Bloody Vampire Review
Bloody Vampire Review
Developed by SilverStar, Bloody Vampire finally lands on the Nintendo eShop after being available in Japan for nearly a year. The game follows Latis, a half-breed, and Cereza, a full blown vampire, on their quest to discover the reason why vampires are bleeding over into the human world. You’ll discover a lot about Latis and her past, plus a lot about the war between humans and vampires.
Bloody Vampire is a 2D Action Adventure game that plays a lot like Metroid or Metroidvania-like games. You control Latis and must explore a castle in Verulia, a town that has recently been deserted thanks to the reappearance of vampires. The castle, and surrounding areas, is designed much like the Planet Zebes; most of it can’t be accessed until certain items have been found, plus a lot of backtracking is required.
Latis can find magic rings and bracelets that give her the ability to perform magic. These magic spells can be used to attack enemies, and solve different puzzle elements throughout the castle. Each magic spell has three levels of strength, but you don’t level up in the normal sense, instead you must find the Level 2 ring to perform the Level 2 magic spell. Latis doesn’t have to rely on magic to attack as she can also perform normal attacks.
At first, I found the normal attack to be a little confusing. As there are no weapons, I tried jumping on enemies to inflict damage. While this works, this isn’t the proper way to attack enemies. The attack mechanic works similar to attacking in the Ys I & II game. You simply walk into enemies to damage them; however, it is ideal that you attack them from behind. Attacking them from behind ensures that you damage them safely; attacking from the front or above can actually damage you. Of course, you can also damage enemies with magic, and you’ll find that using magic is better for most situations. However, as each spell uses up a bit of magic, you must pay attention to and maintain your magic meter.
Aside from its Action Adventure gameplay, Bloody Vampire does have RPG elements. You can upgrade your stats to help keep you alive in Bloody Vampire. Latis can upgrade her health, magic, strength, and defense. To level up, you must find the upgrades that coincide with each stat; for example, Water of Protection will upgrade your defense. These items are hidden around the castle and can sometimes be a little tricky to find. Much like Metroid, you are rewarded for exploring your surroundings. Latis can also find equipment that lets her transform into a Bat and a Wolf. Her bat form lets you fly until you touch the ground, and the Wolf form lets you travel without taking damage; both forms can help you reach parts of the world that were previously unreachable. Aside from rings and bracelets, you can also find health and magic potions which can be managed by accessing the inventory on the touchscreen.
Bloody Vampire can be a lot of fun to play; however, there are a few issues with the game. One thing in particular that bugged me is the amount of text in-game. I’m not complaining about having to read, I would have been fine with the game giving me plot details after boss fights or other pivotal moments, but instead, Bloody Vampire likes to intrude during gameplay. At random moments throughout the game, Latis and Cereza will invade the top-screen with a conversation that ultimately takes you out of the gameplay. This is really annoying during the beginning of the game, but happens less towards the end.
Also, there is no map in Bloody Vampire. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a design choice that harkens back to retro games, or that a map was simply not implemented. For a game that has a bit of backtracking this proves to be a little challenging, however, the game world isn’t big enough to prevent you from finding your desired location. Lastly, Bloody Vampire’s boss fights are a little underwhelming. Bosses are usually just larger versions of regular enemies, plus they can easily be overcome by spamming them with magic. You can easily fall if you’re not strong enough, but for the most part, you will be strong enough (unless you avoid upgrades) and you can use potions during battle to freshen up.
While the game is generally quite easy, dying spells Game Over for Latis which also means you must return to your last save point. You can only save when entering shops (little tents found around the castle), so it is a good idea to save as often as possible. Save tents also serve another purpose, one that isn’t obvious upon starting your adventure. When you pause the game you can enter a conversation menu – yes, you can talk to Cereza more if you feel she doesn’t appear often enough – and choose the option to return to the shop. This option returns you to the last shop you entered and can prove to be useful when navigating the castle, or if you need a quick pick-me-up. This is a feature that I’d like to see more of in other games.
Graphically, there is both good and bad in Bloody Vampire. On the one hand, character sprites and backgrounds are well-designed and feature a neat pastel-like, hand drawn appearance. However, the tiles that make up the game’s platforms are of an older retro style. The two don’t really mesh well together and can be a tad distracting at times. Also, even though Bloody Vampire can be played in stereoscopic 3D, the 3D effects are almost non-existent with very little depth to be found. Luckily, Bloody Vampire sports a decent soundtrack which makes the adventure an enjoyable one in spite of its downfalls.
Bloody Vampire is a decent Action Adventure game that fans of the Metroid series may enjoy. It is a rather short game with around 4-5 hours of gameplay, plus it has flaws, but it’s hard to argue when the game costs $4.99 on the Nintendo eShop. Those that want Metroid action on their 3DS are better off spending their cash on Metroid or Metroid II: Return of Samus, but if you’re looking for a different take on the genre, Bloody Vampire is worth the download.
Obtained by Purchase