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Van Helsing was a film, released in 2004 or 2003 , which detailed the story involving Van Helsing (but not that Van Helsing) fighting Dracula (but not that Dracula) and an army of minions, with a crossbow and some holy water and a comic relief monk. It was pretty cool, for its target audience, and absolutely awful for everyone else.
They made a game for it, released in the same year, and it followed the plot pretty closely, although it lacked the presence of the comic relief monk.
The game, a third person shoot-em-up (with crossbows) was released for the PS2 and the Xbox system. It starts out with the London fight against Mr Hyde, then moves into Transylvania and the hunt for Dracula. We also see most of the cast of characters from the film, including Anna Valerious, Velkan Valerious, Igor, Dracula and his three brides.
The game has a very similar style and look as the Devil May Cry games, even featuring a very similar fighting system, which works through constant, flawless attacks and long combos. You get a number of cool weapons throughout, as well as typical life and ammo replenishments and upgrades. You hack and slash your way through loads of enemies including skeletons, skulls, werewolves, more skeletons, flying skulls, bats, vampires and so on.
There's nothing particularly great about this game that hasn't been seen elsewhere. Made just to cash in on the film, the graphics are decent but nothing special and the fighting system you can get on the much more superior Devil May Cry games.
While there's nothing particularly wrong with the game, there's not a great deal going for it. After a while, it gets boring, the cut scenes are pretty much exactly like the film and there's a distinct lack of anything actually interesting happening.
Having never watched the film I was a bit worried I would be at a disadvantage in playing this game however I need not have worried as the game was disappointedly easy to pick up and whilst it was certainly not the worst game that I have played neither was it the best and in the end it was a rather average offering.
Taking on the role of Van Helsing you will encounter a fairly fast paced action game which does have some pretty good boss battles to keep it interesting.
The format of the game is pretty standard and works on a linear platform basis with no real deviation from a succession of enemies to either shoot or stab along the way. The game does have some pretty cool combo moves to help you finish off your enemies in spectacular style.
The controls are pretty easy to master however when playing the game there is a lack of fluency in the movement of the main character that is a bit annoying and feels like a two second time lag is in effect. On the plus side the auto aim function works well and there are always plenty of targets to aim at.
The game also has a few puzzles to solve which does help to break up the constant monotony of the fighting which can become a bit repetitive at times.
The main problem with this game though is that it does not provide a lot of variety and as a result there is also a lack of challenge meaning that the game play is rather short, this makes it ideal in my opinion as a rental but not worth buying.
Visually the game is OK without being spectacular and a good effort is made to recreate the gothic feel of the film judging from the trailers I saw at the cinema.
To summarise this game is probably best as a rental for a couple of days maximum however if you do want to buy it can be bought at Amazon for £13.99 0r as little as £2.49 in the new and used section which is the only price I would consider if buying.