BloodRayne, a third-person action game featuring a red-haired, scantily clad female vampire as the main character, may seem like just another generic action game with a provocative box. But there's a great deal more to the game than you might think. Even if you do give it a chance, it's possible to miss all that's good about BloodRayne since the first hour or so of gameplay is actually pretty bland--most of the really interesting stuff doesn't show up until later in the game. The slow start can make BloodRayne a tough game to stick with, especially since the PS2 isn't exactly short on quality action games that have many of the same mechanics that BloodRayne offers.
You play through the game as Agent Rayne, a half-human, half-vampire who, just like Blade, has all of a vampire's traditional strengths yet hardly any of its weaknesses. She's recruited to work for a secret society that wants her help in a crusade to rid the world of corruption caused by black magic. Story doesn't actually figure prominently in the game; instead, you'll just end up fighting your way through various enemy-infested levels.
As the half-vampire Agent Rayne, you're practically unstoppable.
Despite the supernatural elements, the game takes place in the real world. The opening levels of the game put you in the swamps of Louisiana during the 1930s, a time when black magic apparently got out of hand and caused a bunch of zombies and giant spider-looking creatures to spring up. In these levels, you mainly move from area to area, beating up mindless zombies and clearing out the giant spider creatures' nests--it's about as much fun as it sounds. And, of course, you're in the swamps, so there's a great deal of water--something that vampires and even Agent Rayne don't deal with very well. So anytime you see water, you have to try to avoid it by taking to high ground or by finding another route.
After about an hour of running around the swamps, you finally come to an end boss for this area, and then the game completely changes. The story picks up five years later, where you're now fighting Nazis. The basic concept remains the same--beat up all the random bad guys on your way to taking out the main Nazi officers, and repeat. But beating up Nazis sure beats beating up giant spiders.
The gameplay in BloodRayne has several elements that are a bit more complex than what you would find in a typical action game. For starters, Agent Rayne can see enemies through nearby walls, which can also reveal where she needs to go. This vision ability, along with an onscreen radar, makes it incredibly easy to find your way through the game's rather large environments, which is nice, since it keeps you from having to wander around too much.
After you get past the swamp levels, Agent Rayne also learns a new ability that allows her to move faster than anyone else--basically the same idea as the slow-motion "bullet time" mechanic from Max Payne. The one major difference between Rayne's ability and Max Payne's is that here, you aren't restricted to using the slow motion for a limited time. In fact, once Agent Rayne learns the technique, you could conceivably play the entire game in slow motion and take out enemies and dodge bullets to your heart's content. Later on in the game, Agent Rayne learns an ability that lets you zoom in from a great distance and snipe enemies from afar. The basic attacks that you start the game off with include standard kicks and slashes, although these abilities also become stronger as you progress through the game. Using basic attacks repeatedly causes a super-move meter to fill up, which, when full, allows you to execute extremely powerful strikes for a limited time. All told, these moves make Rayne extremely powerful.