games / Columns

The Top 8 Vampire Video Games

April 11, 2023 | Posted by Marc Morrison
V Rising Image Credit: Stunlock Studios

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about games with vampires in them, either you play as a vampire or they are the main enemies in the game. The big game not on this list, because I haven’t played it, is Vampire Survivors, so I really can’t comment on whether it’s good or not. Let’s begin:

#8: DARK

DARK, which is a stupid way to capitalize a name, is objectively a bad game. The vampire stuff is semi-alright but it’s a stealth game with busted AI and frequent bugs that get in the way of actually playing the game. So, the game is pretty terrible. Why is it on this list? Well, for the video above. One of my favorite singers, Sonja Kraushofer, did a special song for it. This is literally the only actual reason to play the game, which you don’t even need to do, since the song is obviously on Youtube.

#7: V Rising

V Rising might actually be higher on this list but it’s still in Early Access. The only real knock against it is that it doesn’t really have a single player/story campaign. Like, the game just kind of throws you into the survival mode, which is fun, but I’d like to actually get some narrative out of the game. That said, it’s still a great little vampire Sims/survival game. You can build your initial nest then transition it to a castle once you got enough materials and recipes unlocked. Combat is good, sunlight is deadly and it’s a pretty interesting game.

#6: Vampyr

Vampyr kind of takes the novel approach of the main character not wanting to be a vampire. He doesn’t really want to be a vampire and the best ending in the game is unlocked by feeding on the blood of basically no one. It has kind of a cool setting/look to being in a heavily desaturated version of London just after World War 1. While it doesn’t suffer nearly the same problems as DARK does, it’s still not that fun to play, specifically when it comes to combat. You’ll just kind of do the same moves over and over and not a lot changes over the actual course of the game.

#5: Bloodrayne

Bloodrayne is almost the definition of a B-movie game. The heroine is highly goofy, but unaware of it, unlike say Bayonetta. Combat is good, but not great, but the melding of World War 2 and vampires is pretty fun and has been used in countless B-movies before. The only knock against it is that it can get pretty brutally hard near the end of the game. Like, I don’t think I finished it, because of how unfair it gets. Oh, the character is also a pretty blatant rip-off of a 2000AD character named “Durham Red”, even if the creators of Bloodrayne have said this wasn’t the case.

#4: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

Eh, in not all of these games do you play as the vampire, and in this game you hunt them down. Based on the TV show, with most of the show cast reprising their video game counterparts, aside from actually Buffy, this was actually a pretty solid licensed game for its era. You beat up vampires as Buffy but you had to stake them in order to prevent them from restoring their health and coming back after you. There was a sequel called Chaos Bleeds, but it wasn’t quite as good due to an over-reliance on playing other characters like Angel, Willow and Sid the Dummy (yes really).

#3: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

This is kind of the impetus for this column, I literally just picked up a boxed copy of the game over the past week. This copy is a bit rarer than the usual one because it included the soundtrack to the game, with the licensed music, so that’s alright. There are parts about Bloodlines that I really love, the moral choices, the writing, just exploring the world and so on. But combat is a bit janky and the game, especially on launch, was a buggy mess. It’s been majorly fixed due to fan patches in the almost 20 years it’s been out, but even now it still feels a bit clunky. Still, the game is one of a kind and something I don’t think Bloodlines 2 is going to match at all.

#2: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

This is still a wildly creative and interesting game. Playing the fallen vampire, Raziel, you were cast down into the Lake of the Dead by Kain for the crime of evolving faster than he did and growing wings. With your wings largely destroyed and your character hugely disfigured, your main goal is revenge against Kain. There is a hugely involved backstory that the later games really delve into, especially with time travel nonsense, but the first Soul Reaver game remains a largely pure and superb experience. You can shift between the material (real) and spectral (ghost) realms, which affect how the world looks and helps with puzzle solving, combat is good and the world is intriguing. My only tip for the game is try to play it, if not all in one go, as quickly as possible. There’s no map or journal system in it, so if you play for a while then take a long break, you are largely screwed on trying to remember where to go or what to do next.

#1: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

While not a wholly traditional vampire game, you still tick off a ton of the vampire checkboxes in this game. You don’t explicitly drink blood but there are some enemies that bleed and you can regain health by absorbing their blood when a spell is active. You’re able to transform into a bat, wolf or mist, which largely helps with traversal. Plus, you literally play as the son of Dracula, how much more vampire do you need to get? I think I own at least 4 or 5 copies of this game on various systems and I only really need to track down the Japanese Sega Saturn port to complete the main collection of it.

For comments, list your favorite vampire games and why.

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