Vampires are taking over. They’re dominating TV (True Blood, Vampire Diaries), the box office (Let Me In, Vampires Suck) and taking a serious bite out of pop culture (I refuse to name Stephanie Meyer’s crapfest – even though it did introduce me to Florence and the Machine). Still, the video game industry was ahead of the curve on this blood-sucking trend. Here are the five best vampires in video game history.
Kain (Legacy of Kain series) – One of the most badass characters on the original PlayStation, Kain gave us more than just a bloodsucker: he gave us a Greek tragedy. A nobleman who ultimately becomes a deified tyrant, Kain was everything a vampire should be – bloodthirsty, ruthless, fiercely intelligent. He even had a soul-sucking sword. His games were pretty damn awesome, too, even if they got increasingly more confusing. I smell a reboot!
Demitri Maximoff (Darkstalkers series, SNK vs. Capcom series) – The cartoon stunk and Morrigan gets all the attention, but Demitri Maximoff is the real draw of Darkstalkers. A Romanian vampire who’s dead set on ruling the world (pun intended), Demitri’s put 600+ years of effort into pummeling all challengers. He’s impervious to garlic, crosses, and stakes through the heart, but sunlight’ll make him disappear. Good luck trying it on him as he breaks you with his combos.
Jericho Cross (Darkwatch) – Before Undead Nightmare there was Darkwatch, and before there was John Marston there was Jericho Cross. Unlike the other vampires here, Jericho’s vampirism isn’t quite permanent; depending on the choices you make in the game, Jericho can actually regain his humanity. But, he does get to walk in sunlight. And ride an undead horse. There are worse lots in life than being an undead Jonah Hex.
Jeanette Voerman (Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines) – Behind the busty exterior and gritty Harley Quinn makeup is a vampire who’s more than she seems. The signature character of Bloodlines, Jeanette runs the Asylum club with her sister Therese and uses her sexuality to rule over Santa Monica – but since she’s a strong, aggressive woman with a very complex personality who’ll do anything to maintain control (including what she does to her sister) she’s also one royally insane and unforgettable vamp.
Dracula (Castlevania series) – Number 1 with a bullet, Dracula is the end-all be-all of video game vampires. He turns into bats, amasses armies of supernatural undead, designs elaborate deathtraps that somehow also pass for castles – there’s nothing he can’t do. Nothing. Except defeat the Belmont clan, but that could just be for shits and giggles. He’s even a sympathetic baddie as his evil is fueled by the deaths of women he loved most. He’s got a soft spot for his son, too, even if he did curse him with a backward version of his own name. It’s good to be the Count.
Honorary Mention: Alucard (Castlevania series) – while technically dhampir (half vampire) Alucard is still one bad dude. Inspired by his mother to respect humans, he joins the Belmont clan to uphold the side of good in Castlevania III (and later the classic Symphony of the Night) – despite being expected to take over his father’s empire. The fact that he takes up arms against daddy dearest makes him one complex anti-hero; the fact that he is one of the most effective protagonists in gaming history makes him awesome.