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PS2 | Action | Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse

Boxart for Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse
Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse 15 screen shots
  • GRAPHICS: 3.5
  • SOUND: 3.5
  • CONTROL: 4.0
  • FUN FACTOR 4.0

Review: Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse

They could?a called Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse ?Another Day, Another Monster,? but hardline gamers wouldn?t call this well-crafted hack-n-slasher an RPG.

To call this flawed but fun game an RPG is to stretch the definition. Just the same Angel?s crafty A.I. orchestrates a pretty mean horror show.

Like Castlevania or Legacy of Kain, Dark Angel is pure hack-n-slash madness of the old-school, 3/4-overhead view, thumb-torching kind. You play a female hero who has 365 days to prepare for a showdown with the vile Shadow Lord.

There?s a lot going on under Dark Angel?s hood. According to Metro3D, one day in Dark Angel is equal to one hour of real time, making this an epic with a captial ?E.? But that?s not all that extends the gameplay time. The action occurs in 10 areas. Three of these are composed of dungeons that are randomly generated. In fact, the levels keep building even if you defeat the Dark Lord?that?s right, this adventure will never end! As you descend into the dungeons, the gangs of weird, vicious creatures get nastier and harder to beat, and some beasts begin to grow larger with each successive level.

The sketchy story line never makes it clear what vampires actually have to do with the game. But once the blood-thirsty A.I. unleashes cunningly well-animated hordes of monsters that hunt you nonstop throughout the levels, you?re too busy jamming buttons and swinging axes, maces, and swords or firing a projectile weapon to worry about it. There are 15 classes of swords, maces, axes, guns, and bombs; and as the game progresses, they reach levels well into the 100s. Every weapon also possesses varying degrees of magic, which makes them useful against certain types of monsters. A calculator is helpful at this point.

A simple interface does a workmanlike job on equipment purchases and inventory. However, the cursor system for selecting and managing gear is imprecise, and the italic script of the sometimes wordy text-descriptors makes them hard to read.

During combat, the sharp controls are tight, and the gameplay cam is dependable and on-target. You can assign weapons and gear to all four PS2 action buttons for wicked firefights, or you can somersault and dash through the horrific crowds like a frightened rabbit. And the graphics and sounds do an adequate job of trying to keep you scared, too. The monster models are cool and imaginative, but the game?s 3/4 view and gloomy lighting make it hard to appreciate the details at first glance. The audio effects are repetitive, but they get genuinely creepy if you turn down the lights.

The RPG connection here is saliva thin, but if you?re thirsting for old-school controller-bruising action; you should sink your teeth into Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse.