VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE: BLOODLINES

 

   “Police don’t have any suspects at this time, but they’re pretty sure that it was you.” -TV set.

Damned security guard just shot me! Five bullets in the chest! Luckily for me and unluckily for him, a vampire cannot be felled by a few rounds fired from a ‘cap gun’. JeanetteHe seems to be backing away now. I think he has realised his mistake. Shame he is standing in front of the only exit. I suppose I shall have to deal with him… permanently.

A myriad of choices present themselves to me. I could rush him, and tear him apart with claw, or axe, or any number of remorseless weapons; though that might be a bit excessive. I could always shoot him; but where’s the sport in that? I know, I shall use my Thaumaturgy skills: a quick scroll with the mouse-wheel to select the right attack; a quick check on my blood levels, and I am ready. I aim at the man, who is still firing at me, I get him into my sights, activate my attack and watch as his blood boils, he explodes and the corridor is left with a new motif called “hint of night watchman… with brains”. Now that was a far more ‘civilized’ way of finishing the job. The joys of being a “REAL” vampire.

“Every time I yank a jawbone from a skull and ram it into an eyesocket, I know I’m building a better future.” -Smiling Jack.

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The plot is quiet straight forward – at first. Essentially, an  ancient sarcophagus has been found. It is believed to contain an Antediluvian – an ancient and very powerful vampire. The box and its contents have since arrived in Los-Angeles. (This is all happens in 2004.) Some members of the supernatural community see the sarcophagus as their salvation; others as a weapon; and still others as the beginning of the end.

This is were you come in:

Yesterday, you were an ordinary person, today you are a vampire. While you are still trying to get to grips with your new state of ‘unlife’, all hell breaks loose! As every vampire; every clan; every sect; everyone… supernatural or not, scrambles for the sarcophagus and its hidden treasure. Ancient alliances are broken, new ones are formed, betrayal becomes a way of unlife. And you are stuck right in the middle of this ever increasing insanity.

“Ugh! Yes, how foolish of me, that would be the sound, reasonable course of action. A priceless piece of history – by all means run out and pick up some TNT.” -Beckett.

mingVTMB is a very complicated, dynamic, multi-sided beast that cannot be summed up in a few words. So we shall start with the basics.

The game: is a first/third person RPG, where the player can choose from one of seven unique vampire clans, each with their own set of unique skills: invisibility, blood magic, the ability to control minds, and a form of lycanthropy… to name a few.

From there the player immerses themselves into the politics and “day-to-day” activities of vampire society. Starting as a fledgling (new vampire) in Santa-Monica, the player must do jobs, run errands, and complete a plethora of unique and challenging quests; to unlock new skills, make money, get new weapons and items, and ultimately improve your standing within the supernatural community.

Now here comes the interesting part:

Apart from their unique skills, each clan/gender has access to a number of other ‘passive’ abilities that affect the world around them. For example:

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The Nosferatu, being hideous and disfigured, cannot walk down the street as other human-like vampires can. They must stick to crawling around in the sewers. If they do walk on the surface, they can cause panic… which often ends in a bloody and unnecessary battle with police.

Now the Malkavians on the other hand, can walk around amongst humans. However they are insane. Players have often been delighted with the Malkavians ‘space-cadet’ personality. Arguing with road signs, quoting Shakespeare, mumbling apparent nonsense during conversation (which can make questing and shopping a little bit of a challenge), and dressing like a Huggy-Bear reject; are but a few of their traits.

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“Why must all the hoops be on fire?” -Malkavian.

Each clan is unique, with their little quirks making the game more of an interesting challenge… but an enjoyable one. Seven clans; two genders; five endings. I think you – like me – shall be replaying VTMB again, and again, and again….

“Ah, shit, a Malkavian. And you ran into Knox, too? You guys must’ve had quite a conversation. Not a working brain cell between the two of you. Oh well.” -Tung.

poster2152067When it was first released the game was praised for it’s magnificent graphics, it’s thrilling story, it’s replay value, and it’s great music score. However. It failed on many technical levels, these included: players getting stuck inside the environment – particularly doors. Items would be lost within the inventory, quests would fail for no logical reason, NPC’S would fly past, get stuck, and wander off. But the most annoying of all: on a particular critical mission, the game would crash to the desktop when the player tried to complete the quest by boarding a boat. (That last one drove me mad; had five characters sitting there for a month waiting to end the mission.)

Most issues were rectified by creators, Trokia with the 1.2 patch. However they soon went bankrupt and all work and technical support ended. Luckily a few members of the (Vampire) community stepped up and filled the breech. They have since released numerous unofficial fixes, patches, crack and mods. (No more standing in a boat for eternity.)

“What a scene, man! Hoo-wee! Then they just plop ya out here like a naked baby in the woods!” -Smiling Jack.

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It’s old, but it’s good. And thanks to it’s age, VTMB does not require a super computer to play. Anything about a P-3, should work like a charm.

And, unlike many modern games, VTMB does not require an internet connection to run. Nor does it require Steam, Origin or their peers. So for those in developing nations (who like vampires) it is a must have.

It has been out for almost a decade. You can still find it in shops on occasion. Or you can search the web. Whatever you do, get yourself a copy as soon as you can. You’ll never regret unlife as a “real” vampire.

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“Anyone who’d lay it down for some cape in an ivory tower deserves what they get.”- Damsel.

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