|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
Vampires, comic books, and video games.
How could Activision combine three popular science fiction mainstays into the completely lifeless PlayStation game, Blade?
Based on a Marvel comic book, Blade was recently adapted to the silver screen. Wesley Snipes played the vampire-hunter hero, who himself was a half-vampire with the strengths of vampires but none of their weaknesses. Why? Because, like some genetics experiment gone wrong, all the weaknesses went into Blade's video game counterpart.
In the game, Blade (who is not licensed to resemble Snipes, and lacks Buffy's charisma) runs through metropolis streets and structures. Using his pistol and fists, he sends denizens of the underworld packing.
At least, that's the idea. Let's see how it actually plays out.
Blade finds himself in a dark and pixelated warehouse. He jumps a bit, but those vampire superpowers can't get him atop the crates. So he tries running around, only to weave back and forth like a vampire who has drunk some bad blood. Corners are his worst enemies. Once Blade learns how to strafe, he can wind his way through the narrow passageways and see what's coming ahead.
A cop appears in the distance, his back to our hero. No problem: a few bullets to the head put him out of commission. Our hero just put down an officer of the law. On some deep level, Blade's probably agonizing over this cruel necessity. Players need only concern themselves with taking the dead's ammunition.
Around the next corner is a thug with a pipe. Thug? No, a vampire. As is well known, the pipe is a time-honored vampiric weapon, one capable of sucking Blade's life bar by half. Blade's auto-aiming doesn't do much good; Vlad shrugs off the bullets and beats down on Snipeless. Blade pulls a Parappa, punching and kicking his way to victory, earning a Med-Kit which almost makes up for the damage he's taken. Almost.
After briefly stopping at a mid-level save point, Blade is attacked from behind (the undead play dirty). Blade can move only forward, leaving him unable to quickly address attacks from other directions. Oops, he's dead – never to see another sunrise.
Some cheesy, tinny music accompanies these escapades through gritty and unspectacular scenarios.
You get the idea.
Spider-Man, another PlayStation game by Activision, is possibly the finest superhero game ever made. Just think of it as an anti-Blade: bright graphics; tight control; engaging characters; fair and kid-friendly gameplay.
As for Blade, drive a stake through the CD and hang it on your front door as a warning: trash like this will not be tolerated.
This article is copyright (c) 2000, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 18-Dec-00