At some point in your childhood you probably asked, ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ Bloodlines: The Alexa Holmes Chronicles will take you back to those hours you spent in your school’s Apple II computer lab, chasing down that red-hatted female scoundrel, except now you’ll be asking your iPhone, ‘Where in the World is that Bloated Vicious Vampire?’
Bloodlines: The Alexa Holmes Chronicles is engaging for as long as it lasts, and its story is presented with some gorgeous still-frame artwork and an orchestrated soundtrack. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long, and even three different difficulty settings don’t offer enough variety to make the game worth playing through again.
The vampires have gone global!
Bloodlines takes place in the 1930s and stars Alexa Holmes, the granddaughter of a certain Sherlock. When her grandfather is brutally murdered, Alexa puts herself under the leadership of Watson and begins the hunt for Sherlock’s killer. When it quickly becomes apparent that the guilty party is a touch beyond human, Van Helsing teaches Alexa the ways of the vampire hunter and gives her advice on how to work her way up to the top of the bloodthirsty hierarchy.
Despite the promise of vampire hunting, don’t expect to flick a whip or stab a sword at undead baddies. Bloodlines is about geography trivia with a smattering of detective work. As Alexa, you must track down fourteen vampires by traveling to cities across the world and interrogating the locals about any strange standouts who’ve been skulking around the area. By garnering clues from citizens (vampires sure seem to love chatting it up with humans), you gain an idea of where to travel to next. If you knows your geography, you’ll quickly catch up to your quarry and kill him or her. If you failed basic geography and travel to Vancouver when a citizen drops a clue about the vampire traveling to the Arctic, you’ll lose your lead.
When you corner your prey, a conversation ensues that slowly pieces together the nature of vampires, the murder, and even Alexa herself. Then comes the wet work, which occurs in a stylish cutscene. The cutscene, unfortunately, doesn’t alter throughout the game.
These vamps won’t inspire teenage girls to join their team.
In fact, a good deal of Bloodlines feels repetitive. Citizens give you the same clues over and over, no matter what part of the world you’re in. Even their portraits don’t change up much: You’re likely to find the same two men living in Barcelona and Toronto (long lost twins?). When you’re ready to move in on your vampire friend, you’ll have three cities to choose from. It’s a fun mental exercise, but you probably won’t sweat.
It’s too bad there’s not more to Bloodlines, because it’d be a fun game to spend more time with. The graphics, though static, are drawn well, and every vampire has his or her own unique charm. If you’ve had it with sparkly pretty-boy vampires, you’ll love the twisted, snarling stable that Bloodlines offers up. These are ladies and gentlemen who have seen and done more than mere mortals can conceive of. The soundtrack is likewise suitable for ’30’s-style vampire pursual, though the same tune accompanies Alexa through her investigations, and gets a bit repetitive.
If you’ve been pining for Miss Sandiego lately, you might like to hook up with Alexa Holmes. Just don’t anticipate a very long date. She’ll be out the door and out of your life just when you think you’re starting to get comfortable around her.