On the scale of scariest monsters, vampires probably rank pretty low. We’re so used to seeing them as pale-faced, metrosexual men that it’s so easy to forget that beneath that pretty exterior lies a bloodthirsty horror. As these best vampire games remind us, no matter their appearance, a vampire is a danger to anyone with a pulse.
From classics to games you probably didn’t even know existed, we’ve compiled the best games themed around bloodsuckers. Filling the role of protagonist and antagonist, vampires are far more complex than many of their undead brethren, which often leads to a game heavy in lore, exposition, and mythology.
You know how there are dozens of different zombie games out there? Well, it’s not quite like that for vampires. For every ten games there are of the rotting undead, there may be 1/8th of a vampire game, even with counting the entire Castlevania series. Here, then, are the best vampire games you can sink your teeth into.
The Best Vampire Games
Developer: Terminal Reality Publisher: Gathering of Developers
Enter the world of Spookhouse, a secret agency that deals with the deadly things that go bump in the night. As the Stranger, players are sent out to explore the world beyond our own, where fanged beasts and supernatural horrors await. Though Nocturne isn’t strictly a vampire game, its first act, which has close ties to a future Terminal Reality game, is all about the blood-sucking undead.
“Dark Reign of the Vampire King” introduces elements later featured in BloodRayne and sends the Stranger on a mission to retrieve a mysterious artifact. Unfortunately, it’s contained within a German castle occupied by vampires. Utilizing an arsenal of weapons designed for some vampire-slaying action, the Stranger treks into the depths of the castle alongside fellow agent Svetlana Lupescu, a Dhampir.
There are many horror elements to Nocturne, but that first act is the vampire experience you’re looking for.
16. A Vampyre Story
Developer: Autumn Moon Entertainment Publisher: The Adventure Company
Built in the style of games like The Curse of Monkey Island, A Vampyre Story sends players on a quirky tale of obsession as Mona De Lafitte. The talented Parisian opera student catches the eye of a pitiful vampire, who captures her and turns her into a vampire. For Mona, it’s a life-changing event that she refuses to let stand in the way of fulfilling her dream of becoming a famed opera singer.
In A Vampyre Story, players guide Mona in a point-and-click adventure as she tries to find her way out of the expansive castle. There is plenty that stands in Mona’s way, but nothing as bothersome as her new affliction.
The world is vibrant and full of fascinating characters that help bring to life a delightful vampire game full of puzzles, difficult decisions, and fun vampiric powers.
15. Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi
Developer: Idol FX Publisher: iGames Publishing
In 1922, F. W. Murnau brought a blood-sucking legend to life in the silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. Though it was based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which released in 1897, Nosferatu became its own creature. Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi pulls inspiration from Murnau and Stoker’s iterations of the undead count and pits players in the role of an original character, James Patterson, who finds himself trapped within the halls of Castle Malachi.
Though he arrived to celebrate his sister’s wedding, James becomes the only person that can stop the fiendish Romanian Count, that’s modeled after Nosferatu’s Count Orlok, from summoning the powerful Lord Malachi. Nosferatu deviates quite a bit from the source material it’s based on, but many vampiric villains await. Equipped with a sword, a cross, wooden stakes, and other vampire-killing tools, James treks deeper into Malachi to put a stop to the count.
Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi isn’t an incredibly polished first-person shooter, but it does vampires well, and that’s really why we’re here.
14. Hunter: The Reckoning
Developer: High Voltage Software Publisher: Interplay Entertainment
Based on the once-popular tabletop RPG, The Reckoning allows players to enter the World of Darkness, a gothic, monster-ridden version of our own universe. When the vengeful spirits executed at the vampire-run Ashcroft Penitentiary are let loose on the neighboring town, a quartet of hunters originally responsible for sealing the evil away returns. This time, armed to the teeth.
Players control one of the four hunters, each featuring their own stats and attributes. Wielding shotguns, chainsaws, swords, and all manner of weapons, the hunters cut through the undead on their quest to slay the vampiric warden of the penitentiary and restore peace to ashcroft.
Hunter: The Reckoning takes players through a variety of environments to fight through the horde of evil that threatens the small town.
13. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
There are many horrors lurking in the lands of Skyrim, and Dawnguard shines a light on the clans of vampires that threaten its citizens. In this DLC add-on, players choose to play as a vampire or join the Dawnguard to eradicate the undead foe.
At the core of Dawnguard’s story is the titular vampire-hunting organization, who sets out to put an end to the dangerous Volkihar Clan. When players make the choice to join the hunt or be on the other side of it, they’re treated to two entirely different experiences. One opens up abilities only available to the vampires of Skyrim, the other introduces a host of new armors and weapons that help take down the Dawnguard’s blood-sucking villains.
Dawnguard features new locations, new perks, two worldspaces, a new realm, and quite a bit more content, including legendary dragons and new dragon shouts. Sounds like it’s time to boot up Skyrim again and sink in another umpteen hours for the perfect vampire game.
12. Night Trap
Developer: Digital Pictures Publisher: Sega
If you play Night Trap today, you may be shocked to learn that it once was considered controversial. It may also come as a surprise that the vaudevillian Foot Clan that serves as the main antagonists are actually Augers, or vampiric underlings named for the tool they use to drill into their victim’s necks.
Night Trap is a campy classic that uses live-action actors and actresses to tell a very goofy, but still charming, story. Though Augers are the main threat in the Martin winery estate, classic, two-fanged bloodsuckers also make the occasional appearance and engage in their usual nefarious deeds.
Night Trap plays out as an interactive movie where players are part of the Sega Control Attack Team (S.C.A.T.) – a name I’m sure someone regrets today – and must rescue the hapless victims from traps, vampires, and vampire traps. Night Trap is as hokey as you’d expect and fits in perfectly with off-brand 80s slasher movies, which is why it’s such a fun experience to play through today.
Its gameplay may not have aged well, but it’s an undeniable classic that, thankfully, is available on all current consoles.
Developer: High Moon Studios Publisher: Capcom
It’s likely that if you were playing games when Darkwatch came out, you overlooked its release. Not because it was bad, but because you were probably too distracted by Resident Evil 4, Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, Battlefront II, Devil May Cry 3, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, Kingdom Hearts II, F.E.A.R., Sly 3, Conker: Live & Reloaded, or the upcoming release of the Xbox 360.
The point is, 2005 was a busy year for games, so it was easy for a game like Darkwatch, which was developed by a brand new team, to slip through the cracks.
The first and third-person shooter put players in control of Jericho Cross, an outlaw that has to come to terms with his new vampiric nature. As a member of the Darkwatch, Cross sets out to kill the vampire that bit him, Lazarus. Darkwatch’s gameplay changes drastically between day and night levels as Cross can only use his powers in the cover of night.
Darkwatch implemented a redemption system that changes what kind of abilities you have access to. The more evil you are, the cooler they tend to be. Cross’ action-filled adventure could have been another generic entry in the long list of shooters, but High Moon Studios’s effort made it a unique and thoroughly enjoyable vampire shooter.
10. Vampire Night
Developer: Wow Entertainment Publisher: Namco
Light gun games rarely translate well to consoles, but somehow Vampire Night became an exception to the rule. Developed by now-defunct developer Wow Entertainment, an in-house team for Sega, Vampire Night is your standard light gun shooter, taking what worked for the House of the Dead series and replacing zombies with vampires.
Vampire Night is just as terribly voice acted as House of the Dead, but that it’s so familiar helps make it easier to settle into. Vampire Night doesn’t break the mold as an arcade game, but treading on that safe line of what’s expected is what makes it so much fun to pick up and play. It hails from a time before arcade games became complicated, so even novice players could enjoy themselves.
As for the PlayStation 2 port, it’s clear that Wow Entertainment knew how to use the console’s hardware to its benefit. The console version was just as fluid as the original arcade release and worked well with the PS2 light guns – at least, as well as something that could work with them.
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Vampires are tragic characters, cursed with eternal life and the need to drain humanity of its lifeforce. Some take to it like serial killers, running rampant without moral restraint. Others loathe their own existence and try to use their afflictions for the good of mankind. Vampyr lets you decide which side you fall in and shows what happens under the weight of either decision.
Set in London during the Spanish Flu epidemic, players have to decide whether Jonathan Reid, a doctor learning to live as a vampire, follows his medical training to help cure the city or give in to his thirst and thrust it into chaos. Vampyr does a fine job of creating a moral dilemma by making Jonathan a doctor. Whereas an average Joe can easily teeter that line between good and evil, Reid took an oath to protect and heal; but with a bloodlust raising inside of him, can he stick to his role as a healer?
Vampyr needed some polish, but the narrative team at Dontnod once again succeed at fully developing their characters. Looking at the depth of the story and its cast, it’s not a shock that the minds responsible for covering the streets of London with blood are also the same that crafted the heartfelt Life is Strange series.
“Filled with moral dilemmas and an unexpected strategic depth to its city system, Vampyr is a vampire RPG that isn’t afraid to bite back. Although some characters are quite stiff in dialogue, it’s still a great game overall with intense confrontations, fast-paced combat and a thrilling story.”
8. inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
The second inFAMOUS was an excellent game that couldn’t be further from belonging on this list. For the 2011 Halloween season, however, Sucker Punch infused a bit of horror into the series with Festival of Blood.
Super-powered Cole MacGrath’s run-in with vampires is surprisingly fun DLC that combines the core experience of inFAMOUS with the best parts of being a vampire.
Using his electricity-based powers and a barbed cross, MacGrath squares off against a horde of unholy creatures as he tries to cure his affliction. To survive that long, however, he must give in to his need for blood and drain the citizens of New Marais. Since there’s no avoiding draining the innocent, Festival of Blood dropped the series’ Karma Meter.
Festival of Blood is a quick one-off in the inFamous series that only takes a few hours to finish, but the addition of vampires only elevates the fun you were already having in inFAMOUS 2.
7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Developer: The Collective, Inc. Publisher: Electronic Arts
A licensed video game on a “best of” list? We don’t even know what’s real anymore.
What may be most surprising about how good Buffy the Vampire Slayer was isn’t that it was based on a TV series, but that it was developed by the now-defunct team behind Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, the PS2 port of the 1997 Men in Black PC game (extra points if you remember it), and The Da Vinci Code.
Joss Whedon’s grim teenage drama is recreated faithfully in this 3D action-adventure, featuring the likenesses (and most of the voices) of everyone’s favorite Buffyverse characters. One of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s strongest points is its story, which was written by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski, two prominent names when it comes to Buffy-related books.
The game fused melee combat with puzzle-filled exploration for a memorable experience, especially for fans of the TV series. There is no shortage of vampires to stake, civilians to save, and one-liners and awkward karate noises to suffer through in Buffy’s only successful video game adaptation.
6. Bloodrayne 2
Developer: Terminal Reality Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
She may get a lot of flack for being featured in the October 2004 issue of Playboy (Google it. We’ll wait.), but what else was Bloodrayne supposed to do when her series was pulled out from under her?
The sexy vamp had slain the hell out of Nazis in two 3D action-adventure games before being relegated to a forgettable downloadable side-scrolling arcade title. She deserved better, especially after showing she still had many tricks up her sleeve in Bloodrayne 2.
Equipped with two admittedly cool arm blades, firearms, and a never-ending thirst for blood, Bloodrayne dismembers, maims, and drains hordes of squishy flesh bags. And she does so with style. The game’s protagonist isn’t the only thing that’s flashy as combat allows players to string together acrobatic attacks that can send limbs flying. When the going gets tough, Bloodrayne can always resort to her prime instincts and drain her foe, wrapping her legs around them to offer one last thrill before they die
Bloodrayne 2 is a polished improvement over the original and a worthy addition to the slew of hack and slash titles that emerged in the early 2000s.
5. The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang
Developer: Bullet Proof Software Red Company Publisher: Naxat Soft
Wait a tick. A vampire game that’s not covered in blood and body parts? You may want to cry foul, but we’ll stand by our decision to add Spike McFang to this list – if only for the name alone.
Surprisingly enough, this quirky and colorful SNES adventure doesn’t have to bank on the protagonist’s awesome moniker. Played in a top-down perspective, Spike McFang sends players on a journey to put a stop to the zombie general Von Hesler.
As the titular young vampire, players won’t be sucking blood. Instead, they’ll use McFang’s snazzy outfit to take on a variety of monsters. Like a vampiric Oddjob, McFang flings his hat at his foe and frequently relies on his cape for close-quarter combat. He also dishes out magic cards that can grand him invisibility, recover his health, and other helpful effects.
The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang successfully emulates The Legend of Zelda series without copying it entirely so it can exist in its own space.
Who doesn’t love being a creature of the night, sucking the blood of the innocent and enjoying a life of villainy and opulence? They’re the best perks about being a vampire, but in V Rising, you have to earn your right to partake in them.
Awakened after a lengthy slumber, you find that the world is no place for a vampire in a weakened state. With rival blood-suckers looking to clear their path to glory, daylight always looming, and soldiers looking to rid the world of your plague, you have to act quickly to regain your strength and begin your quest to build your unholy empire.
V Rising’s premise works well as a multiplayer survival title, allowing players to decide whether they wish to go it alone or with allies at their side. The survival mechanics remain true to the genre, and building your castle literally means sourcing the wood and resources to make it happen.
There’s a ton to accomplish in V Rising as you navigate the deadly world on a path to vampiric greatness.
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain set the stage for Soul Reaver, one of the best games to come from the development team at Crystal Dynamics. Building upon the lore of Nosgoth, a world that’s home to both vampires and humans, Soul Reaver replaces Kain, the protagonist of Blood Omen, with Raziel, a spry wraith on a quest for revenge.
Despite being part of the same series, Soul Reaver is leagues ahead of Blood Omen. The switch from a slow-paced, top-down adventure game to a 3D action-adventure helped tell a more engaging story. Though there is plenty of story in its predecessor, Soul Reaver does a better job of delivering it with 3D character models set in a beautiful world ripe with mythology. Nosgoth is a fascinating creation, especially when you’re introduced to the ghoul-infested spectral realm.
Melee-based combat let Raziel show off his moves, which include impaling his foe on pikes and draining their souls. To cut through their enemies, players wield a soul-devouring spectral sword as they hunt down Kain. It almost feels like a metaphor for how Blood Omen was slain by its successor.
2. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
Developer: Troika Games Publisher: Activision
After selecting one of seven vampire clans, players enter the world of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, the largely successful follow-up to Redemption. The Masquerade universe is based on the 1990s tabletop role-playing game of the same name. It was a new way to explore the in-depth world, and Bloodlines introduced players to a slew of fleshed-out characters in the story-driven adventure.
When you’re not busy unraveling the 21st-century vampiric tale set in Los Angeles, you get plenty of opportunity to do what vampires do best – feast on human blood. Bloodlines gives players access to unique disciplines and abilities, firearms, and hand-to-hand combat. Like any good role-playing game, players upgrade their stats to become a stronger, faster, and more frightening fledgling.
The meat of Bloodlines is pretty standard, which means its story and mechanics have to shine even more. Troika swapped out the point-and-click gameplay of Redemptionfor a hybrid of first- and third-person action, which helps create a faster-paced and more engaging experience. Bloodlines lets you be the vampire you want to be, but draining humans dry comes at the cost of your own humanity.
Can’t deal with a slightly dated game? A sequel is due sometime soon.
1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo Publisher: Konami
Some may argue that this technically shouldn’t be on a list of the best vampire games since you battle through a horde of different castle monstrosities, but we’re sorry, is Alucard not half-human, half-vampire? Does he not have the abilities of his blood-thirsty brethren? Aren’t we on a quest to slay Dracula? Yeah, that’s what we thought.
Symphony of the Night is the 12th entry in the Castlevania series if you count the easily forgotten Haunted Castle (1988). It also is often pegged as the best among all 30 Castlevania games, sometimes vying for the top spot against its chronological predecessor, Rondo of Blood. Ultimately, Symphony of the Night is a more fluid game that appeals to a broader audience than the PC-exclusive (later ported to PSP) release.
As the hybrid son of Dracula, players take control of Alucard four years after Richter of the cursed Belmont bloodline goes missing. Symphony of the Night has one of the more enjoyable stories in the series, starting with a prequel fight against the count. It’s intended to be an easy fight but it sets the stage for a memorable trek through an expansive, labyrinthine castle.
Yes, the villainous lineup of zombies, skeletons, mermen, werewolves, and more overshadows the vampiric foe, but the core story follows vampire hunters on their quest to rid the world of Dracula.
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