Action sidescroller BATS—which stands for Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad—answers a question everyone has been asking for years: What if G.I. Joe was composed entirely of vampires?
The game begins in Washington D.C., where a vampire named Count Bloodbayne is awakened from peaceful slumber beneath the Lincoln Memorial—exactly where a government sponsored patriotic vampire would rest. It seems the dastardly Scorpion Supreme (a stand-in for Cobra Commander) has captured the four other members of BATS, the United States' heroic vampire strike team.
Scorpion Supreme threatens to kill the members of BATS on live television. “It's going to be disgusting!” he says. “Like, really disgusting! People will vomit. Mwa-ha-ha!” That Scorpion Supreme is damn dastardly. As Bloodvayne, you need to fight your way through Supreme's lair, dispatching bad guys and bosses, chugging blood, and smashing through floors and ceilings with your vampire strength. Bloodvayne also has a special ability—when his blood meter is filled he can transform into a wolf for some serious rampages through Supreme's hideout.
At the end of each level you can free another member of BATS and add them to your roster, then swap between them and use their different abilities. Sgt. Sabre is half-human, half-vampire, and can slice into enemies with a whirlwind blade attack. Mitzie has giant leathery wings and can fly, making her much more maneuverable than anyone else on the team. Rick Ghastly prefers to use a shotgun rather than claws or fists, and the most ancient vampire of the team, Nosferadude, drains more blood from enemies than anyone else, quickly filling his blood meter and allowing him to rampage more often.
There are only five levels to play through (one to free each BATS member) but even when everyone is unlocked there's a boss rush mode and a special speedrun mode that will let you try to beat your record times using your vampire roster.
One unfortunate note: The unalterable control scheme for BATS seems to have been designed to make you defy muscle memory. The action keys are lined up nicely: A, S, D, but those are assigned to jump, attack, and evade, and a lifetime of pressing spacebar to jump is a pretty hard habit to forget on the fly. Movement, meanwhile, is the left and right arrow keys. Maybe someone out there will feel right at home with these controls, but my fingers found them a bit baffling and it would be nice if we could change them.
BATS: Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad is available on Steam. I wonder what the vampire equivalent to “Yo, Joe!” is. “Proceed, bleed?”