If you're big on imports and anime, Bloody Bride is an interesting story-driven game worth checking out.
Many games that have come out in Japan have been deemed inappropriate for the US market. These range from games with extremely violent and sexist storylines to titles that aren't really games (such as a popular Japanese Saturn title built around a TV cooking show). The latest craze in Japan (which is not likely to see the US anytime soon) is a genre known as "social interaction simulations." These titles have little traditional gameplay and deliver graphics and text that's reminiscent of role-playing game cutscenes. The story plays the dominant role in these games, which means you can forget about ordering these on import - unless you can read Japanese.
Bloody Bride is more action-oriented than most social interaction games, which isn't saying much. You assume the role of the last vampire prince and must find a bride among the girls you go to high school with. As the action opens, you're a geek and few people want to be your friend. To win your bloody bride and consummate your nefarious nuptials, you must call upon the advice of female vampire friends and prowl the streets at night to maintain your strength. You can also "train" to improve your charisma, appearance, and so on - not to mention enhance your image by buying clothes. The plot is reminiscent of a wacky 80s teen comedy. If this were an American release, it would no doubt have full motion video and Corey Haim of Goonies fame playing the hero.
Bloody Bride's saving grace is its depth. You can call any girl you know, ask her on a date, and go out with her. Moreover, a broad range of scenarios and four "game" years to accomplish your goal add value to the title. Surprisingly, Bloody Bride even becomes fun as time progresses, thanks in large part to its variety of odd social situations (such as talking your way out of eating a cookie - something it would seem that vampires can't do). Suffice to say that it won't be long before you're having the most interesting onscreen dates of your life.
The graphics in Bloody Bride are on par with the current anime. The animation is crisp and the characters are well drawn. The sound leaves much to be desired (the voiceovers are minimal), but overall the presentation is competent, if lacking in flash. It's neat to watch, and even fun if played with a translator at your side. Bloody Bride certainly isn't the next Tomb Raider, but if you're big on imports and anime, it's an interesting story-driven game worth checking out.