The stealth genre is already well represented in gaming. Heavy hitters like Metal Gear and Splinter Cell have loyal followings and sell well each release. I can understand why a developer would want to get a piece of the pie. In order to do so, you have to bring something new to the table; Vampire Rain doesn’t.
The game’s premise shows some real promise: you are an agent with an elite team of vampire hunters. So, Splinter Cell in a world of vampires. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Unfortunately, the idea failed to transition to execution, because what gamers put into their consoles is dead on arrival.
You play Lloyd, a member of a government agency that handles under-the-table operations. Your mission is to eradicate the vampire problem in Los Angeles before it spreads to the rest of the world. Lloyd is pretty well armed but his best weapon is the ability to remain undetected. The point of the game is to complete a series of objectives; every time you reach one objective you see a cut scene, unfolding the game’s plot bit by bit. In order to complete these objectives you must remain unseen because your side arm and assault rifle do little to vampires. Vampire-killing in this game is pretty much pointless; they are essentially indestructible and will kill you in two or three easy swats.
There is good news in the fight: vampires make lousy guards. The game uses the tried and true cone of vision that Metal Gear made so popular. If you are outside the cone, no matter what line of sight the vampire has on you, you will not be seen. If you do cross a cone of vision, warnings flash on the screen so you have time to back away before the vampires engage. They don’t even leave their post to investigate. Often times the undead do not even have a patrol route. They just stare in one direction, taking in the rainy evening I suppose. This makes the act of sneaking around foes fairly simple. The path you must take, however, is anything but.
Your progress is dictated by how well you complete the missions that are assigned to you. Usually your team will instruct you to go alone and complete a certain task; take down a satellite to destroy your enemies communications, for example. The objectives are pretty straight-forward, and a map clearly shows you where they are. The problem is just getting there.
Vampire Rain hardly lets you use multiple paths. Trial and error reveals exactly how you must get past a certain section. The game takes away almost any ability to A