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Review by: Matthew Dujnic
Published: October 5, 2002
Activision’s Blade II is based on the movie of the same name, which in turn was based on the first “Blade” film, which in turn was based on a Marvel comic. There are dozens of great movies out there ready-made for interactive entertainment, and just as many comic books have that same potential. However, game fans know the disasters that have come about due to poor use of great licenses; bad titles based on movies and comics are practically a cliché. “Blade” is both a movie and a comic book, so is this a win-win or a double whammy?
Naturally, Blade II is an action game. Any title with Wesley Snipes’ half-human, half-vampire Daywalker character would have to be. There’s a story somewhere in the mix that takes place after the second movie. It’s broken up into three missions, the first of which has you chasing after a stolen vial of tainted blood. After that, it opens up into a quest of worldwide proportions. But, as in the movies, none of that matters much. If you’re a fan of Blade, you’ll only want to see him doing one thing: killing hordes of vampires.
After a brief and somewhat silly tutorial in the safety of Whistler’s hideout, it’s time for some slaying. You start your mission in a scenic parking garage, taking out gangs of biker-punk vampires and avoiding marauding vehicles. Most of the pain you dish out will be of the hand-to-hand variety, but you also have a glaive (a shiruken-like projectile), uzis and shotguns, and your trusty sword. Not all of these weapons are available at the start (you earn them incrementially based on your overall score), but you’ll always be well-equipped to splatter undead guts in all directions.
“All directions” happens to be Blade II‘s hook. Instead of standard punch and kick buttons, you must whack the right analog stick in eight directions to unleash attacks. This means that you don’t have to be facing your enemy to hit him, and if you time your directional taps rhythmically, combos will result. Seeing as the game sometimes swarms you with vampires at a density to rival Gauntlet baddies, the ability to hit in any direction is the only thing that will keep you alive.
As you fight, your rage meter builds. If you’re trapped in a corner, a sure way out is to release your blood rage. Out comes the sword and off come the limbs. The longer you build your rage, the more severe your berserker state will be, and for good measure, the developers threw in a few finishing moves that swing the camera close to watch Blade skewer or stake an unlucky victim. In all, Blade II was made with the simple mission of putting you in the role of the Daywalker. That it does, but are we delivered a good game?
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