There’s no reason to sugar coat it I suppose… I opted for the cheap way out on this one. What can I say, times are tight around the clubhouse. Anyway, let me preface by saying this review is not reflective of the entire BloodRayne: Betrayal game, just the first two levels. What I can say is that those first two levels (what’s available in the XBLA demo) were pretty freaking sweet!
For those not familiar with the Bloodrayne franchise, the vampiric video game vixen first appeared on home consoles back in 2002 and was developed by Terminal Reality (Nocturne, Ghostbusters: The Video Game). Rayne, a dhampir, is something of a Lara Croft type character only with a lust for blood and a hard on for killing vamps. I won’t pretend to know her entire backstory, but I do know that she works covertly for an agency called the Brimstone Society.
In Betrayal Rayne is called upon once again to help the Brimstone Society infiltrate a mysterious castle where evil is plotting the destruction of the world (again). This lack of detail is perhaps Betrayal‘s biggest flaw, both in terms of its plot and Rayne’s enemies which I found to be annoyingly repetitive over the course of the first two chapters. Everything else on the other hand is brutally awesome.
The gameplay takes on a very Castlevania-type of motif with fairly simply platforming required and a linear, side-scrolling path to follow. Combat can be a bit tough to master at first with multiple buttons required to pull of various moves, but the learning curve seems pretty minimal. Additionally, the graphics are some of the finest I’ve seen on XBLA with enemies falling to Rayne’s blade(s) complete with arterial sprays and bone crushing sound effects. Her quick dash and handgun come in quite handy as well when faced with a horde of unforgiving foes.
Overall I would have to say that based on the demo BloodyRayne: Betrayal is a safer bet than most of what’s on the shelves at the moment (especially for horror gamers). Old school Castlevania fans will appreciate the homage to the game’s level structure and gameplay while gorhounds can rejoice in loads of gratuitous supernatual violence.