A couple of weeks ago I received a nondescript white envelope in the mail. The name above the Toronto return address was simply “S.L.” and the envelope appeared to contain something a bit bulky. I probably spent several minutes running through people I know in Toronto, trying to figure out who had the initials matching those on envelope – and came up empty. Curiosity got the better of me, and upon opening the envelope I found a flyer wrapped around a pair of 3D glasses. I immediately hoped I wasn’t being invited to a 3D movie event, because they are as bad for my mind’s perception of movement as IMAX movies. I even suffer from vertigo when climbing the viewpoint towers in Assassin’s Creed. The flyer listed 5 reasons why I needed to play Humans Vs Vampires, along with a couple of screenshots and a casualty tally – it appeared that the Vampires were suffering horribly at the hands of Humans. Pity.
For those who don’t have any idea where this is headed, Humans Vs Vampires is a game that was developed by Secret Location for the Teletoon tween TV series My Babysitter’s a Vampire, which had its Canadian premiere on January 5th. Based on the multi-award-winning TV film of the same name directed by Bruce McDonald and produced by FreshTV, My Babysitter’s A Vampire is supported by The Bell Fund through the Independent Production Fund and stars Matthew Knight as Ethan Morgan, a typical high school with over-protective parents. To his utter embarrassment, Ethan’s parents decide the 9th grader needs a babysitter to watch over him and his 8 year old sister, played by Ella Jonas Farlinger.
Unfortunately, Ethan’s parents did not thoroughly investigate the new sitter’s background or check her references, as they seemed to have missed the bit about her being a fledgling vampire. Then again, in a town that’s full of strange happenings and strange creatures, I suppose it could be an easy thing to overlook. In true babysitter form, Sarah, played by Vanessa Morgan, gets Ethan and his friends out of all kinds of trouble while fighting her own inner demons. But then, living in a town with the ominous historical name of Whitechapel, what could possibly go wrong? Add in the extras like Ethan’s ability to see flashes of the future, a witch or two and a whole slew of vampires, werewolves and zombies, and there is no such thing as a boring weekday night in Whitechapel.
To further extend the TV property, Secret Location was commissioned to create Humans Vs Vampires, a traditional arcade-style, three rounds per match fighting game that you can play in 3D. Players can choose either side and play as either a male or female character – the stakes are high as moves are mastered and rounds won. Both sides have some pretty cool moves to enhance the traditional jump/duck and right/left abilities.
Each of the eight characters – Ethan, Sarah, Benny and Rory for the Humans, or Jesse, Erica, Nurse Vee and Zombie Principal Hicks for the Vampires – has three special moves. Among these special moves are Holy Water Gun Spray, Flying Stake and Fang Lunge. Taken directly from the show and transformed for the game, Ethan’s lightsaber and Benny’s “Book of Spells” are also used as special moves, allowing players to take away points from an opponent. Principal Hick’s Zombie breath is the most potent of Team Dark’s special moves. Not even Mentos can defend against that one.
Playable on your computer’s web browser, you do not need to have a 3D-enabled monitor to play in 3D, as Humans Vs Vampires uses stereoscopic 3D technology and can be switched to 2D. The game features photo-realistic game avatars that were modeled from videos of the actual TV series actors who engage in combat in various background scenes from the TV show’s locations. If you don’t have 3D glasses and can’t find any at a local retailer, there are video instructions on how to make your own 3D spectacles on the game’s web site.
In speaking about the game, show Executive Producer James Milward stated that “Humans VS Vampires features distinctive avatars, eye-catching backgrounds and lots of different battle moves that together provide a high-stakes experience, rivaling DS-style console games.”
If you require a little back-up or want to deepen your battle experience, Humans Vs Vampires has multiplayer functionality, enabling the ability for players to send invite codes to IM, text, or email to their friends for a little remote live play.
Make no mistake, though – there is more than just simply game-playing at stake in these virtual matches. The final tally of wins will determine which side – Humans or Vampires – will reign triumphant in the final episode of My Babysitter’s A Vampire. At press time, the current tally was 1, 442, 210 for the Humans, with the Vampires trailing at an almost respectable 838, 720 points. It would seem that the show’s fans do not want to see Whitechapel turned into a resort for the sunlight-challenged.
Award-winning Secret Location is well known for the high quality of their product and their very original and engaging web site. An interactive game developed for Canadian crime drama series Endgame was nominated for a Gemini Award last fall, and the title was just recently nominated for an International Emmy Award in the Digital Program: Fiction category. Here is hoping for an Emmy win – perhaps that will be enough to convince Shaw Media and Showcase that they really did make a mistake when they cancelled Endgame at the conclusion of its first season – drawing the wrath of fans from around the world. Unlike the fans of Endgame, though, My Babysitter’s A Vampire fans get to play a part in the outcome of the series, and it seems they are doing so in droves in a well run campaign by Secret Location and their publicist Julie Giles.