Van Helsing

Van Helsing

Greg Orlando

The touching story of a troubled monster hunter and his most favored hat, Van Helsing reminds us all there’s nothing in this world a good shotgunning can’t cure. Van Helsing vaporizes Mr. Hyde. The Hunchback? That deformed bastard gets it right in the face. Frankenstein’s monster? Try Frankenstein’s lumbering bullet receptacle. No target is too unholy.

As breathless third-person adventure, Van Helsing soars, providing wave after wave of monsters. Players must not only survive the beasts’ dedicated onslaughts, but also find and use the right weapon for the right enemy. The game’s tight pacing and easily marked paths ensure little aimless wandering; nearly every room and corridor serves as a battleground pitting Van Helsing against the creatures of the night.

As a game, Van Helsing suffers from some very real problems. Environments are often so big Van Helsing and an antagonist do not appear onscreen together. This means, say, when battling Frankenstein’s monster, the hero will often be injured by stomping-foot shockwave attacks he didn’t see coming. Other times, Van Helsing will be shooting at an offscreen foe, whittling away its health while the monster can’t—or won’t—fight back.

Worse, the game stretches out Van Helsing’s quest to kill Dracula by recycling its boss monsters one after another. Fighting the Hunchback once is fine enough, thank you very much.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Xbox Nation.