Activision – Vampire: The Masquerade review

Photo of Activision – Vampire: The Masquerade

Evil, I tell you, they’re evil! No, not the Gas Board but a far more ancient evil. An evil that has stalked the land since the very first flickerings of life on this planet. An evil that is… the Inland Revenue. Oh alright it’s the vampires. Fangtastic.

Our sharp-toothed friends are taking over the world in which Vampire: TM is set, although their machinations will be halted if it has anything to do with you, as you play the dynamic hero of the piece, Christof.

Vampire is an RPG adventure, and Christof a soldier of the crusades who is wounded in Prague (it’s all set in medieval times initially). Prague is beset with problems, namely vampiric hordes stalking the streets of a night munching on anyone unfortunate enough to get lost on the way back from the pub. Naturally, despite his wounds, Christof vows to rid the city of the vermin.

The story is told via a load of cut-scenes (some of which are over-lengthy, but always atmospheric), and the plot is actually quite complex. It evolves through time and space to modern New York eventually, to give you an idea of the scope, as swords are swapped for sub-machine guns.

We’re not giving too much away to say that Christof is bitten early in the game, but works on the inside of the vampire world (which is rife with different clans and politics) to bring about its destruction.

It’s very much a hack-’n'-slash affair despite the complicated plot trappings, and the experience is very linear. You have to complete certain sections before new ones are open to you, but the story is so well realised that this doesn’t matter too much.

Visually and sonically this is stuff to die for, so to speak; it really is thoroughly excellent on that score. The interface is very nicely implemented and easy to use, and the character advancement system gives the player massive scope for customisation.

A lot of thought has gone into the implementation of the game engine too, so full marks there. There’s also an online multiplayer mode which allows one player to become a live Dungeon Master, and this has fantastic potential if you can get a good group of players together.

Company: Activision

Vampire is a great looking game with an absorbing plot and a really well thought-out character advancement scheme. It's a very linear adventure, but then so are many RPGs. You'll while away many an hour in immortal combat with various vampire clans, make no mistake, and if they can get into the multiplayer side, hardcore role-players are in for a real treat.