BloodRayne: Betrayal Looks Bloody Good - Hands On

By Ryan Winslett in Previews/Impressions
Friday, June 10, 2011 at 8:30 am

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Paint the world re
Chances are you're already pretty familiar with the BloodRayne franchise. Whether it's from the previous generation's action-slicer titles or the masterful cinematic work of film director Uwe Boll, you know you're dealing with a badass vampire chick who likes to bite necks and lop off heads with her arm-mounted blades.

While Wayforward's upcoming PSN/XBLA entry to the series, BloodRayne: Betrayal, still features the blood-drenched heroine, pretty much everything else about the title is a giant step in a different direction.


Hit the jump to find out why you might want to sink your teeth into this title come early August.


Wayforward partnered with Majesco for this latest BloodRayne project, a beautiful side-scrolling action title. I got the chance to speak with WF's lead level designer Michael Herbster during my time at E3, and he summed up the downloadable game pretty well.


"It's like a ballet of blood," he said. "[BloodRayne] hits you hard and fast. I can pretty much guarantee an uphill struggle at first, but once you get into the flow of battle, you'll be having a lot of fun."


The first thing I noticed about the new game was how wonderful it looked. Herbster said Rayne herself has around 4,000 frames of animation, and that everything on-screen --from the character and world to the background-- was hand drawn before being digitized, cleaned up and slapped on the screen at a slick 60 frames per second.


The game consists of 15 levels spanning five main environments, five bosses and about seven hours of gameplay.


"The fifth boss is the most epic I've ever had the pleasure on and something I never thought I'd see in a video game," Herbster added. "And we were actually trying for our first M rating with this one, but somehow we managed to get a Teen."


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The action is stylized and the enemies are creatures of the night but, still, the game is pretty violent. Heads will fly and necks will spray a fountain of blood. Rayne can stomp on the head of an enemy that's been cut in half to earn a "mercy kill." And then there's the glorious carnage you can perpetrate.

Sort of like Smash Brothers, the direction you're holding the analog stick when you hit the attack button will determine what sort of attack you will make. Having multiple enemies about will also add variety to the attack types. Rayne's also equipped with a few other tricks, like a high-flying backflip, a wall jump and the ability to drain her victims of blood in order to gain a health boost.


The coolest combat feature I saw, though, was the ability to poison a bad guy and turn them into a walking bomb. You can instantly release the bite button to infect your enemy, displayed by a yellow fog surrounding their body. The bad guy can still attack now, but at any moment Rayne can trigger the poison and make the poor sap and any nearby friends go boom.


Built for fans of speed running, levels are made to be played again and again. You're scored on things like damage taken, time to complete and kill streaks. The object is to kills and move as efficiently as possible.


For those wondering where the story fits in, Herbster said to think of Betrayal like a one-shot comic.


"It shares a universe and some characters, but that's about it," he said. "The Brimstone Society has called Rayne in to take out a group of powerful vampires who are known to be gathering at a specific time and location. Then you just go from there."


What I got to play felt great. And I can't say enough about how good the game looks. If you're thinking something like Castlevania meets Ninja Gaiden, you're not too far off base.


Look for BloodRayne: Betrayal to drop sometime in "early August" for $10 on PSN and 1200 Magic Points on XBLA.

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