|Vampire Hunter D|
The gameplay is similar to the earlier games in the Resident Evil series; because characters are fully polygonal, whereas the backgrounds are pre-rendered.
Comparable to Resident Evil, the gameplay consists of thoroughly exploring a castle, collecting items, keys, and solving puzzles to progress.
The player character, D, has the ability to walk or run, and can switch between two modes of basic function. Battle mode and search mode. The former mode has D unsheathing his sword, with the ability to use an enemy lock-on mechanic, as well as performing basic attack combos and jump attacks with his sword. The latter mode has D's sword sheathed and allows the player to more easily pick up items and search environmental assets, since D is incapable of attacking with his sword outside of battle mode. D also has the ability to perform a dash attack by running toward an enemy and unsheathing his sword, immediately initiating a powerful sword strike.
There are also defensive maneuvers D can employ. The game features the ability to block, as well as the ability to dodge enemy attacks in three different directions by double tapping D-pad inputs.
D can also use the Left Hand character to absorb enemies after they've been damaged to a certain degree, unleash a powerful magic attack, and use a healing ability. D's Left Hand works on a meter that drains over time, and absorbing enemies fills the meter that allows D to use these specific powers, which can be toggled through in the inventory screen, or by cycling through them with the Select button during gameplay. D can also earn an extra life once the hand's meter is filled, indicated by a hat and cape icon next to the Left Hand's meter. Upon death, D's hand will revive him, as long as this icon was earned.
There are two additional meters tied to D's status. An HP (hit points) meter and a VP (vampire power) meter. The HP meter is his basic health status, while the VP meter governs how strong D's attack power is, and how much health D will recover when he uses blood pills - a healing item found fairly commonly throughout the game.
Vampire Hunter D also employs an aforementioned inventory system. Along with environmental objects, maps, and keys, D can collect sub-weapons to use, such as wooden darts, flash bangs, and hand grenades. D can also collect potions and the aforementioned blood pills. The potions will raise D's HP, but drain his VP. Blood pills will raise both meters. Alternatively, D can raise his VP meter by standing close to enemies and attacking, allowing D to absorb their blood.
Throughout the game, D faces a number of different monsters, mutants and boss characters, and can use his sword and sub-weapons to defeat them. There are also seldom, simple platforming segments.
Vampire Hunter D features three separate endings which can be earned respectively by visiting certain areas, collecting certain items, and making certain decisions throughout the game when prompted to do so. There are also three difficulty modes to choose from, that all vary in the number of healing items D starts with, as well as enemy damage output and enemy health
The story in Vampire Hunter D is similar to that of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which, in turn, is based on the third novel in the series, Demon Deathchase.
Although the game mirrors certain plot points and characters of the film, there are a number of notable and substantial differences. While D is still hired by Charlotte's father to save his daughter from the vampire Meier Link, and the Marcus Brothers are hired for the same job, many events in the film are either skipped over or completely re-contextualized, as the entirety of the gameplay in Vampire Hunter D takes place inside of the Castle of Chaythe, which only becomes a prominent setting in the film towards its final act.
For instance, the Marcus Brothers are hired by Charlotte's father in the game, as opposed to her older brother, as seen in Bloodlust. Charlotte's brother, Alan, does not make an appearance in the game.
Although some of the mutant Barbarois make appearances as boss characters (namely Bengé and Machira), Caroline doesn't make an appearance at all. It is worth noting that a shape shifting mutant with tree-like properties does appear as a basic enemy, however.
The deaths of certain characters that take place in the film are also changed. Borgoff, Kyle, Nolt, and Grove all suffer deaths that are entirely different from those found in the film, with Leila actually shooting and killing Borgoff (in one instance that can play out, based on the player's decisions) after he's become a servant of Carmilla, for example.
There's also a scene in the game in which D's Left Hand becomes severed by Bengé, and the Left Hand and Leila have to search for D after he's been impaled with a stake through the heart by Bengé, after D became weakened by being submitted to an artificial sun found inside the Tower of The Sun in the Castle of Chaythe.
D and Meier Link share a few more fight scenes than what's found in the film, and instead of D destroying Carmilla before her ritual performed on Charlotte is completed, Carmilla transforms into a large monster which D must fight.
There are three separate endings to the game. The best ending slightly resembles the ending of the film, with D and Leila watching as Carmilla's ship takes off with Meier Link and Chartlotte's corpse on board, and Leila stating that she's going to ride back into town with D. However, Leila's funeral doesn't make an appearance, and the scene in the film where D makes a pact with Leila involving bringing flowers to the survivor's grave is never mentioned.
Another ending featured is largely the same as the previous, but instead of Leila stating that she's going to escort D back into town, she mentions that she's going to head north and settle down with someone she knows.
In the worst ending, everyone in the castle dies as it crumbles, and only D makes it out alive, as he mournfully recants the voices of those who have passed.
Regional Differences Edit
Between the North American and Japanese versions of the game, there are a few notable differences that were made.
D's cape in the Japanese version has a muted yellow lining, mirroring that of his costume design in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. In the North American version, D's cape lining is purple.
Enemies also have fairly different placements between both versions. For example, enemies are placed in the main hall in the Japanese version after D picks up the Red Key, being the first enemies you encounter. In the English version, the first enemy is behind the red door in the main hall, where a cutscene plays showing D killing the enemy. This cutscene is absent from the Japanese version.
Certain key items are also placed in different areas. One item in particular, the Green Crystal (an item used in conjunction with another crystal to unlock a door, late-game), is placed after a difficult platforming section in a darkened room of the Castle of Chaythe in the North American version. It's placed near the locked door you use it on in the courtyard, a more accessible area, in the Japanese version.
The differences between the PAL version in relation to the other two versions are currently unknown.
Vampire Hunter D met with generally mixed to poor reception.
Ike Sato of GameSpot criticized the game's control, stating that "One of the main problems with the game is the control. The addition of jump, guard, and strafe functions may sound like a good idea, but it's actually the cause of the problem." In the same review, the game's visuals and animations were also criticized, with the reviewer stating "The motion of D drawing and putting away his sword is good, but many other animations are poor."