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Blade 2
PS2 Staff Review by Mike Weatherup

What is it about movie to videogame adaptations that usually turn out to be cheese? Is it that most publishers think the franchise will sell on its own will and do not bother putting in the effort needed to make a viable end product or do they simply believe cheese will sell? The good news is that Blade 2, which loosely follows the movie plot, is not pure cheese but is no crown jewel either.

The visual package here is quite good in places while boring in others. For example, in the early levels where you enter a full functioning nightclub and are required to take out all of the vampires, the textures and design methods used are varied and very detailed. Nice lighting techniques are used to give that club feel complete with strobes and intellabeams bouncing all over the place. Then you get to levels like Karkov Tower, where you go through a series of offices that all look so similar you tend to forget exactly where you are. Character design is another issue. The PS2 models tend to be chunky while the XBOX models are tighter but by no means perfect. Mucky Foot, the developer of Blade 2, seems as if they have struggled to get things to look dynamic and dark like the environments presented in the actual Blade 2 film. My suggestion would be to use Renderware, which would have allowed more variance in textures and special effects, most of which the PS2 should be able to handle. Regardless, the graphics in Blade 2 are not poor by any standard but just average for what can be accomplished with the PS2 hardware. The soundtrack and sound effects are solid throughout, while the voice acting is good but tends to get repetitive way too early in the game.

Credit must go to Mucky Foot for trying a completely different control scheme in order to convey Blade's uberviolent arsenal of moves. Most 3D scrolling beat-em up games simply utilize one or two buttons to punch and kick. In Blade 2, Mucky Foot has moved the fighting moves over to the right analog stick on the Dual Shock 2. This allows Blade to attack and counterattack enemies from any direction. While the essence of taking on opponents from any direction works fine, the actual arsenal of moves is too complex. I am not sure how this could have been remedied but the control of the moves and finishing moves feel as if you are not in full control and that many things happen by luck. Supposedly you are able to link many moves together but trying to find this happy rhythm in the right analog stick is very difficult when you have enemies coming in drones from all directions. A cool feature is the ability to have Rage whereby Blade has a temporary burst of power to dispense enemies in cool Blade style. It would have been nice if we could have taken more control over the sword, yet it still remains the best weapon in Blade's arsenal. The A.I. tends to be unbalanced in terms of challenge. Some just wait while you pound on one of their pals while other forms of vampires take a great amount of strength to finish off. The end result is a standard beat-em up that has a lucrative license.

Blade 2 has a large number of levels to go through from beginning to end. For those into the game, it will hold your interest for hours on end. The problem is whether it will hold your interest after a few levels. Mucky Foot also threw in a bonus materials section which showcases some cool things about the game and franchise.

Is Blade 2 for you? For us it was a must because we are Blade fanatics. For the rest, it ranks in with the quite average thirdperson action adventure games on the market. It is worth a look but I suspect your attention will be focused on Timesplitters 2, Hitman 2 and Vice City.

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