Title: Vampire Knight DS (Vampire Kishi DS)
Release Date: January 29, 2009
Publisher (Developer): D3 Publisher (D3 Publisher)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero B for ages 12 and up.
Pros: Lots of mini-games, follows the storyline of the Vampire Knight manga/anime, seven brief “chapters” of the story, 70 CG images to unlock, full voice acting, interesting simulation aspects and can be quite funny at times.
Cons: Controls in some of the mini-games really suck. (No pun intended – really.) CGs featuring eye-less Yuki are incredibly disturbing.
Overall Score: 9/10
Vampire Knight is an interesting series from Matsuri Hino that centers around a school where vampires and humans learn side by side. It’s developed a loyal fanbase, and its popularity has resulted in a manga series, which has been translated in English by Viz and appears monthly in Shojo Beat magazine, an anime, drama CDs and light novels.
And now, Vampire Knight has become a video game. Vampire Knight DS, which is also referred to online as Vampire Kishi DS, is a genre-bending, import friendly game that allows players to experience events in the series in a whole new way.
Step into the shoes of Yuki Cross – human/vampire Guardian.
The storyline of Vampire Knight DS loosely follows the early chapters of the manga and anime, and basically offers seven vignette situations. Players step into the shoes of Yuki Cross, the adopted daughter of Kaien Cross and one of the disciplinary committee Guardians who acts as an intermediary between the Day Class (humans) and Night Class (vampires) at Cross Academy.
So basically, you get to be Yuki Cross and chase after vampires, while also maintaining order between humans and vampires and occasionally wiping out Level E insane, psycho vampires.. While Kaname Kuran and Zero Kiryu are the only characters in the source material that have any kind of romantic interaction with Yuki, Takuma Ichijo, Hanabusa Aido, Akatsuki Kain, Senri Shiki and Toga Yagari are all chase-able guys in the game.
One part visual novel, one part mini-game collection, one part simulation, but all pro-vampire.
Vampire Knight DS is exceptionally import friendly, in part because the game doesn’t seem to settle in one genre. Yes, there are visual novel elements, as the game is divided up into seven chapters. But you’re also playing multiple mini-games as part of Yuki’s Guardian chores. There’s also a simulation element, as succeeding in the mini-games boosts Yuki’s parameters and makes her strong and more desirable. That, and all the menu options are in English. That helps too.
While all the mini-games are novel, the controls on some really miss out. For example, there’s one game where you must bop vampire fangirls on the head as they sneak around the Night Class dorms. They pop up on both screens, and you have to drag along a bar on the bottom to shift a scene to the touch screen side. More often than not – this doesn’t work.
Still – they’re worth a chuckle and keep the game moving extremely fast. I found myself favoring the Level E vampire hunt, fangirl bopping and stalking mini-games. I never thought I’d see a video game that encourages players to be peeping-toms, but here it is. There are also games where you confiscate forbidden items from students, deliver Day Class girl presents to their Night Class crushes or learn to dance, which are charming as well.
Things I’ve learned about vampires from Vampire Knight DS.
1. Vampires like strong girls. If you need to be rescued from Level E vampires during the vampire-hunter mini-game, the character who rescues you will like you less.
2. Vampires need to be protected from rabid fangirls.
3. Civilized vampires ask permission before biting you, and then ask where you want to be bitten.
4. Vampires will always want to bite you in the most suggestive, perverted spot.
5. Adorable puppies can become rabid vampire hounds overnight.
6. Vampires adore stalkers, so long as the stalker is sneaky enough to spy on him with binoculars for X amount of time without being caught.
7. Female vampires don’t exist on the Nintendo DS. Okay, I lie. They’re there – but they’ll get less than a minute of screen time.
8. Girls wearing bear, cat or penguin costumes are apparently a big turn-on for some vampires.
9. Yuki’s eyes have a mind of their own, and tend to reappear and disappear on command.
In short, Vampire Knight DS is incredibly entertaining. Fans of the original series would not only adore it, but True Blood, Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans would be able to find something to love about Vampire Knight DS. It’s a guilty pleasure.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables reviewed Neo Angelique Special for the PSP..