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Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption
August 23, 2001 | Michael Eilers

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I’ve written more game previews than I care to remember, but this preview for Vampire: The Masquerade -- Redemption presented a particular problem. Simply stated, the gameplay and plot are so engrossing that I don’t want to give anything away – the sensation of surprise and discovery is so strong that I am reluctant to reveal too much and spoil all the fun. If you really want to walk through this game ‘blind’ then read no further, because a game as complex as this has secrets hidden even in the screen shots. But if you are curious, I’ll try to provide enough to whet your appetite without spoiling the feast to come.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption is a unique game in several respects. Inspired by a pen-and-paper role-playing game of the same name, this engrossing title combines elements from RPGs, adventure games and realtime hack-and-slash that combine to create a horror-inspired (and inspiring) experience. Backed by a rich fictional tapestry of interwoven plot lines and immortal characters, this title will have many surprises for jaded RPG players who think they have seen and done it all.

For those of you whose knowledge of Vampires ends with a few cheesy films and the first few chapters of an Anne Rice novel, this might seem a trivial subject upon which to base a RPG which promises 40 to 60 hours of gameplay. However the mythology of Vampires – also known as The Kindred – has been vastly extended by authors of the pen-and-paper RPG as well as many less-well-known horror authors mining the same vein as Anne Rice. Forget stakes, garlic and bats; these Vampires have a rich and complex existence fraught with danger and a delicate moral balance that requires constant vigilance to maintain. Everything you thought you knew about the realm of the undead was just an introduction to a much wider world full of complex alliances and unspeakable power.

Vampire begins with the character Christof, a Holy Knight sent by the Pope to protect the borders of Europe from evil. Stationed in the town of Prague, which has recently been beset by evil forces, you must equip yourself for battle and do your holy duty – striking down all evil beings and rooting out the source of their damned existence. Spouting virtuous words and swinging a blessed blade, Christof hacks and slashes his way through a mineshaft thick with demon rats, shambling corpses assembled from spare parts and eventually a vampiress of great power. Yet this is only a warm-up for the daunting adventure that will test Christof’s steel and will beyond anything he imagined.

As with most religious Zealots, Christof is blind to the true power and depth of the enemies he faces; by dismissing them as utterly evil he leaves himself vulnerable to attacks from forces he could have avoided had he learned more about them. Thus what happens next comes as no surprise – Christof is transformed into a Vampire, or “embraced,” by the immortal Brujah clan.


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