Final: Vampire Rain lacks bite on Xbox 360
by Marcus Lai

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Microsoft Corp.'s Vampire Rain is a stealth action title that that doesn?t have enough meat in either category. While the lead character employs a number of abilities, the lethal AI can suck most life out of the action.

In Vampire Rain, the elite American Information Bureau black ops team head out to eliminate Nightwalkers, an advanced breed of vampire colonizing the city. Players take the role of John Lloyd, a solider who is the only member on the team to have encountered a Nightwalker.

The main character features a number of movement options explained in the first few training missions. Lloyd can sneak, lay flat, climb pipes and ladders, shimmy across ledges and perform multi-purpose functions to move around the large city environment.

Missions in Vampire Rain rely heavily on stealth. Players must reach navigation points in linear fashion by looking for the correct route of entry via ladders, walls, ledges, pipes and rooftops.

The stealth element in the game is basic and involves watching the AI move back and forth before proceeding to the next point. Additional options include night vision to scan dark environments and Necrovision to spot whether the being is a human or Nightwalker.

Nightwalkers can kill players in two swift blows to render combat useless in initial missions. The lack of effective weaponry in the introductory missions is likely to turn most players away before the game provides any decent artillery. Later missions that allow players to wield a UV knife, shotgun, and sniper rifle to take down enemies in one shot are the most fun. But most lethal weapons are mission-specific and don't carry to the next level.

Boss fights are surprisingly more even, with hits that damage the player without an instant kill. The option to encounter standard enemies the same way would have allowed for more variety to tackle each mission.

The in-game camera can be poor. Many climb actions require the player to swing the camera to a better angle. Indoor areas fare worse to require constant adjustment.

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