E3 2011: BloodRayne: Betrayal Hands-On Preview

By Shawn Collier on June 12, 2011, 9:55PM EDT

Back in 2002, video game publisher Majesco brought gamers an over-the-top, bloody game called BloodRayne, which gathered a decent following but quickly fell into obscurity after a mixed reception to the game's sequel. After seven years since the last entry in the franchise, Majesco is teaming up with developer WayForward to revitalize the series with BloodRayne: Betrayal. And surprisingly enough, it's one hell of a revival indeed.

The game's story is pretty basic, which revolves around the titular character Rayne being recruited by the vampire hunting Brimstone Society for one final mission to stop an massacre by a group of evil vampires. While this sounds awfully generic, it's not as big of an issue as one might think as Betrayal's primary focus is in its gameplay. Those familiar with games such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night will feel right at home, as Betrayal takes a similar 2D-platforming approach. Rayne's primary attack uses her signature arm blades, which can be utilized in a variety of ways depending on which direction the analog stick is pressed. In addition to attacking, Rayne can dash towards enemies and jump to and away from them.

Being a vampire, she has the ability to suck the blood from her enemies either completely or partially, in which she poisons the enemy and can follow up by blowing them up. This specific ability becomes quite entertaining when multiple enemies are poisoned as Rayne can blow them up in sequence, filling the screen with an insane amount of blood.

According to the developers Rayne's core abilities won't change, but players will be able to upgrade them as they progress throughout the game. Rayne is also quite agile, having access to abilities such as a backwards jump which is performed by running in one direction and quickly snapping back to the other and jumping. Unfortunately we did not see any other such acrobatic moves in the the demo present on the show floor, but it's expected that more will be available in the final version of the game.

The demo at E3 2011 opened up in a cemetery-like area, which had multiple overhead lights that needed to be destroyed, otherwise Rayne would continually take damage for as long as she was in its sights. Like classic fighting games such as Streets of Rage, Betrayal featured waves of enemies every so often for the player to take care of. Some of them were your generic grunts, but others included stationary shooting enemies that pop up as you pass by them as one example.

While the exact enemy roster wasn't revealed at this time, there are multiple more enemy types planned. The demo also featured numerous interactable objects, such as lights which sucked Rayne's health if she walked underneath them. One added touch to all the carnage is the addition of a point system for kills which rewards more stylish kills with more points, i.e. defeating enemies in series instead of individually will garner more points.

One of the most impressive parts of the game is the graphics, as Betrayal uses a HD-resolution cel-shaded approach which is exceptionally vibrant and striking when seen in motion and is exceptionally fluid. This allows the excessive amounts of blood that spew out of cut and blown-up enemies to feel much less grotesque than what was found in the console iterations of the series and gives a much more "mature" aspect to the carnage present on the screen. According to the developers Rayne herself has over 4,000 unique animation frames alone, which is impressive considering that's only one character out of many in the entire game.

From what we saw at E3 2011 the downloadable title is shaping up to be quite a welcome surprise indeed. With the upcoming Nintendo 3DS title currently in the works, it's looking like Majesco might just be able to bring back this rocky franchise for today's group of gamers. BloodRayne: Betrayal currently is set for a Summer 2011 release for $15 on PSN and 1200 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Arcade.

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