A bargain game at only $1.00! Hey, can you blame me for purchasing it? GameStop had only one store in each state that sold Nintendo 64 (N64) Playstation One (PS1) games, all at 90% off. The N64 selection was a joke, only containing sports games and Superman 64, whereas the Playstation isle had tons of games. Aside from Pipe Dreams 3D, Yu-Gi-Oh: Forbidden Memories, Digimon Card Battle, & Baldies, I also decided to pick up Blade.
Blade the video game is based on the move Blade (1999) about the half-human, half-vampire named Blade and his weapons expert Whistler. However, forget everything you know about the movie. Why, because the game doesn’t base itself on that. Instead, it takes place in the movie universe. It appears to take place before the first movie. It can’t take place after, but I won’t say why in case you haven’t seen the movie.
As the game starts, you will listen to the catchy techno theme song while browsing the menu options. After that, it’s onto the lamest reason to review a video game: not reading the instruction manual.
I started off with my fists and a regular gun that quickly emptied. It started out easy enough against men with machine guns, but then vampires show up and I was dead pretty quickly trying to fight them with my bare hands. It was a long 1 ½ hours before I fiddled around with every conceivable button and found that after selecting pause, you can hit the up or down button to change your weapon type.
Blindly going forward, I eventually found strong zombie creatures that I would attack with my sword while running around them in circles praying not to get hit. Eventually, after dying 5 times in the same area, I decided it was time to call it a day and figure out what looked like a broken game tomorrow.
The next day, I realized that the bullets affected the zombies depending on what you used. The regular bullets were worthless, but the carbon seemed to rip right into them. Deciding to play the game properly, I searched for a game manual and read it to find out that indeed, regular bullets are better for humans, carbon for monsters, and silver for vampires. This was a very interesting mechanic. But, even with that, it still takes a lot of bullets to kill them, which is why there is a critical attack possible every time you fire.
You hit R2 to aim, and a small dot forms into a circle in the upper right hand corner. Once it fills up, it is transparent for about ½ a second then becomes opaque. If you hit the X button during that transparent circle, you can take out some creatures instantly if you are using the bullet type that is their weakness. If you fire regular bullets on a zombie, you’ll need about 4 critical hits to kill him as opposed to the carbon’s 1 critical hit.
Saving ammo is important in this game, which is why critical hits are in turn very important to learn, as your sword doesn’t work on everyone. The shotgun’s critical circle turns clear in 1 second, while the machine gun takes about 3 seconds; but, you have so much ammo with the machine gun you should use it on every enemy possible unless they can run toward you, and always use your weak handgun on regular guards to save ammo. Later in the game, you will fight some nasty brutes that it’s better to lay into that waiting for a critical.
The last weapon has explosives and some ball weapons, and the most useless UV grenade and regular grenade. The UV attack never kills anyone, while the regular grenade usually explodes in your face and kills you in one hit. I never used this gun unless I was out of ammo.
I really liked the weapons systems for the different enemy types, but the thing I have to get on now is the challenge. All the reviews said the game is way too hard. Yeah, if you didn’t read the rulebook, dumbass.
There were 3 instances in the game where it took me two hours to advance from one save point to the next, but it’s all trial and error. The game isn’t a cakewalk; there is no save point for every 3 guys killed. Sometimes you’ll have to go through 25 different enemies, maybe even a boss in the middle of that, before saving, but persistence and trail and error with the weapon types’ effects on different enemies will allow you to proceed.
Let’s get on with the main review.
Story: 5 of 10
This story is pretty bad. Basically, you start hunting vampires, then the Palintine vampires kidnap Whistler to use you against the Dragonetti vampires so they can move a container that contains a Night God that can bring darkness to the world and let vampires reign supreme. Oh, and when they said not to interfere, if they meant, ‘break into our lair and kill most of our clan and free your partner’ then they succeeded. And the Dragonetti (a person as well as a type of vampire) that they wanted to play you against? Well, he wants to help you and tells you where to go, but after the halfway part of the story he never shows up again to bring about any closure. The ending of the game matches the ending of the movie, but the audio for the voices don’t match up in volume. The only good thing is the interaction between Blade and Whistler; it feels like it would belong in the Blade movie.
Challenge: 8 of 10
The challenge is what I would expect of a game like this. Though there are some cheap deaths when a claw beast is behind a door or when a gun torrent mows you down in a second, most of it is just adjusting to the weapons and not walking into corridors expecting the room to be empty.
Music: 7 of 10
The music has about 6 themes it cycles through, but most of them are quite catchy and actually match the level most of the time, though there is one that is so annoying that you’ll want to beat the level quickly to make it end.
Fun Factor: 14 of 20
Starting the game with nothing, then working your way up the weapons chain and up to bigger and bigger enemies was really fun and it felt like not only was Blade progressing in his arsenal, but I was progressing in my control of him and experience with the game; the game got easier and I had more fun as a result.
Control: 8 of 10
Yeah, the controls are weird at first, but you’ll quickly adapt to it. It’s usually only R2, then fire with X, or equip the sword and hack like a maniac. Oh, you can jump, too, but it was only useful to find a secret room once or twice. It was never needed in the actual game except for one level with floors that were really pits.
Graphics: 6 of 10 (8 of 10 for bonus decorations)
The graphics aren’t too bad, but not great either. However, you can tell the creators spent a lot of time into the backgrounds; little things like the museum and the ending warehouse show lots of touches to the background that make it feel like a real world when there are chairs in the actual projector room and an airplane, tank and dinosaur in the museum; nothing is usually just a generic empty room or alleyway, so they definably get major points for that, or in this case, 2 bonus points.
Replay Value: 7 of 10
I actually was tempted to play through hard mode and collect every hidden glyph, so it has good replay value. I was determined to beat the game, and it took me a few nights to do so. Once you beat the game, that will probably be it, but in getting there it will take about 15 hours, so it lasts long enough, though I do wish it was longer.
Extras: 4 of 10
Blade has some extra features, which are information on all the vampires in the game. You have to collect hidden glyphs to be able to read them all. You can also unlock some cheat codes to play through the game differently to increase the replayablility.
Graphic Backgrounds: 2
Darkness Effect: 2
The darkness plays a big role in the game. Sometimes your character will not be visible on screen if he’s walking on a street or in a dark part of a room, and sometimes your enemies are walking around in the darkness of the next room, but will come in view if you wait. It isn’t used very much, but it definitely adds a level of suspense to the game when you don’t know if an enemy might come out of the darkness in the next room and attack you. And even if they attack you, they will light up so that you can see them so you’re not completely screwed.
So, I could do a medium of the scores above and come out to 7 out of 10, or add up all the points, which would be 64 points out of 100. Either way, it’s still a pretty decent game. This is one of the best video game’s based on a movie I’ve ever played and why it gets an average score of ‘B’. Yes, I know the score adds up to 64, but this game rises above mediocrity to be an interesting experience. Basically, it’s in between Mediocre and Good, making it ‘Decent.’ It was frustrating in the beginning, but that was by own fault for playing blind. I really got into the game and it was fun and challenging, and it reminded me of the game play from old Nintendo games where you had to play a level a few times to understand where a bad guy might be hiding or what weapon you should have ready to achieve victory sooner. There is a hard mode, and I’m almost tempted to play that, too, just not at the moment. No, I’ve got Blade 2 on the PS2 to start.