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Publisher: MacSoft    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: G3 @ 300 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 765 MB    8x CD-ROM    Graphics: 640x480 @ 16-bit

Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption
January 28, 2002 | Brian Rumsey

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Vampires have been a staple of the fantasy world for an extremely long time. They are found in many computer games. Any RPG fan probably has at least a few memories of confronting these dread creatures. However, rarely does one have the chance to actually play a vampire. MacSoft has provided Mac gamers with this chance by porting Vampire: The Masquerade to the Mac. As its name suggests, vampires are nearly anywhere you turn in this game.

Vampire is an adventure/roleplaying game which has elements reminiscent of many other games. Two of which especially come to mind are Summoner and Diablo. The world-view in Vampire is similar to that of Summoner, that features a 3/4 third-person view. Vampire’s inventory management and combat functions are reminiscent of Diablo. Despite these similarities, however, Vampire is no clone of either game.

The computer game of Vampire: The Masquerade is actually based on a tabletop RPG by the same name. The original tabletop game has a highly developed world, which has carried over into the computer version. Vampire is more strongly story-driven than your average RPG. Much of the story is centered on various clans of vampires and their relations with each other. This background would not have been there without the tabletop game, and while it would have been possible for the designers of Vampire to come up with the story lines as they built the rest of the game, I doubt that their results would have been quite as impressive.

Starting the game, you are shown some cut scenes to set the stage. Playing Christof, a crusader in medieval Europe, you find yourself in Prague. Your mission has been to fight evil, and you do it well. However, not far into the game, things take quite a turn. One of the earlier mentioned clans of vampires, the Brujah, have noticed your impressive feats and decide that you could be of use to their clan. Therefore, they “embrace” you, or turn you into a vampire. This event is unavoidable, and in fact necessary in the wider scope of the game. Once you have become a vampire, you are not inherently evil, but life as a vampire certainly is not the same as your former existence. In the game, you generally must do what your clan leaders order, while trying to maintain some element of humanity.

The interface of Vampire is not hard to learn. Basically, clicking on a location on the screen will cause your party to go to that location if possible. You click on items to pick them up, on switches, doors and such to operate them, and on enemies to fight them. Fighting can be a bit more complex than regular movement, because you can have up to four vampires in your party, yet you can only control one at a time. The others are controlled by the computer. The computer’s AI is not always the brightest, sometimes casting unneeded disciplines (spells) or attacking an unimportant enemy when the big bad guy is close at hand. The weak AI does go both ways, though, so you can sometimes find ways to take advantage of it when fighting your enemies. The casting of disciplines can require a little bit of interface navigation, but that is pretty much unavoidable when you have many disciplines available to you.

The graphics of Vampire are definitely a high point. The 3D engine, though a couple years old now, renders the graphics beautifully. Most of the game takes place at night (naturally, since vampires can not stand sunlight), letting the lighting effects literally shine. Detail is good although not exceptional. One complaint I do have about the graphics is that even though they look great, they are often no more than that: looks. What I mean is that you will see numerous doors, stairways, and areas which you simply can not access, even though they look like they should be functional.


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