BloodRayne: Betrayal is Majesco’s attempt to bring back the forgotten BloodRayne franchise is an unexpected way. The series was never exactly beloved, so giving well-respected developer WayForward a chance to bring it back was a smart move. While some people may not be interested due to the series’ checkered past, don’t let this one slip past your radar.
Right away you’ll notice the gorgeous art design at work here. The game features lush and colorful 2D character models, backgrounds, and has a real retro feel going for it. The characters all are distinct, with a nice variety of level and enemy designs to keep the game’s look from losing its luster. The animations are fluid and everything just blends together so seamlessly. Combine that with the game’s majestic soundtrack and you’re left with one of WayForward’s best looking (and sounding) games yet.
The combat is the main draw of this sidescroller, and it flows wonderfully. Your basic moves are all done with a single button, but depending on what direction you’re holding when you press it and if you’re airborne or not, you will perform a different move. It’s nothing new, but you’re actually supplied with a nice variety of moves (and even a gun to spice things up) making the combat never feel stale at any point. New enemies are thrown at you at a regular pace to keep things interesting, and new abilities you’ll gain throughout the game, such as the ability to transform into a raven, mixes things up even more.
There are also many platforming sections. When they work, they really work, offering a nice balance between fluidity and challenge. Most of these sections require you keep moving, especially those that rely heavily on the “jump on the enemy’s head” mechanic. This is actually an attack that can be utilized in combat but is often called upon during platforming sections, especially near the end of the game. These segments move fast and if you slip up even once, you probably won’t be able to recover. Thankfully the checkpoints are frequent and you respawn quickly, so you will never feel too frustrated by these sections.
There are certain sections of platforming, however, that can be downright brutal, even with the generous checkpointing in place. The sections that require precise jumps can be finicky as you will often fall just from missing the platform (or, in a lot of cases, the enemy) by a mere inch or less. The hit detection during these faster segments doesn’t seem as solid as it should be, requiring more precision than a game like this might even allow for at times. It’s the one major flaw this game suffers for, especially in some of the later levels.
BloodRayne: Betrayal is easily the best game in the series; it’s not saying much considering the previous entries, but don’t let the name fool you. What you’ll find here is a very fun and challenging little game with plenty of callbacks to classic sidescrollers we all know and love. The challenge may initially throw some players off, but stick with it a while longer and you’ll find a very satisfying game with plenty of incentive to continue playing.
Pros: Brutal combat with plenty of enemies to fight, gorgeous art and character design
Cons: Some finicky platforming