September 4, 2002
Vampire Night - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
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A mutated human set to attack.
When it comes to light gun games there is usually very little choice. You'd be lucky to count the number of games released every year on one hand. The majority of these are usually by Namco or Sega as well. They rule the light gun games in the arcade, so their domination on the consoles is a natural progression. Vampire Night is a unique project however as the game is actually a collaboration between Namco and Sega with Sega's WOW Entertainment, developers of the House of the Dead series, doing most of the work. You'd expect something quite special from the game, but does it really deliver the goods?

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One of the massive bosses.
Being a light gun game there isn't too much of a storyline here so I won't even bother with it. The title, Vampire Night should give you all the info that you need - ie, you're shooting Vampires. Obviously you play the vampire hunters out to kill the undead. Being a light gun game you can use the GunCon 2, or the original Gun Con 45, either of which is effective. For those without light guns you can struggle through the game with a Dual Shock 2, although I don't recommed it at all unless you're up for a challenge. Fortunately Sony have released a pack including the GunCon 2.

As with other games the use of these guns makes the game very enjoyable, and very accurate. As with all shooters enemies, and in particular the bosses, have weak spots which inflict damage. Likewise people can be saved by shooting enemy parasites which are attached to their bodies. Hit the people however and they mutate into enemies themselves. As is becoming the norm these days the game also offers multiple paths to add a little longevity to the title, although they aren't overly drastic with the majority of the game still along the same path.

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This guy moves very quickly.
Vampire Night includes several game modes. As well as the Arcade mode the game inlcudes a Special Mode which adds some RPG type elements where you can buy weapons and items and have to complete different tasks, such as finding the girls lost teddy bear in the first level etc. Sadly purchashing new items and weapons only occurs before the start of each game making it a little tiresome. You can't even purchase items between levels. Finally, the game includes a Training Mode which includes a series of mini-games which are infinately better then Mighty Joe Jupiter in Empire Interactive's recent Endgame but not up to the standard of mini-games in Namco's Time Crisis II. Of couse the game

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The cut scenes are very cool.
As a light gun game there really are few problems with Vampire Night. As expected it's pretty short with a game length of under an hour or so. It's certainly not going to have you playing for months like a RPG. Perhaps the biggest annoyance however is the lengthy load times between levels. You would think that with Namco on board the load times would be non-existant, or a few seconds at most but this game has lengthy load times between each level. Also slightly annoying is the limited number of enemies on screen. Why can't they approach from a distance in numbers rather then jump out from close range.

While the enemies are slightly blocky the graphics are fairly solid overall. The backgrounds are varied and manage to impress throughout while the animation on the characters is also very solid. The game is broken up with a number of cut scenes produced with the in-game graphics engine which keeps the look consistant.

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Time to get shooting, quickly.
Sound-wise Vampire Night is on the better end of the scale. As well as standard shooting sounds the action is backed with some atmospheric orchestral music during the cut scenes. Voice acting is another interesting aspect of the title with the development team distorting the vampire sounds to give them a more evil, and slightly mechanical, sound.

Overall, Vampire Night is quite a solid light gun game, but it doesn't quite match up to Namco's Time Crisis II. The load times in this game are a little annoying while the potential team up between Sega and Namco has failed to deliver the masterpiece we were all hoping for. Still, for light gun fans this game should keep you happy, for a while. Recommended.

GRAPHICSAction packed but only a couple of (slightly blocky) enemies at once.
SOUNDStandard shooter noises with good music and interesting voice effects.
GAMEPLAYA good light gun game, but not quite as good as Time Crisis II.
VALUEIt's rather short but hte 2-player mode will have you coming back.
OVERALLWhile this game has fallen short of expectations in regards to a joint Namco/Sega development the game is still very good. The enemies are varied, the graphics and sound solid and there are a couple of different game modes. This game is recommeded to light gun fans.

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