The BloodRayne series had potential in becoming a good franchise, and Rayne was even touted to be the new Lara Croft. However, when the infamous director Uwe Boll got his hands on the movie rights, it all went down the drain. The first two BloodRayne games were not groundbreakers, but they were solid action games for their time. However, the latest title to carry the name is quite different.
BloodRayne Betrayal is an 2D action platformer developed by Midnight City and published by Majesco Entertainment, and it is a departure from the known 3D character action game formula that the series had previously been known for. That description in itself should have longtime gamers raising their eyebrows, especially those who have finished the first two games. It had been released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2011, but it only got a Steam release for the PC just now. It has also seen a Japanese release under the name of BloodRayne: Crimson Slayer from Arc System Works, who are famous for Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, and Persona 4 Arena.
You play as Rayne, a dhampir (half-human and half-vampire) who works as an agent for the Brimstone Society. While she is still quite the looker, you see less of her in this game, but you get a whole lot more blood. She still has her arm blades that lets her mutilate and disembowel enemies efficiently, and she has her trademark agility that lets her traverse difficult terrain with ease. It has now come to Castlevania’s territory for being a platformer and having vampires in it, but this one is a bit more straightforward, a lot like Rain Blood Chronicles: Mirage.
As the first 2D title in the BloodRayne series, fans may have mixed feelings with how this game looks. Rayne seems to be wearing the same thing, although she doesn’t look exactly the same as she did in BloodRayne 2. Everything else in the game also have that flash game look that may be discouraging at first. The level design is mostly linear, so don’t expect any Metroidvania-style exploration here. But to replace that is the straight-up platforming and combat mechanics that should stretch your capabilities.
Platforming is composed of the basic directional movement and jumping, sliding, dashing and air-dashing, and so on. There’s also a backflip maneuver for getting to hard-to-reach places, although it does take a bit of getting used to (unless if you are used to playing charge characters in fighting games). The enemies in the game are mostly cannon fodder, but they are numerous and will hurt you however possible. They and the various obstacles in the levels do well in actively trying to drag Rayne to her demise, which will be likely as you contend with the controls.
These controls do feel clumsy, which makes for a bad first impression. But upon becoming competent enough with them, the gameplay starts to open up more and players can have fun with both the platforming and the slashing-about, but only if you actually get used to it. If you’re playing the console versions, then you may get stuck if you’re not particularly good at this genre. As for the PC version, perhaps they fixed some of the problems to keep players from fumbling around during gameplay.
BloodRayne: Betrayal is like a consolation prize for fans who had played the first two games, then felt betrayed throughout the years. On its own, it’s a pretty good action platformer to sate the appetite of gamers who like combos and tricky maneuvers. At the very least, it’s a testament to Uwe Boll’s inability to destroy ALL of the franchises that he gets his hands on, since one somehow survived.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7/10