end there was a genuinely disturbing vampire lady... I'm not even kidding, the scene in question just focused on this vamped woman screaming. The image stayed with me as the cut scene ended and I was transported to the Menu.

As soon as I get to the Menu screen I realise this is going to be a bit *special* as the left analogue doesn't move your menu selection, the D pad does this... I can't remember the last game to go back to the D-Pad for this kind of thing.

I've got the choice of Normal or Hard, and what I've heard about this game is that it's unfair... so Normal it is.

Intro Cut scene time!

It all begins in a stuff office where some suit is shouting at an employee about how they're going to strike back against the Nightwalker population. I presume Nightwalkers are vampires and not prostitutes, but it's never really made clear. Through some lazy writing, we're told that in 300 days (I can't remember the exact number) the Nightwalker population will outnumber the human population. The boss in this place begins saying how they're going to bite back against the Nightwalkers (how ironic.)

Now we're in a town somewhere... it's raining (Vampire Rain?) There's a team in a van who are waiting for contact from the advance team. It seems they're all here to take out a "Prime" Nightwalker. Does that mean they're transformers?

The team themselves are made up of the gruff African American leader and a woman and two men who have no distinguishing roles. It seems the guy I'm playing, whose name evades my memory at present, was the lone survivor of a Nightwalker attack. There's a flashback where we see the guy (who is Metal Gear's Solid Snake's illegitimate cousin or something) standing in a room panting.

Vampire Rain - Now with REAL Panting action!
Back to the here and now, there seems to be a problem. (Not just with the fact that all the character's voices seem to be echoing) The advance team aren't answering, which infuriates the Captain as he goes back a long ways with the leader of the advance team and is worried, so he decides to take the main guy along with him to the rendezvous point, whilst the other guy (who is now relegated to being the tech guy) tries to get the advance team. What of the lady? Well she's told to just wait in the van. Why the hell did we bring her if she's not going to help?

Anyway, we're out and I'm actually able to control the guy. Luckily the left stick works and I'm not using the dpad to move him, now that would have been hard! We're sneaking about this town, and it's pouring with rain (VR?) but there isn't a sign of anybody.

Down an alley and two people come into sight... cut scene time. One looks like a fat priest, the other a really long armed tramp, the priest says they've got to get inside or they'll disappear like the others whilst the tramp doesn't really seem to give a shit about anything. Rather than talk to these individuals, the Captain decides we need to go another way. (Well we do seem to be trying to be covert I guess)

On our way there's a blood smeared sign painted on a wall, the Captain takes a look at it and reveals that it looks like the astrological symbols for the sun and moon... right.. okay then. He asks what the used to pain the sign with, my guy says "blood", the captain says it's impossible as the rain would have washed it off, to which my guy replies "They must have used a hardener", the captain responds "What kind of hardener?", my guy quips "do you really want to know"... The Captain doesn't.

What the hell is a hardener and how is my guy the world's foremost expert on it? I mean he could be as all I know about the guy is that he survived an attack... He may have been attacked at "Hardener College" for all I know.

We go along another alley, the captain in the lead, and I'm told to put my back to a wall and look round a corner. Cue Cut scene. This time there's some cops investigating what seems to be a broken street sign. They had mentioned that this town was overrun by Nightwalkers... but where are they then? Maybe they're being stealthy too? The Captain gets the tech guy to re-route us, it seems we're going to be going into a sewer. The lady calls and says she'll meet us at the entrance to the sewers... which the Captain agrees to.

To get to the sewers we need to climb over a few rooftops, which isn't too hard to be fair and the controls aren't amazingly intuitive but they're responsive so far.

After sliding down another pipe we get to the sewer entrance, where the lady is waiting for us. A bit of banter later and we're in the sewers.

Not much going on down here, we come across a body that's been the victim of a Nightwalker attack. The boss decides that it's best that the lady waits with the corpse. Why? Because he wants more alone time with me it seems. I admit it's the most logical thing to do, leave a member of your team to guard a corpse... okay, maybe it's not.

A little while later and we find a woman who's being attacked and is suddenly dragged away, we don't see who's got her, and the Captain stops my guy from going to help. The next we see of the woman is her legs as she's pulled up through a sewer pipe, presumably to the street level.

We move on out of the sewers and come to the building where we're supposed to meet the advance team... but no one is there.

This concludes the first two tutorial levels it seems, and I'm returned to the mission select screen. So far the game hasn't been awful, the dialogue is poorly written, but the gameplay isn't terribly. It's serviceable, that's how I'd describe it. Hopefully the next level will clarify that the Nightwalkers are vampires, and not pissed off prostitutes! So far it's not as terrible as I expected... but we'll see if my opinion changes as I continue to play this hated game.

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