Years ago when the personal computer was first invented a brave new world emerged. Adventure games began modeling graphics over what for years had been the realm of pen and paper. Fertile ground for imagination. The greatest games I had ever seen. I went from Atari's Pong to Space Quest in just a few short years. The unlimited potential of gaming had been realized. Fully rendered action adventure stories in which you played a vital role.
Enter Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. For me it was love at first bite. Yet not a game for the faint hearted. You must be 18 or older to play and with good cause. The mascot is an evil, sexy, chain smoking cheerleader. Developed by the late Troika Games and built on the Valve Source Engine the game is based on White Wolf's RPG of the same name. The game begins with a series of moral dilemma's to best tailor a vampire race that best fits your style. Having completed skill testing questions including "Would you rather stab a friend in the back or shoot them in the face.?" A brief cinematic sets the scene. Your character is engaged in loving some promiscicuous vampire girl/guy and after a long night of sordid mating (soiled condom wrappers/dirty hotel room) You have been "turned" by your undead lover. The Vampire police show up and you promptly receive a stake to the heart with a cutscene (vampires cannot be killed by a mere wooden stake it simply paralyzes them). The cinematic continues at an abandoned opera house where it seems a trial is underway. Vampires have laws and turning the cattle into the wolf is strictly taboo. Your sire is beheaded (there can be only one) to preserve population control and note the first of many philosophical lectures. At last the game begins with a brief tutorial on how to survive as an immortal lord of darkness. The greatest threat to vampires is revealing their existence to mankind at large and so the masquerade is the first and only law of undead society. So you gotta keep your god status on the low down. Don't kiss and tell.
Ok so the first thing to do after you have been warned of the masquerade is to feed on a solitary bum behind a dumpster. Bums are not very healthy so choosing your food sources becomes part of the thrill of this game. Kind of a risk vs reward thing. Hookers provide much better quality blood than bums but they cost more money. This is counter balanced by the fact that they are willing victims, something you will not encounter in the remainder of your travels through this psychopathic game.
The story sets a fast paced tempo consisting of clever plot advancing conversations followed by cloak and dagger missions, alliances and political intrigue. If you have a strong stomach and enjoy breaking and entering extorting money, blackmail, murder,thugism,drug dealing, exorcisms, cadavers, gun running, car stereo stealing, bounty hunting, hard boiled ghouls, art, money, cosa nostra, nosferatu, slave trading, medical experiments and all with brilliant voice acting and scripting then this game might be the drunk bum up your alley. It has kept me occupied and immersed in a world I have only dreamt of in my most feverish dreams. It will tickle the reptilian parts of your brain and leave you squinting at the sun. While critics loved the open ended gameplay the game never saw great success due in large part to the many bugs and which the resulting financial loss helped drive Troika Games into bankruptcy. The only thing this game sucks is blood.
(Daddy looks angry)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Posted by The Devil Uno at 1:26 PM