I’m D) All of the Above: Let’s Play Vampire Hunter D


[Thanks to my good friend Square for the banner image!]

Vampire Hunter D is a Japanese novel series written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, with illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano, best known for being the primary artist on the first six Final Fantasy titles. The stories focus on a quiet yet powerful dhampir named D who works as a mercenary vampire hunter in the year 12090 AD, and the chatty magical symbiote who lives in his left hand. Its unique setting and style has inspired a number of adaptations, including audio dramas, a manga, and an upcoming American comic series and animated series. Although the books only began releasing in English in 2005, the animated movies gained cult popularity in the West in the 90’s/00’s due to TV and film festival rotation, as well as being marketed as animation for adults in a time before that was popular.

Vampire Hunter D is a survival horror game released in 1999 for the original PlayStation. While much of the game’s systems, progression and overall feel can be compared to the early Resident Evil games, Vampire Hunter D has a greater focus on action, replacing RE’s guns with swords and magic spells and adding new movement options such as jumping and strafing to the mix. These changes don’t all benefit the feel and occasionally make playing the game harder, but I appreciate what this game does to set itself apart.

The story of Vampire Hunter D (PS1) is loosely based on the events of the then-upcoming movie Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which itself was based on the third novel in the series, Demon Deathchase. It even includes some animation and art assets from the movie, though the voice cast does not return. Within the story, D has been hired to save a young woman who was kidnapped by a vampire named Meier Link, or give her a peaceful end if she’s already been turned. He enters Chaythe Castle where Meier Link has locked himself away, and now it’s time for him to fight through demons and avoid rival bounty hunters on his way to complete his job.

I’m the mercenary ChorpSaway and I will be in the driver’s seat for this mission. I’m a fairly new fan of the series, but I really liked watching Bloodlust and wanted to explore this alternate take on it. Joining me are TheJayOfSpade, FutureFriend and Taoc from the Barbarois, who know nothing of the series and who I have hired to help me out by making jokes. Together we’re going to save a young woman and continue to push the eventual extinction of all vampires.

I will be completing the game with the best ending, but also showing the alternate scenes and endings in order to cover the entire contents of the game.

You’re free to talk about the content of Bloodlust or Demon Deathchase, since they’re largely different versions of the same general story, though I ask that you put spoiler tags on ending details until we get there. That said, I’d like to keep the discussion more focused on the game than the movie or book. It’s cool to talk about the differences but I don’t want the entire thread to just be about other media.





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D
A dhampir dunpeal and a vampire hunter. A stoic and graceful man, his beauty and aura mesmerize humans while his sharp wits and reflexes bring vampires to their knees. D is respected as the finest vampire hunter in the world, with his power only surpassed by the King of the Vampires, his father. Currently, he has taken a job to save a young woman, Charlotte, who has been kidnapped by a vampire named Meier Link.


Left Hand
A symbiote living inside of D’s left hand. A wise-cracking counterpart to his quiet host, he possesses a number of powerful abilities including harnessing and sensing magical energy, healing, and psychometry. Left Hand also provides a lot of knowledge and insight that D otherwise wouldn’t due to his reserved nature.


Countess Carmilla Elizabeth Bathory
The now-deceased owner of the Castle of Chaythe and one of the highest-ranking members of the vampire nobility. During her life she was known as the Bloody Countess due to her cruel treatment of humans. Eventually, Carmilla’s insatiable bloodlust and vanity forced the King of the Vampires to kill her in her sleep and seal her soul away.


Baron Meier Link
A vampire noble, known as Mayerling in the novel. He is known as a skilled warrior, and one of the few vampires who refuses to terrorize humans. However, he is now being hunted for kidnapping a young human woman from her village.


Leila Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. The youngest of the famous group of vampire hunters, she’s no less capable than any of her brothers. Leila is a skilled mechanic and marksman, but tends to act on impulse and put herself at the forefront of danger.


Nolt Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. A giant of a man, he uses a large hexagonal staff to fight. He may not be the brightest in his family, but Nolt has plenty of heart.


Borgoff Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. The oldest of his siblings and the leader of the group, Borgoff is a jovial man who takes his work very seriously. He wields a crossbow and has an incredible ability to always hit his mark.


Kyle Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. Swift and nimble, Kyle is generally more cautious than the rest of his family. He uses dual crescent blades to slice through his enemies.


Groveck Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. A frail and gentle man, Grove assists his family using psychic projection, which allows him the ability to fly and attack using magical energy. Although he is impervious to damage via his projected form, this power is activated by inducing a seizure, which takes a heavy toll on his weak body.


Benge
One of Meier Link’s bodyguards and a mutant from the town of Barbarois. A wily character, Benge can create illusory traps and travel through shadows in order to sneak up on his enemies. His goofy personality is unappreciated by his allies, but his skills in assassination are unmatched amongst the Barbarois.


Charlotte Elbourne
The daughter of the village elder who was kidnapped by Meier Link. Despite her predicament, Charlotte seems unwilling to leave the castle with D or the Marcus brothers. Although weak in comparison to the rest of the castle’s inhabitants, she’s steadfast and strong in regards to herself and her feelings.

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We’re just going straight in with Miss Bathory huh. I swear, you bathe in the blood of virgins one time and everyone throws a fit…

Jokes aside I’m excited for this. I always love how detailed and extensive your LPs are, and not many people are willing to do doof as anime games like this, so it’s nice to see. Honestly in that vein I’m surprised you haven’t done the FMA games. It might just be that they’re to actually decent for you to tackle just yet?

I wonder who the Vampire King is. I have to imagine it’s Dracula, which would make us Alucard presumably? The D’s gotta stand for something and Dracula seems the most likely.

It’s really cool but also kinda… weird, that you’ve gotta enter the room immediately to get the cutscene. That seems tricky to deal with, but… certainly interesting a way to go about alternate endings.

Hm. Very not a fan of Left Hand’s gross face wigglin’ at me. Don’t like that!

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Thank you for the kind words! Yeah there aren’t that many playthroughs of this game online, and none of them show the alternate scenes or endings, so I was happy to throw my hat into the ring on that. Also they’re all cowards who use higher model resolutions instead of enjoying every polygon for its pixels.
I’ve thought about doing the FMA games, I own them, I’ve just never actually watched either of the series haha. So maybe one day!

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I am genuinely surprised you haven’t watched Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood since it’s one of the good animes. Watching Brotherhood and comparing it to the original anime that goes completely off the rails is also like, a free podcast topic hanging on the apple tree of podcasts!

:siren: UPDATE TIME! :siren:

It’s time to continue exploring Castle Chaythe! Now that Meier Link has left us to our own devices, D has free reign to search for Charlotte, but monsters aren’t the only thing that will get in his way. The security system is down, making it impossible to reach the second floor, so it’s time to look for how to get the power back up!

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The ebb and flow of Vampire Power vs Health Power is interesting… though not actually developed much, from the looks of it. I could definitely see a different game making good use of that idea though!

I feel like Vampire Hunter D would extremely be my jam if I was like, in my formative years as opposed to now.

:siren: UPDATE TIME! :siren:

Today, it’s time for D to check out the second floor of the castle! Thanks to his expert computer skills, he can now reach the second floor of Castle Chaythe through the security doors, but what lies beyond is far more dangerous than anything he’s seen of the first floor. There are traps around every corner, ready to capture D if he makes even a single misstep. Will he be able to find his mark unharmed, or will he find himself caught in Meier Link’s machinations?

New Characters Introduced This Episode

Nolt Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. A giant of a man, he uses a large hexagonal staff to fight. He may not be the brightest in his family, but Nolt has plenty of heart.


Borgoff Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. The oldest of his siblings and the leader of the group, Borgoff is a jovial man who takes his work very seriously. He wields a crossbow and has an incredible ability to always hit his mark.


Kyle Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. Swift and nimble, Kyle is generally more cautious than the rest of his family. He uses dual crescent blades to slice through his enemies.

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A couple times now Lefty’s VA has sounded like he’s about to transform into Master Shake.

:siren: UPDATE TIME! :siren:

With the basement conquered, D now finds himself in an unexplored portion of the castle, one full of high technology and new dangerous opponents. However, in his exploration he finds himself blocked once again by faulty equipment. Can D put on his electrician hat once again in order to continue on his way, or will he give up his lead due to the unpaid extra work involved?

New Characters Introduced This Episode

Groveck Marcus
A vampire hunter and member of the Marcus Brothers. A frail and gentle man, Grove assists his family using psychic projection, which allows him the ability to fly and attack using magical energy. Although he is impervious to damage via his projected form, this power is activated by inducing a seizure, which takes a heavy toll on his weak body.

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This game is, obviously, bad. But it’s got a good aesthetic that I’m really digging.

:siren: UPDATE TIME! :siren:

With another of D’s handyman jobs completed, he now has access to the third floor of the castle again! With the Sun Tower key card in hand, he goes to explore this new area, but a crafty enemy is waiting for him in secret, ready to strike D when he least suspects it. Will D be able to survive the encounter with this shadowy figure, or will he find himself at the mercy of this new assailant? Perhaps if he had some help…

Characters Introduced This Episode

Benge
One of Meier Link’s bodyguards and a mutant from the town of Barbarois. A wily character, Benge can create illusory traps and travel through shadows in order to sneak up on his enemies. His goofy personality is unappreciated by his allies, but his skills in assassination are unmatched amongst the Barbarois.


Charlotte Elbourne
The daughter of the village elder who was kidnapped by Meier Link. Despite her predicament, Charlotte seems unwilling to leave the castle with D or the Marcus brothers. Although weak in comparison to the rest of the castle’s inhabitants, she’s steadfast and strong in regards to herself and her feelings.

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I’m a little disappointed Benge isn’t in more of the game because I really like that he sounds like every NPC from Raven’s Cry.