Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines last edited by Mento on 01/03/20 07:45PM View full history

Overview

Jeanette
Jeanette

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is an Action RPG/first person shooter hybrid developed by now-defunct Troika Games and published by Activision. It was released exclusively for the PC.

Bloodlines is based on White Wolf's pen-and-paper role playing game Vampire: The Masquerade set in a universe known as the World of Darkness. Similar in depth and atmosphere to Deus Ex and with a dialogue system similar to later Bioware RPGs, Bloodlines has been described by many as "Deus Ex with vampires." Although Bloodlines divided critics at the time of release, it retains a popular cult following.

Though initially suffering from many bugs and balance issues, most problems have since been resolved through a series of fan-made patches.

Licensing and Delays

Bloodlines was one of the first games to use Valve's Source engine. One condition of this early licensing, however, was that Bloodlines could not be released prior to Half Life 2. Due to Half Life 2's numerous delays, Bloodlines sat completed for close to a year.

By the time the game was released, White Wolf had replaced the edition of the Vampire: The Masquerade pen-and-paper game on which it was based with Vampire: The Requiem (in which White Wolf had merged The Masquerade and Dark Ages), the original now obsolete. Since The Requiem, all White Wolf pen-and-paper games require the same "World of Darkness" base book.

Plot

The story of Vampire Bloodlines begins with the protagonist's "embracing" as a vampire one night. Apparently there are rules for these things, and polite vampire society does not approve. The protagonist and the one who sired them are taken prisoner on Prince Lacroix's orders and sentenced to death by public execution. Before the protagonist's sentence is carried out however, Anarch vampire Nines Rodriguez intervenes and Lacroix decides to spare their life, for now.

Lacroix
Lacroix
Nines
Nines

Outside they are met by Smiling Jack who offers to show them the ropes and explain what this whole vampire thing is about. The player can ignore him if they want and go straight to their new home. Either way the two will meet again...

From this point on the protagonist is the Prince's errand boy (or girl). They're sent to Santa Monica to blow up a warehouse belonging to a rival faction of vampires, the Sabbat. The ghoul (a human in the service of vampires) Mercurio gives the protagonist instructions and equipment, but before completing the mission the protagonist becomes deeply embroiled in local politics. A feud between the baroness of Santa Monica, Therese Voerman, and Bertram Tung, the one vampire who can get access to the warehouse, threatens to jeopardize the entire mission. There are a few favors that can be done for Therese and her sister, Jeanette, but it soon becomes clear there's is something strange about the twins.

Sisters fighting.
Sisters fighting.

Eventually the player learns that Therese and Jeanette are one and the same person and with their 'conflict' resolved the protagonist can finally able to meet the Nosferatu, Tung, and take care of the warehouse.

The mission completed, the protagonist returns to Downtown LA where the Prince is surprised to see them still alive. Unfazed, he sends them off on further missions.

It is at this point that the "Ankaran Sarcophagus" enters into the story. An ancient relic unearthed in Turkey, it is carried to The States on the Elizabeth Dane, but the crew have mysteriously disappeared and the Prince wants to find out what happened.

The Prince is troubled.
The Prince is troubled.

There are rumors that the sarcophagus contains an ancient vampire, an Antideluvian. Some think it will bring on the Apocalypse (Gehenna) while others see it as a potential source of power.

In the meantime, the protagonist makes the acquaintance of their savior, Nines, and his band of Anarchs. No shortage of politics here either. There is little love lost between them and the Prince, who represents the Camarilla, the self-appointed governing body of vampires.

There are others though even within the Camarilla, like regent Strauss, who are less than thrilled with the Prince's leadership...

Grout Mansion
Grout Mansion

After returning from The Dane they are sent to look for Dr Alistair Grout, an important Malkavian vampire who seems to have disappeared. They find him murdered in his bed. Nines Rodriguez, who is seen leaving the scene, is blamed for the murder and goes in hiding.

By this point the sarcophagus has been taken to the Natural History Museum. The Prince is keen to get his hands on it, so the protagonist is sent to retrieve it. Unfortunately they are too late as the sarcophagus has been stolen. Lacroix is furious and sends the protagonist to Hollywood to see the Nosferatu and find out who else knew about the sarcophagus... but the Nosferatu are nowhere to be found. Something is keeping them hidden in their sewers.

Ming Xiao
Ming Xiao

With the help of Isaac, the local Anarch baron, the player finds out a Tzmisce vampire has been hunting them down with hideous deformed creatures. Once these abominations have been neatly dispatched, they meet Gary Golden, leader of the Nosferatu who offers to trade them the information they want in return for their help.

The protagonist must go to Chinatown and find a missing Nosferatu by the name of Barabus. Upon arrival they are welcomed by Ming Xiao, the mysterious high-priestess of the Kuei-Jin. She gives them permission to conduct their search, but offers little assistance beyond that. They eventually find the Nosferatu a prisoner in a testing facility designed to research vampires.

The protagonist breaks out and Gary informs them that the sarcophagus is held at the mansion of the Giovanni, an old Italian vampire family. Once there, they are confronted by Kuei-Jin warriors who claim an alliance with Prince Lacroix, which the Prince later denies. The protagonist returns with the sarcophagus, but the one man who knows how to open it, the archaeologist Johansen, has been kidnapped by the witch-hunter Society of Leopold to be used as bait for Lacroix.

Trouble at Griffith Park
Trouble at Griffith Park

The protagonist goes to his rescue and find out the sarcophagus requires a key, but in their absence the Prince's headquarters is attacked by the Sabbat. They're sent to their hideout, Hallowbrook Hotel, to retaliate. Back on the streets, they run into Ming Xiao who reveals it was she who killed Grout, using her shape-shifting ability to appear as Nines. Despite this she expresses a hope that when again they meet "it will be as friends".

When Lacroix learns of this he asks the protagonist to seek out Nines and negotiate a truce to join forces against the Kuei-Jin. Nines has been hiding out in Griffith Park. The protagonist finds him, but someone follows them there and starts a fire which draws the attention of the local werewolves. Nines is caught by one of the beasts and the player barely makes it out themselves.

Unseen...
Unseen...

Fearing the protagonist may be becoming too powerful, the Prince turns and calls a "Blood Hunt" on them. An old friend Jack takes the protagonist to their apartment in Santa Monica and from there they have to make their way through packs of bloodthirsty vampires to a taxi that will take them "where they feel most safe".

Nines, it turns out, is still alive. The protagonist can side with him, with the Kuei-Jin, the Camarilla (Strauss), the Prince, or even decide to be their own boss. Depending on which side they choose, they first go to fetch the key to the sarcophagus in Chinatown, then return to finish off the Prince, OR fight only one of the two.

The fate of the sarcophagus and the city is in the player's hands...

Gameplay

Appropriately Gothic
Appropriately Gothic

The player assumes the role of a newly sired vampire, whose abilities, vampire clan, character history, and gender are determined by the player at the beginning of the game by either choosing from a list or completing a questionnaire. Gameplay consists of exploring the environment, conversing with characters, and engaging in combat. Many of the characters encountered during the game provide quests that must be completed in order to advance the story, though many of the quests are optional. Combat consists of using firearms and melee weapons to engage humans, vampires, and other supernatural creatures. A first person perspective is used during firearm based combat, while a third person perspective is utilized for melee combat.

Sewers of Santa Monica.
Sewers of Santa Monica.

Depending on how the player defines their character, they will have access to several vampiric abilities. The use of these abilities is governed by the amount of blood a player has in reserve. Every time one of the abilities is used, a certain amount of blood is consumed. When a player's blood reserves are depleted, they may no longer use their vampiric abilities. In order to replenish blood reserves, the player must seek out unsuspecting humans on which to prey (or unsuspecting rats if that's their thing).

One of the interesting concepts employed in Bloodlines is the Masquerade system. Vampires prize secrecy because they recognize that their lives are much easier if humans do not believe that they exist. For the sake of this secrecy, the Masquerade system discourages socially unacceptable vampire behavior. For example, the player is punished for engaging in activity like feeding in the middle of a busy street or conspicuously displaying feats of superhuman strength or speed. Conversely, the player is rewarded for engaging in activities the help preserve "the Masquerade."

The seedy side of LA.
The seedy side of LA.

Bloodlines has considerable replay-ability due to the many choices the player is given as they progress through the game. Rich dialogue options give the player control over how their character interacts with others, and many of the dialogue choices help determine the direction of the game's story. The game's quest can often be completed in multiple ways. For example, when tasked with retrieving an item, the player might obtain the item by talking someone into giving it to them, stealthily stealing it, or resorting to violence. Clan selection (described below) can also have a profound effect on the game experience.

Clans

Clans in Bloodlines function in similarly to classes in other RPGs. They determine the strengths and weakness of the character, as well as their disciplines, a form of vampire powers. The game plays very differently depending on the chosen class. The clans are:

ClansClan Information
Brujah
Brujah
They're a bunch of malcontents. They get pumped up by rousing the rabble they keep around them, like that's hard. Nothing breeds faster than contempt, and that's what the Brujah are all about. Jealousy and contempt.
- Bertram Tung

A Brujah is often violent and hot headed, and they are counted among the best vampire fighters. They fight well, but never without a cause, so they also often fight for noble goals like social equality among the living undead. The Anarch political movement which is spread throughout California is mostly made up of Brujah members and some Gangrel that choose to leave their solitude. The name Brujah is derived from the Spanish word for witchcraft (Brujería)

  • Disciplines: Celerity, Potence, Presence.
  • Advantages: +1 to all Brawl skill.
  • Disadvantages: - 2 to frenzy checks.
Gangrel
Gangrel
They fancy themselves loners and drifters, running around the countryside and barking at the moon. Hmph. It's all just an act. Gangrel can walk upright, they just choose not to.
-Bertram Tung

Gangrel, like the Brujah, are among the best vampire fighters. Unlike the Brujah, they're ferocity stems from their animalistic instinct and rage, rather than anarchic anger. Gangrel are loners and they prefer solitude, they're also the closest to nature and the beast than all the other vampire clans.

  • Disciplines: Protean (unique to this clan), Fortitude, Animalism.
  • Advantages: +5 to strength, wits and stamina when in a frenzy.
  • Disadvantages: -1 to frenzy checks.
Malkavian
Malkavian
Malkavians are, uh... interesting. There's something to them. Learning to sort the wisdom from the bullshit can be some work and, uh, not all of them are worth listening to, but, uh, they're all good fun if you ask me.
-Bertram Tung
Malkavians are all clinically insane; the mental illnesses they suffer range from schizophrenia to near-catatonia. Most vampires tend to avoid them (though not as much as the Nosferatu), but some wiser vampires keep a Malkavian nearby because behind the madness Malkavians exhibit insight, wisdom and even the ability to predict events.
  • Disciplines: Demention (unique to this clan), Auspex, Obfuscate.
  • Advantages: +2 to inspection feat.
  • Disadvantages: Penalties to all negotiations, insane.
Nosferatu
Nosferatu
The Nosferatu are damn good at what we do; no one even argues that. If you need to know, if you want it found, you come to us. We're indispensable; not a bad place to be in the afterlife.
-Bertram Tung

The damnedest of the damned, the Nosferatu are disfigured and have a frightening appearance. This means that they can only use sewers, and should they be seen by humans they will violate the masquerade. Due to this however, the Nosferatu have become very gifted at sneaking and hacking, which means they have information on almost everything and everyone. They gather information not only as a means of survival, but out of pure pleasure as well. The Nosferatu are ostracized by other vampires due to their appearance, but also their ability to dig up dirt on everyone. This doesn't stop the leaders of other vampire clans to come to them when they need information however.

  • Disciplines: Obfuscate, Animalism, Potence.
  • Advantages: More blood points gained from rats.
  • Disadvantages: Disfigured, unable to travel above ground lest they endanger the masquerade.
Toreador
Toreador
Hmph. I don't rub elbows with the pretty bloodsuckers much, but I've seen them work people like puppeteers and that's admirable. Now if only they'd get off their slimy asses and put their talent to some use besides feeding their egos.
-Bertram Tung

While other vampires can travel through human society, and even blend in, the Toreador do it flawlessly and effortlessly. They are the closest to humans in appearance, they enjoy being in the center of the spotlight, and having mortals admire them. They're also the best manipulators and can easily get kine to do what they want. The Toreador are creatures of beauty and passion, and most of them were musicians, artists and poets in their mortal lives.

  • Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Presence.
  • Advantages: Humanity rewards doubled, cost of acquiring humanity through XP halved.
  • Disadvantages: Humanity penalties doubled.
Tremere
Tremere
Mages. I don't have any reason to trust 'em. They're creepy and I think they like it that way. But to be honest, I don't hear much about the Tremere. There's a few in LA but all in all there's not that many of them.
-Bertram Tung
The Tremere are a clan of mages, spellcasters, warlocks, who use magics that they learned while living, in undeath. They are considered to be back-stabbers by other vampire clans. The Tremere as a clan are insular and secretive. While they are hated by many, this hate has not exceeded the usefulness of these vampire mages. They have helped the Camarilla on many occasions, and even saved Kindred as a whole from the Inquisition.
  • Disciplines: Thaumaturgy (unique to this clan), Auspex, Dominate.
  • Advantages: Access to the Thaumaturgy discipline.
  • Disadvantages: Physical attributes can't be increased beyond four.
Ventrue
Ventrue
They get a bad rap if you ask me. Everyone likes to take shots at the man in charge, but when it comes to getting the job done, the Ventrue know how to step up. They can take the heat.
-Bertram Tung

The ruling class, the nobility, aristocracy, company CEOs, wealthy individuals, politicians -- it's these people that make up the Ventrue clan. They ruled in life, and they rule in undeath as well. The Ventrue clan is the head of the Camarilla and members of this clan often become the "princes" or rulers of major cities. They move in the same high circles as the Toreadors, but unlike the Toreadors, Ventrue love to be in charge and they take on the burden of leadership stoically. The Camarilla as well as the Ventrue clan are hated with a passion by the Brujah and Gangrel clans, due to Ventrue desire to rule over all kindred.

  • Disciplines: Dominate, Fortitude, Presence.
  • Advantages: Can use dominate during conversations.
  • Disadvantages: When feeding on lowborns (homeless and prostitutes) they have a chance to vomit blood, and can't feed on rats.

Weapons and Armor

Weapons can be categorized as melee weapons and ranged weapons there are also special weapons like the flamethrower and fragmentation grenade. Melee weapons can be divided into blade and blunt, with blunt weapons being effective against humans and gargoyles and blade weapons against everyone.

As in most RPGs and video games in general, players will find better and better weapons as they progress through the game.

It is often suggested by players to choose the path of either melee or ranged weapons, but by farming those XP points the player will have more than they need. Melee weapons are better in the beginning, and with Bloodbuff the damage can be boosted further. But ranged weapons deal superior damage, with the drawback that early ranged weapons are rather weak and there aren't too many enemies that use ranged weapons, making ammo scarce (although it's always possible to buy ammo).

Weapons have different values associated with them like combat requirement, lethality, feat adjustment, base damage etc. Below is a list of weapon values or attributes and their purpose.

  • Melee Combat Requirement - The amount required to use a weapon effectively, inflict normal damage. This amount is determined by the combat feat. For example if a melee weapon has a combat requirement of 4, and the character has 3 strength and 3 melee, their combat feat for melee weapons would be 6, satisfying the requirement.
  • Ranged Combat Requirement - Same as melee, but for ranged weapons.
  • Feat Adjustment - The difference between the combat feat and the melee/ranged combat requirement. If a weapon has 3 in the combat requirement and the protagonist has a combat feat of 5 then the feat adjustment would be 2. This difference will be directly added to a lethality of a weapon.
  • Lethality - How difficult it is for enemies to defend against attacks.
  • Base Damage - The absolute minimum amount of damage a weapon will inflict.
  • Damage Potential - The maximum amount of damage a weapon will inflict.
  • Fire Rate, Range, Reload Speed - Exclusive to ranged weapons, rather self explanatory.

Melee Weapons

WeaponWeapon Description
Police Baton
Police Baton
A police baton
- In-game Description

I don't understand how anyone could preform any kind of brutality with a weapon this weak.

The weakest melee weapon that can be acquired. Law-abiding players are unlikely to ever see this weapon as it's only carried by police officers. And even then, they'll have to get in melee range in order for them to equip the baton.

Tire Iron
Tire Iron
Heavy, metal, blunt. Could be used for fixing a flat, sure.
- In-game Description

A mechanic huh? Should have finished high-school... that weapon is useless.

The second weakest melee weapon, and likely the first one found during the tutorial.

Baseball Bat
Baseball Bat
Once the signature cracks of this equipment conjured the images of America's pastime. Now, it has evolved into a brutal chorus of a thugsong.
- In-game Description

The extortion weapon of choice.

The third weakest melee weapon. Like the tire iron it can be found during the tutorial, or if not, from the thugs that robbed Mercurio. Often carried by thugs.

Knife
Knife
Some knives, throughout their entire existence, are never used for any malicious purpose. This ain't one of them.
- In-game Description

Slash, slash, thrust, thrust.

The first bladed weapon that can be found. It's given to the fledgling by Jeanette for the purpose of slashing paintings at the local gallery. Carried by Kuei Jin, various thugs.

Severed Arm
Severed Arm
Although the previous owner probably misses it, you can still put it to good use.
- In-game Description

This weapon is the giant purple dildo of the Masquerade series.

A unique melee weapon, and probably the first blunt weapon the player will encounter. It's obtained during the quest A Bounty For the Hunter.

Shin Gunto
Shin Gunto
This is the mass produced version of the Japanese katana. Not as effective as a real one but quite dangerous nonetheless.
- In-game Description

In the unofficial "plus" patch version of the game, this weapon can be acquired early on, during the mission Hunted Hunter. In other versions it can be obtained in Chinatown, which is pretty late in the game.

Fire Axe
Fire Axe
Truly, a weapon for madmen. Who else would attack fire with a blade?
- In-game Description

Carried mostly by serial killers and other lunatics.

If playing in the basic or official patch version, this will be the melee weapon likely used throughout the majority of the game. It's also a very fun weapon. Obtained in Downtown LA, from Fat Larry.

Sledgehammer
Sledgehammer
A heavy hammer ostensibly used for construction. Great for getting that song out of someone's head, as well as anything else inside.
- In-game Description

The sledgehammer, when it hits, hits like a train, a pretty slow weapon however. Can be obtained from the clerk at the Red Spot in Hollywood.

Bush Hook
Bush Hook
Primarily used by gardeners, when used for intents other than its original purpose, the results are frequently gory.
- In-game Description

The brush hook is a blade weapon, and a rather good one. Unfortunately, it needs to be bought before it can be used, which won't make any sense since katanas are available when this weapon first appears. Shame, it looks fun to use.

Katana
Katana
A light, slightly curved traditional Japanese sword designed for quick slashing attacks. To Kindred, a competent swordsman is far more dangerous than a sharpshooter.
- In-game Description

The weapon of the feared Japanese master swordsmen in the Yakuza.

The second best weapon in the game. Bought in Chinatown from Tseng's or obtained from various Tong.

Torch
Torch
For when you want to get medieval on someone's ass.
- In-game Description
If it's not enough to cut and hit an opponent, then fire is the answer.
This is where the torch comes in. Obtainable only from hunters at the Society of Leopold monastery. Deals aggravated damage, but the best melee weapon is, obviously, far superior to this gimmicky plaything.
Tal'mahe'Ra Blade
Tal'mahe'Ra Blade
This sword was forged by the Tal'mahe'Ra, a vanished sect of Kindred that purportedly ventured into the lands of the dead. It seems unnaturally light and causes aggravated damage.
- In-game Description

When having a normal weapon just ain't enough.

A unique weapon, found in the Hollowbrook Hotel, near the end of the game. Similar to a katana in appearance and potential, with a blackened hilt and blade, this is the ultimate melee weapon. It deals the same amount of damage to the katana, and is almost identical, what sets it apart is the aggravated damage bit. Useful for vampire head-hunting.

Ranged Weapons

WeaponWeapon Description
Colt Police Positive Special (Thirty Eight)
Colt Police Positive Special (Thirty Eight)
This is a cheap, small-caliber handgun used by start-up goods in alleys across the country. Also known as a purse gun.
- In-game Description

Also known as peashooter, it wouldn't be unfair to call it useless.

The Colt Police Positive Special is the first ranged weapon the player receives, given by Smiling Jack.

Ithaca M37 (Uthica M37)
Ithaca M37 (Uthica M37)
The 12 gauge M37 is designed for close quarters use as a home defense weapon. Tried and true service for military and law enforcement the M37 features all metal parts and a a bottom feed and ejector for both righties and lefties. It has moderate recoil and is fairly light for ease of use.
- In-game Description

A shotgun blast to the head is never a good thing. Well, unless the protagonist is the one who's doing the shooting.

Ithaca M37 is the second ranged weapon the player finds, much better than that peashooter up there, but only at close range. It also has a very long reload time.

Crossbow
Crossbow
A modern variant of the ancient Chinese weapon. Fires silently, but has to cocked before each shot.
- In-game Description

Crossbows, what's not to like.

In the unofficial "plus" patch version of the game, the crossbow is likely to be the second or third ranged weapon picked up. It's stealthy, it's cool and it inflicts decent damage. Unfortunately, there's a short (or long depending on the distance between the target and crossbow) delay due to the bolt's flight. If playing the basic or official patch version of the game, this weapon can be found in Chinatown, by which point the weapon becomes largely useless.

Glock 19 (Brokk 17c)
Glock 19 (Brokk 17c)
A 9 mm standard pistol with a polymer grip and guide rod (instead of metal) that makes it lighter than other pistols. It can be found in use by most law enforcement agencies.
- In-game Description

No, turning a gun sideways does not make anyone look cool, it just makes it less accurate.

Glock 19, made famous by the many law enforcement movies, it even became popular on the other side of the fence. Used by police officers and can be bought from Fat Larry in Downtown LA.

Ingram MAC-10 (Braddock 9mm)
Ingram MAC-10 (Braddock 9mm)
A small, light machine pistol that fires a 9 mm pistol round, not made for accuracy as much as to deliver the largest amount of ordinance in the shortest period of time. Bursts are more accurate but due to the high cyclic rate and low weight of the weapon, it is still seen as mainly a "spray and pray" gun.
- In-game Description

Fast-firing, check. Damage...Accuracy...Value? Worthless. No wonder gang-bangers like them so much.

MAC 10, the first automatic weapon that will be stumbled upon, sold by either Larry or found during the Traffik quest. Due to the incredible inaccuracy and low damage, it probably won't see much use... unless someone's intending to imitate a gangbanger.

No Caption Provided
The SPAS-15 semi-automatic shotgun looks and fires more like an assault rifle than a traditional shotgun. It delivers bursts of deadly shot at a devastating pace. The SPAS-15 has both semi-automatic and pump action functionality.
- In-game Description

Automatic shotgun? Automatic shotgun.

Franchi SPAS-15 is the first truly good weapon to find or rather, unfortunately, buy from Mercurio, and it can be used all the way through to the endgame. For any player planning on using ranged weapons it's well worth the price. Mercurio sells it after the Elizabethan Rendezvous quest.

Remington 24SWS
Remington 24SWS
This is a standard tactical rifle most commonly employed by SWAT teams. It features a 20X scope to pick beads of sweat off the target's forehead.
- In-game Description

Intended for big game hunting.

Remington 24 SWS was added in the unofficial "plus" patch version of the game. Can be either bought from Mercurio or taken off Grunfeld Bach. Not as good as Jamie Sue in the unpatched version of the game, but still very lethal.

Colt Anaconda
Colt Anaconda
A .44 magnum revolver. Feelin' lucky, punk? A large caliber monster with the power to stop almost anyone dead in his tracks. Alternate Fire Mode: Fan.
- In-game Description

They stole my line.

The Colt Anaconda is the second best handgun in the game and can be bought from the clerk at Red Spot, a worthwhile investment for a gun user. The alternate fire mode, fan, makes short work of crowds.

Remington M700 (Jamie Sue)
Remington M700 (Jamie Sue)
This is a standard rifle for sport hunting. It has to be reloaded after each shot.
- In-game Description

The Remington 700 was unbalanced in the officially patched version of the game, the alternate fire mode was zoom-in. While in this mode one shot to almost all enemies would bring them down.

IMI Uzi (Lassiter Killmatic)
IMI Uzi (Lassiter Killmatic)
The Uzi was developed to be reliable and compact gun, robust enough to take a lot of punishment, and accurate enough to dish out in a hurry. The ergonomic design of the Uzi was one of the first to incorporate wrap-around bolt and blowback action and to contain the magazine housing inside the pistol grip for quick and easy reloads. Limited recoil and climb make one handed firing feasible.
- In-game Description

The Uzi is far superior to the MAC-10. Unfortunately, it's almost useless by the time it can be acquired in Chinatown.

No Caption Provided
This heavy gun was originally designed as a sport pistol for target shooting competitions. Due to the intimidating look of this massive .50 cal, it has been adopted as a favorite in movies and on TV shows as the all-purpose Big Gun. The Desert Eagle is one of the few gas-operated handguns ever produced, and one of the most powerful and heavy pistols available on the market.
- In-game Description

Anyone up for Counter-Strike?

Desert Eagle is first obtained at Society of Lepold, can be bought from Tseng's shop. Don't really have to say much else, do I?

Steyr AUG AI (Steyr AUG)
Steyr AUG AI (Steyr AUG)
Even if the Steyr AUG AI was lackluster as a weapon it would still have a lot going for it aesthetically, but this lightweight Austrian assault rifle has proved reliable and effective, making it a popular weapon in militaries around the world. A 4X scope is attached for improved accuracy.
- In-game Description

The Steyr AUG is a gun well known for it's reliability and accuracy. Used by many elite law enforcement agencies as well as many militaries around the world, its a gun that has a good reputation, and rightfully so. Great firing speed, good accuracy and range, and pretty good damage for a ranged weapon. Can be obtained from the hunters at Society of Leopold or bought from various vendors late in the game.

Flamethrower
Flamethrower
Flamethrowers, in one form or another, have been used since ancient times. This one propels burning fuel in a several-foot arc, scorching everything in its path.
- In-game Description

Why use a flamethrower? Oh right, vampires.

Pretty good against bosses, obtainable from Hollowbrook Hotel or bought from Mercurio. Great against vampires in general, but has a small clip and ammo reserve.

Dragon's Breath
Dragon's Breath
In accordance with the protocol to the Geneva Convention of 1983 the use of phosphorous munitions in populated areas is prohibited. This sawed off shotgun fires them nevertheless.
- In-game Description
The Sawed-off was added in the unofficial "plus" patch version of the game, this weapon replaces the pyro crossbow from the vanilla version. It takes out almost any enemy in two shots, which reduces the negative aspect of a pretty long reload time.
Fragmentation Grenade
Fragmentation Grenade
Pull pin for fun and profit.
- In-game Description

The fragmentation or frag grenade was, again, added in the unofficial "plus" patch version of the game. It is given to the player by Nines Rodriguez if the player chooses to side with the Anarchs at the end of the game. Unfortunately it's severely bugged, making it useless.

Armor

Armor serves the same purpose in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines as it does in, well, every other game. Protection from bodily harm. The armor however can only be bought, and it can't be sold or dropped. Also, each piece of armor changes the actual clothing on the character, and the appearance of the armor is unique to each clan.

ArmorArmor Description
Light Clothing
Light Clothing
This is the most basic and unrestrictive clothing. Examples would be t-shirts, khakis, sun dresses and pleated skirts.
- In-game Description

What protection? This is the starting gear.

Heavy Clothing
Heavy Clothing
This is a set of heavy clothing, which acts as armor. Heavy clothing has an armor rating of 1, there are no stat penalties for equipping it. Examples would be jackets, coats, thick sweaters and sturdy trousers.
- In-game Description

Dress warm. Can be bought from Fat Larry in Downtown LA.

Light Leather
Light Leather
This is a set of light leather clothing. Light leather clothing has an armor of 2, but hinders movement slightly, resulting in a -1 to Dexterity. Some examples of light leather clothing are leather jackets, leather skirts, and leather gloves and boots.
- In-game Description

Leather is murder! Can be bought from the Red Spot clerk in Hollywood.

Heavy Leather
Heavy Leather
This is a set of heavy leather clothing. Heavy leather clothing has an armor rating of 3, but hinders movement, resulting in a -1 penalty to Dexterity. Some examples of heavy leather clothing are studded or reinforced leather jackets, girded leather pants, and hard leather gloves and boots.
- In-game Description

Hardcore biker attire. Can be bought from Tseng's shop in Chinatown.

Body Armor
Body Armor
Most of these protective compounds are worn under clothing, for that extra ounce of "not gonna die tonight". Their armor rating is 4 with -2 to Dexterity.
- In-game Description

Riot gear, for when someone needs to beat the crap out of innocent protesters. In the official patch it can only be obtained from Heather but she ends up dying because of it. In the unofficial plus patch version the player can still tell Heather to get it (she still dies though) or they can buy it from Mercurio during the Blood Hunt.

The Universe

The universe of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is detailed and filled with lore, partly because it's based on the role playing board game that's set in the World of Darkness game line by White Wolf Publishing, and partly because of the talented work of the people at (now defunct) Troika Games.

Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines is set in modern LA, and California in general. The "world" is divided into 4 central hubs, Santa Monica, Downtown LA, Hollywood and Chinatown, with special locations appearing on the map during certain quests. The entire game takes place during night hours, and rain falls often. This makes for a pretty bleak world.

The following section will detail some of the organizations and factions, lore and major characters of the game.

Factions

The Camarilla

The Camarilla (derived from the Spanish word cámara meaning little chamber) is a vampire sect, and the governing body of vampires. They claim that every vampire is a member, whether they want to be or not. Generally the leaders of the Camarilla stem from the Ventrue clan, this sect is bitterly opposed by the Brujah clan and Gangrels are no longer members. The Camarilla enforces vampire laws, and no law is more important than the Masquerade.

Vampires and their society

Vampires, who call themselves Kindred (or rarely Cainites) are the undead. Vampires can't walk in the daylight, doing so would result in a vampire becoming ash. Vampires can be killed with normal weapons and firearms as well, although many smaller caliber firearms are ineffective. Holy water, crosses and garlic have no effect on a vampire.

In order to become a vampire one Kindred must "embrace" a Kine, or human. An Embrace is a process in which a vampire willingly (or unwillingly) transforms a human into a vampire. Simply biting or feeding on the human will not suffice; the Kindred first drains the Kine of their blood, then gives some of their own blood instead. The vampire who gave the human the dark gift is the sire, and the human becomes the "childe" or fledgling. Each clan has specifics when choosing humans for the embrace. Brujah choose fighters and those who try to make a difference in human society, Gangrels choose fierce and brave people, Ventrue chooses people from the ruling classes, Toreadors choose artists, and so on. Should a vampire sire a human without permission, both the sire and the childe face death penalties by the order of the Camarilla.

If the sire leaves a childe on his own without telling him anything of Kindred rules or society, that childe is known as a Caitiff (from the French Norman word for coward) or clanless. This vampire is despised by Kindred society because Caitiff know nothing of the Masquerade or vampire society and its rules. A similar occurrence are Thin Bloods, those so far removed from Caine they exhibit very little vampire powers and are able to reproduce and walk in daylight. Thin Bloods are usually Caitiff and are thought to be a sign of Gehenna, the vampire version of apocalypse.

Caine is the biblical first murder and brother-killer. The Book of Nod, a collection of vampire legends and myths, describes Caine's fall from grace and his journey eastwards. The third generation of vampires, Caine's grandchildren, are known as the Antediluvians. These are among the most powerful vampires in existence and they can sleep away whole ages. It is said that during Gehenna these powerful and terrible avatars will wake up and walk the earth and in their great hunger they will devour their own progeny as well as mankind. There are many who fear this prophecy as well as many who ridicule it: the Camarilla dismisses the existence of Antediluvians.

The Masquerade is a code, or law, that prohibits vampires from alerting mankind of their presence. No vampire powers that would show physical signs like super speed or strength are allowed to be publicly displayed, and the Nosferatu aren't even allowed to be seen at all. Should someone break the Masquerade, the Sheriff of a town is sent after them.

Each major city has a Prince and Sheriff. The prince is usually a member of the Ventrue clan, unless the prince in question is an Anarch "baron" who is opposed to the Camarilla. The Sheriff's duties are to follow the Prince's orders under any circumstance as well as uphold Kindred law.

Soundtrack

The Bloodlines soundtrack contains a number of licensed songs:

SongGroupDurationLocation
SwampedLacuna Coil3:59End credits, Asp Hole (Hollywood)
CainTiamat5:25Asp Hole (Hollywood)
BloodlinesMinistry7:16Club Confessions (Downtown LA)
Needles EyeDie My Darling3:55In-game radio
Come AliveDaniel Ash5:55Glaze (Chinatown)
PoundAerial20125:32Glaze (Chinatown)
IsolatedChiasm5:15The Asylum (Santa Monica)
Lecher BitchGenitorturers4:13The Last Round (Downtown LA)
Smaller GodDarling Violetta4:23Empire Hotel (Downtown LA), Santa Monica Pier

Reception

On Metacritic, the game has a respectable 80/100 score. Many of the criticisms of the game centered on the buggy release. The game shipped with a bug that caused the game to crash for many players halfway through the game. The buggy release was eventually slightly rectified with an official patch from Troika. However, financial difficulties led to the closing of the studio, thereby discontinuing official patches. Many problems with the game remained months after release, until fans of the game took it upon themselves to produce unofficial patches.

Availability and Patch Situation

The game is now available via Valve's Steam client and Direct2Drive.

Patches

Nines
Nines

Official Patches

Despite several financial and employee issues, Troika managed to released an official patch (1.2). This patch addressed most of the major problems, but failed to fix many of the minor bugs and glitches encountered by some players.

Although another patch was planned, the shutdown of Troika led to a total stop in official game support.

Unofficial Community Patches

As a result of the closure, many members of the community began releasing patches for Bloodlines.

These patches not only fixed many bugs, they also restored additional content in the game. Troika initially locked this content since they couldn't finish it in time, but left it on the game discs.

The latest stable community patch is version 9.5. It is available in English, French and Russian languages.

There are two versions of the unofficial patch. The basic patch contains bug-fixes and a limited amount of restored content. The "plus" version also includes balance fixes and a wide range of restored content including new zones, NPCs and dialogue options.

Both patches are available at The Patches Scrolls.

System Requirements

System requirements are as follows:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz Pentium III or Athlon processor or higher
  • Memory: 384MB RAM
  • Hard Drive Space: 3.3GB
  • DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
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