One year ago Chillingo sent us a teaser about their upcoming 3D adventure shooter Vampire Origins. Today, the game finally went live in the App Store.
Vampire Origins is a macabre 3D shooter reminiscent of Alone in the Dark and early Resident Evil titles. The backdrops are pre-rendered and your character, his enemies, and various special items are rendered as 3D objects within the backdrop setting. You move from screen to screen in this fashion, and the transitions are quick, but there's no scrolling of the backdrop of any sort.
The story that ties it all together, well rendered in cartoon-style cut scenes, did have me anxious to see how things turn out. The typical battle scenarios are fine. With an onscreen stick and button, you move through the various screens, shooting enemies with a tap (auto-target or tap-the-enemy), utilizing various weapons that can be picked up along the way. While you can use the on-screen button to auto-fire, I found tap-firing directly on the enemies to be more accurate.
What's not so good are the sort-of boss-sequence fights that, while making for the best static screenshots, actually involve basically zero play skill. When you go up against a powerful villain, you watch a lovely, cinematic fight sequence -- but basically only have to trace a line in the indicated direction to perform your attacks. It feels completely detached from the action and runs on for too long.
The forum response to the game has been rather negative, which I believe is based mostly on high expectations for the long build-up for the game, and the seemingly dated gameplay. Personally, having had a historical fondness to this sort of formula from early Playstation games, I actually enjoyed the gameplay setting and found the adventure sequences to be well done. That said, I can see how it would seem dated, and tap to shoot mechanic is almost never a positive. In the end, however, the game was fine, but not great which makes it hard to recommend at the $6.99 launch price.
App Store Link: Vampire Origins, $6.99