This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Countdown Vampires (カウントダウンヴァンパイアーズ) is a survival horror game for the PlayStation developed by K2 LLC and published by Bandai. It distinguished itself from many of the horror games of its time by featuring vampires as the evil element rather than zombies.
The gameplay is highly similar to the earlier games in the Resident Evil series, to the extent of being labelled a "clone" ; although there are some additions like a dart gun as a secondary weapon, used to sedate most enemies (mainly, zombie-like "vampires") and then sprinkle "white water" on them to restore their humanity, instead of simply killing all enemies that approach the player (which can also be done). This encourages the player to use a wide variety of fighting techniques if he/she wants to "save" the enemies. As the game advances, more and more creatures appear (whose origins are not that well explained until late in the game), such as Giant Vampire Bats, Werewolf-like creatures, giant humanoid Mantis-like insects, Giant Frog Mutants (which are quite similar to the hunters of Resident Evil), and Purple Blob-things. The dart gun won't work on these types of enemies.
It is possible to reload all guns and to switch between the dart gun and a lethal weapon in real-time without having to use the menu screen. It was also possible to reload in real-time before emptying a firearm's bullet count. There's an "e-mail" system in the item storage boxes which is mainly used to further explain and expand the backstory. It's also notable that there are minigames available in the first part of the game (set in a casino), like roulette and slot machines; the money won in these games can be used to buy food and drinks, the in-game recovery items.
If the game is cleared within 8 hours, a special story mode is unlocked which shows an altered version of the original story and includes additional characters not present in the first playthrough. This also gives the option to gather the 5 "Lucky coins". A minigame called "Prince of Darkness" is unlocked by typing on the second disc as a name Prince Darkness. In this minigame, the player controls a vampire version of Keith which slays humans within a 20 minutes time limit. Game characters appear here as enemies, such as Mira, Sheck, and The Man in Black.
Sea Rim City Police Homicide Detective Keith J. Snyder had a problem which involved his previous partner, Wesley Simmons, so he was assigned, as a disciplinary measure, to be a bodyguard for several VIPs who were key to the inauguration of a new horror-themed casino, the Desert Moon. The problems began when a fire broke out and a mysterious black liquid started to pour out of the fire sprinklers, turning the vast majority of the people into vampires that proceeded to devour the remaining survivors. Now Keith must find his way out of the casino and also try save as many people as he can.
- Keith J. Snyder: The game's protagonist, he's a police detective which was hired as a VIP bodyguard and found himself trapped between the chaos at the casino, His Tribal-Mark Tattoo is a possible reference or homage to the fictional character Seth Gecko from the 1996 Action/Horror film From Dusk Till Dawn. Voiced by Jeff Manning.
- Misato Hayakawa: A waitress of the Desert Moon, Misato is a Japanese girl who has some significance to what is going on. She's somewhat attracted to Keith. Voiced by Bianca Allen.
- The Man in Black: A mysterious shotgun-wielding Vampire Hunter which appears from time to time. Its identity is revealed in the special story. Voiced by Lenne Hardt.
- Alicia S. Tiller: Chairman of a company related to the Desert Moon and also a scientist. Her role is further explored in the special story. Voiced by Rumiko Varnes.
- Gells: A shadowy figure which is somewhat mysteriously related to Misato.
Special story exclusive characters
- Mira Swish: A detective from Plata Losa Police, also hired as a VIP bodyguard like Keith. She constantly looks for her lost sister Claudia, and seems obsessed with Gells and The Man in Black. Voiced by Bianca Allen.
- Sheck Gardner: A Plata Losa SWAT team member which appeared as backup for both Keith and Mira. Voiced by Barry Gjerde.
- Jules Doors: Another SWAT team member assisting Sheck.
- Frederico Castero: Though he doesn't actually appear, he's the one who provides Keith with a lot of information via e-mail.
Countdown Vampires received mixed reviews. The game scored 55% at GameRankings based on 11 reviews, with 4 favourable reviews and 7 average or poor.
- Game Vortex - 100/100, saying : "Okay, I've seen this described as a Resident Evil take-off, but anyone who spends real time with Countdown Vampires will realize there's a game with many unique elements here."
- Games First! - 4/5 - saying : "Fortunately, I was able to sink my teeth into Countdown Vampires which shares similar features of RE but offers a different environment and a unique variation of the vampire hunt/kill zombie genre."
- PSX Nation - 76/100.
- Gamecenter - 7/10.
However, other reviews gave the game either average or poor reviews .
- Independent Gamer - 2.5/5.
- Hot Games - 2.5/10.
- IGN - 4.5/10.
- GameSpot - 3.3/10.
- Electric Playground - 3/10.
- Electronic Gaming Monthly - 4/10.
- Official PlayStation Magazine - 1.5/5.
- プレイステーション - カウントダウンヴァンパイヤーズ. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.23. 30 June 2006.