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  • Adaptation Displacement. Downplayed compared to many other examples, but not everyone knows that the game is based after a tabletop game.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: With the majority of the characters using you as a pawn who fulfills quests, and the setting in general, this trope is a given.
    • Isaac, in both his relation to Ash and to the PC.
      • Is he a genuine friend who just wants to recover his old relationship with Ash? Or is he an obsessed vampire who embraced Ash just to force a relationship, whatever might be its nature, between them?
      • Does Isaac truly belong with the Anarchs with his dislike of the Camarilla? Or is he really not that different from the Camarilla or a Prince? Do note that his first quest is him demanding tribute for entering his territory before he gives any information, sending the Fledgling on a goose chase into several dangerous territories, including into the haven of a Tzimisce (a Clan well known for inflicting Fate Worse than Death at worst), and all the while not even lifting a finger to help...which sounds almost exactly like what Lacroix has done to the Fledgling in the game and how a Camarilla Prince would normally behave. He also all but cites the Tradition of Domain by name, one of the Camarilla's more annoying rules (anyone who arrives in a new city must introduce themselves to the Prince, and the Prince is well within their rights to tell them to get out, though it's usually just a formality), and one that doesn't really have the excuse of "keeping us hidden from humans" to prop it up.
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    • Is VV a gentle vampire too kindhearted to resort to the occasional violence she knows is vital to preserving the Masquerade? Or is she, in true Toreador fashion, a Manipulative Bitch who emotionally manipulates young kindred into performing her dirty work for her? On the one hand, she does send you off to kill a hunter for her and later pushes you to both take a man's script and kill the vampire who was leaking him information, becoming cold to you if you try to make her do any of it. On the other, Toreador usually aren't great at fighting and they have a very deep love of art.
    • How trustworthy is Nines? While he always seems honest and polite to the Fledgeling, even if they're outright rude to him, he's not mentioned by Rosa as someone they can trust. Whether or not this is simply because he has his own agenda seperate from the Fedgeling or not is uncertain.
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    • Is Strauss a Reasonable Authority Figure? Or is he simply a Manipulative Bastard who's just as corrupt as the rest of the Camarilla, but understands you catch more flies with honey?
    • A minor case comes up for "The Deb of Night", an NPC who runs a radio show. Is she a normal human just living her life in the World of Darkness, or is she a vampire running a station that takes in crazies as callers to help maintain the Masquerade? She's very quick to shut down Andrei's call in to her show and it's hinted she might be a Toreador since she blows up at a blowhard "writer" who's never written anything for "doing a disservice" to the people who actually dedicate their lives to an art form. However, both of these things are something a perfectly normal human could do since the "writer" was clearly trying to impress her and Andrei called in to deliver a creepy monologue about the end of the world.
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    • LaCroix gets this In-Universe during the conversation in which you determine your ending. The PC and the cab driver can have a back-and-forth about the prince, debating whether he truly is the power-mad tyrant the Anarchs have him pinned as, or rather a genuinely good leader with the city's best interests at heart. The ending shows that he is a power-mad wannabe tyrant, but not quite clever enough for his ambitions.
    • The Malkavian PC. Are they as loopy as their dialogue suggests, or are they just messing with people? Given that the other Malkavians met in the game are Therese/Janette (who are generally coherent outside of their final breakdown), Rosa (who, when not babbling about her visions, can hold a normal conversation) and Grout (who is notably very eloquent, even when his madness begins to creep in near the end of his recordings), it seems the strange way of speaking isn't a commonality of the clan. There's more than one moment in a Malkavian playthrough where they can seem pretty lucid, and Gary even manages to get them to drop their purple prose altogether.
    • Nadia can come across as a repressed bisexual with serious internalized homophobia issues, due to her family's beliefs. Regardless of gender, she stammers when coming face-to-face with a player character with high seduction stats, but will only respond to a male PC's flirting. Given her meek nature, it's not hard to imagine her crumbling to the will of her family and trying to ignore a part of her sexuality because it doesn't fit their expectations.
    • In his Badass Boast, Gary Golden states that neither Sebastian, Isaac nor Nines have any domain over him. He doesn't mention Strauss, despite both being Primogen. Did he simply not bother to mention him? Is Strauss that below him? Does he respect Strauss? Or is he that scared of him?
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The fight against the Tzimisce she-spider in the sewers becomes this if you are a Tremere, since Blood Strike kills it in three or four hits just as easily as anything else.
    • As a Malkavian, Grünfeld Bach becomes this thanks to Dementation. Hit him with Vision of Death, stun-locking him into the animation for almost ten seconds, which will give more than enough time for the power to recharge so it can be used on him again, providing you haven't disposed of him already. Have fun.
      • The above is true of numerous other bosses as well, notably the Gargoyle and the Southland Slasher, both of whom will be left with almost no chance to fight back if you use this method in tandem with beating them up.
      • Vision of Death can even make the notorious three Brotherhood of the Ninth Circle boss fights a non issue. Through judicious use of the power plus a fire axe, it's entirely possible to finish all three fights without ever taking any damage.
    • The final fight against Andrei the Tzimisce if you have the flamethrower. Just using the auto-shotgun makes it slightly more difficult.
    • The endgame. Assuming you were hoping to kill the Prince in something other than a cut scene.
  • Ascended Meme: The goofy dance that the player can do in clubs has been fully recreated and reanimated as is, Narm Charm and all, for the game's upcoming 2020 sequel just because the development team knew it was often joked about within the fandom.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: The raving lunatic flavour of Malkavian was not pioneered by Bloodlines, but the PC Malk is such a relentless and over the top example that their portrayal has practically become synonymous with the clan; their unique route is also one of the most well-remembered things about this game. This has historically been a pet peeve for VTM tabletop players, who often find "fishmalk" to be a popular choice for newbies who love the idea of playing a wacky vampire and forgo the clan's intricacies and potential for drama in favour of emulating the Malkavian PC's behaviour in Bloodlines. Also notable is that the other major Malkavian characters in the game, Jeanette/Therese and Grout, incline much more to the mental-illness-gone-haywire depiction of the clan, and their twisted psyches are Played for Drama. The sequel has also promised to focus on the more serious side of the clan curse.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Andrei the Tzimisce, as Archbishop of the L.A. branch of the Sabbat, takes the Sabbat's ideals of embracing their inner beast and renouncing their humanity to a whole new level. Andrei lives in a house that he has decorated with body parts in order to make it resemble his ancestral estate. The walls are coated with bloodied human flesh and the furniture is made from bones and organs. Equal parts Evil Sorcerer and Mad Scientist, Andrei uses live people and vampires as materials in his construction of the monstrous abominations that serve as his soldiers. He then tests the killing capacity of these monsters by unleashing them on defenseless mortals, with his ultimate goal being to use them to wage war against the Camarilla. In particular he plans on wiping out the Nosferatu in order to "gouge out the eyes of the Camarilla". Also, should the player not send away their ghoul friend/lover, Heather Poe, then, upon reaching the Sabbat's lair, the player will arrive just in time to see Heather brutally murdered by Andrei's goons.
    • Bishop Vick is the egotistical leader of the plaguebearer cult, the Brotherhood of the Ninth Circle. Losing his faith in God and humanity after his Embrace, Vick formed the Brotherhood to spread a fatal, gruesome disease among prostitutes and the homeless, and anyone he deems "enlightened", with the intent of infecting vampire and human alike, utterly devastating the latter population. By the time the fledgling reaches Downtown LA, the cult's sicknesses have already reached levels high enough to bring the CDC in. His human followers residing in the crack house are shown to have been reduced to little more than rotting, mindless zombies.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Playing as Nosferatu. A character so ugly that people run away? Not funny. A character so ugly that people pass out or have a heart attack? Funny.
    • A realistic looking Raptor Statue in a hallway? Scary. Having a in-game explaination of why it's there in the first place (basically, someone put it there as a prank)? Funny.
  • Cult Classic: The bugginess of the game as it was originally released put a dent in its popularity, but a dedicated fanbase has grown over the years, especially in light of recent fan patches.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The game is a very complex, ambitious and non-linear action/RPG with an intriguing, atmospheric story and multiple ways to solve the majority of the quests... until its last act, in which it more or less drops the RPG part, including greatly reducing any in-depth NPC interaction, and becomes a somewhat hack-fest against waves and waves of enemies and obnoxious boss battles. In fact, while it is perfectly possible to complete most of the game with a non combat oriented character who focuses on — say — stealth or diplomacy but isn't particularly good with guns and swords, in the last chapters such character will probably get their ass kicked.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: LaCroix, despite being a Hate Sink and one of the most hated characters in-universe, has a surprisingly large number of fangirls.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Fat Larry, the go-to merchant in Downtown is well remembered, due to how funny and charismatic he is.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Notable for the contributing factors. Pretty-much all in-game signs point to the cab driver being Caine, but the developers, when questioned by fans, claim that there is no right answer, and the expanded-universe novel covering Gehenna puts Caine elsewhere. However, it's entirely possible he put himself there so Beckett would find him in a circumstance that would make him appear trustworthy, or... yeah, you can justify either point of view.
      • If you check out the folders associated with the game on your computer, all of the Cabbie's voice-files are sitting in a file labeled Caine. As for conflicting with the novel, it's worth noting that Caine is effectively a vampiric God - disguising his appearance or possessing someone and using them to seem as if he were in two places at once would be child's play for him. If anything, it's possible that almost crossing paths with Beckett in LA is what prompted their later interaction in the novel...
    • Some fans have suggested that Deb, from the radio show, is Kindred. This would explain a lot, since she'd probably be how the Camarilla (or the Anarchs) kept tabs on the various crazies. Note her reactions to Andrei and that one Conspiracy Theorist who manages to figure everything out, for the latter she gets unusually hostile at the guy, and for the former she says she has to "take care of something" and quickly goes to commercial after the call.
    • It is commonly suggested that Grout is alive. In particular: his corpse should have disintegrated completely considering how old he is, he can predict the future being a Malkavian and all, and the audio logs are scattered for someone to discover them by going through the front door, which faux-Nines didn't do. Conversely, the Malkavian player, when talking about Grout will make reference to "that name not being here" and that they shouldn't go, so Grout would have to be hiding from the Malkavian Madness Network too, which is unlikely since that reaches even Malks in Torpor.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Sebastian LaCroix and Ming Xiao are attractive and well groomed, but absolutely awful individuals who manipulate and treat you like trash.
    • Pisha, the lightly dressed South Asian vampire who is also a cannibal, although she's much more pleasant than LaCroix and Xiao.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Surprisingly enough, the Kuei-Jin ending practically oozes the one-sided version of this. We finally see Lacroix and Ming Xiao interact as she gloats over his defeat in a downright creepy way. She touches his shoulder, gets up in his face, even touches his face - all while calling him "sweet prince" and referring to his "handsome head." Makes you wonder if this is similar to how all their offscreen interactions have gone, huh?
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Celerity easily tops the list of game-breakers, being by far the best offense-boosting buff as well as near the top of defense boosting buffs. It slows everything in the game except you to a crawl. Nothing can even catch up to you and even bullets become slow enough to dodge easily. The kicker is the duration - fill your blood pool by sucking on a couple of mooks (which also kills them) and you can fuel celerity for over four minutes. This makes the Brujah and Toreador much more powerful than the other clans if you max this discipline out.
    • Late game guns eclipse melee weapons in power and usability, and the Steyr Aug stands above the rest. This beast has no major weaknesses with a mix of great damage, fast firing speed, long-range scope, high clip size, and excellent accuracy. The only downside is that you need to zoom in to get the double damage bonus, though it is only a bit inconvenient in close quarters. The AUG can even make the battle with the Chiropteran Behemoth into an Anti-Climax Boss, since with the double damage boost from using the scope it can die in as little as one magazine if every shot hits.
      • The SPAS-15 also gets an honorable mention. Unlike the Ithaca shotgun or the Plus Patch exclusive Dragon's Breath, this thing fires full-auto, emptying six shotgun blasts into a target in just over a second. While it doesn't hold quite enough ammo to make a good primary, it's ideal as a Boss-Breaker. With the proper stats, both of Andrei's battles and the Chang Brothers can die in two full magazines each, and Tzimisce spider creatures can go down in one or less.
      • By logical extension of the extreme power of Celerity and the high power of guns, the Toreador clan is bizarrely the most powerful combat clan in the late game. Not quite what the story would have you believe, presenting them as wimpy self-absorbed posers. Combining ranged combat with Celerity and Auspex lets you dust the final boss before he can even reach you. Toreador are one of the two clans which have access to Celerity, along with the Brujah, but unlike the Brujah their other offensive discipline gives a buff to guns rather than melee weapons.
    • Malkavian have a lot of non-combat utility power. You begin with an innate bonus in Spotting. The three specific disciplines doesn't break the Masquerade when used outside and two of them are very very useful: Dementation (Hysteria) allows you to hypnotize most NPCs (replacing a persuasion attempt in dialog, influencing quest-related NPCs to do something stupid, or shortly freezing a single hostile NPC during a fight), and Obfuscate is basically a super enhanced stealth. Those two disciplines combined make the stealth-based missions a cakewalk (Obfuscate allows you to cross the entire "Blood Hunt" level without fighting!). And what is the drawback of being a Malkavian? No actual stat penalties, but only hearing voices and having weird lines in dialogs. Auspex, providing a bonus to guns, is a decent offensive buff when it comes to actual fighting.
      • For even more gamebreaking, you can play a Malkavian with a specific historynote  "Occult Nut", which has the advantage of gaining more XP as quest reward and the drawback of limiting the highest charisma score to 3 instead of 5. This lowered charisma cap is actually another benefit in disguise though - the last two points in charisma are a noob trap that aren't worth it at all. They cost 28 experience points and allow you to earn a measly three experience points and a couple hundred bucks from a quest with no storyline significance. Hilarious on a meta level if you imagine the Occult Nut Malkavian also knows the last two points are a huge waste and just won't let you buy them.
      • On top of that, the Dementation ability "Vision of Death" is a game-breaker by itself. For a comparatively low cost per use, it can kill most singular targets instantly and, as noted in the Anti-Climax Boss section above, will stun most bosses for up to ten whole seconds, allowing you to beat on them and recharge the power to use on them again.
      • Malkavians also have Obfuscate, which can combine with Dementation to make combat with humans almost insultingly easy. A sly Malkavian can stand in the corner of a room, casting spells that make enemies fight each other or just drop dead, all while invisible. Then they can feed off of the survivors to make the blood back.
    • At higher levels, Fortitude makes you near invincible, especially if you have the body armor. With it, you can shrug off entire clips of Steyr Aug ammo and even normally hard-hitting bosses like Andrei's War Form and The Sheriff will barely hurt you.
      • Fortitude is such a good defensive power that it even allows the Ventrue fledgling to become one of the more formidable late-game combat clans. Despite having no real offensive boosting disciplines like Potence or Auspex and a rather basic combat discipline in Dominate, Fortitude plus heavy armor and a high defense makes them a Blue Blood Juggernaut. It gets even better because Dominate generally isn't worth upgrading past the third level in the unpatched game. Forgoing the last two levels of Dominate guarantees 35 XP that can be used to pump Fortitude or add some Presence to make fights even more lopsided.
    • The Protean Discipline becomes this thanks to some quirks in the Plus Patch. The levels stack with each other when turned on, providing both the level 4 Strength bonus and level 5 Brawl bonus in War Form. Combined with boosting normal stats, this can give the Gangrel War Form an unarmed combat rating of 20. The kicker? That rating can be achieved with a Strength rating of merely 3, and the game literally cannot stack the stat any higher. This frees up 28 XP to put into Fortitude, making them borderline indestructable on top of that. Even better, in the Plus Patch with some conversation choices and through pumping up Disciplines early, Beckett can give you a fourth discipline: Celerity
    • The Flamethrower deals ridiculous damage with no firearms skill needed, and it stops non-monstrous bosses from attacking or using their defensive skills as long as they burn. Its only weaknesses are its lack of ammunition, the high cost of the fuel, and the ever present threat of accidentally burning yourself to death with it.
    • The Thaumaturgy Discipline, exclusive to the Tremere clan, is ridiculously powerful. Its starting ability, Blood Strike, is a homing projectile with a decent range that always damages, kills any non-boss in three or four hits, including the Tzimisce spider-creatures, costs only one blood point, and - the kicker - restores two blood points to you after it damages most types of enemies. It's possible to wipe out an entire area with this ability and only end up with a net loss of one blood point. The second tier power, Blood Purge, affects almost all enemies, including several bosses. It costs only two blood points, and paralyzes enemies for several seconds by making them vomit blood. By the time they recover (assuming you haven't already killed them), the ability has long since recharged and can be used again. And to top it off the third tier, the Blood Shield, basically serves as a poor-man's Fortitude. While it costs three blood points, which isn't inexpensive, the bonus is that it's not on a timer like all passive disciplines, meaning if you don't take enough damage to break it, it'll last an entire level.
      • And thanks to the Plus Patch, Thaumaturgy also gets the fourth power, Blood Theft. Using it on an enemy instantly kills them and restores more than half the player's blood pool per use, allowing a Tremere to more freely spam spells before the recharge. The only downsides are it takes a few seconds and if the target gets killed early, the blood is lost.
    • The similarly functional (and Tremere and Ventrue exclusive) Trance skill, which only costs one blood, leaves your opponent completely defenseless for a good while, works on almost every boss, and will still daze them even if it fails! Not only can it be used to unload magazines of pain on bosses, it is also VERY useful for stealthy players. And to add icing on the cake, it erases recent memory from the target, meaning it can be used to neutralize any potential witness who threaten the Masquerade without having to kill them.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The zombies. These enemies are not really difficult to defeat compared to humans or Ghouls, but if they manage to bite the playable character, they will take a lot of life from him and keep him paralyzed.
    • Head creatures, by themselves, are not difficult to defeat and can be killed with a couple of shots from a Colt. But they are agile and can take a good part of health if they manage to hit the playable character.
    • The Gangrel in the final fight of the game. If the player is too focused on the final boss, they can catch him by surprise and take a lot of life.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • Crouching hides you utterly from almost all enemies, even with no investment into the stealth skill. You can simply crouch walk up to people and snap their necks, allowing a no-combat skills vampire to progress astonishingly far into the game. In fact, the otherwise bastard hard Ming Xiao fight can be cheesed simply by sneak crouching behind her, and just pelting her in the back with your pistols for 20 minutes or so until she collapses into an ash pile. She will see you and begin to fight you if you shoot her from somewhere she can see you though.
    • You can get duplicates of skill books by selling them to a vendor and buying them back. Most books can raise your skills two levels, but only one at a time.
    • After the Point of No Return, the player character can only go to their haven, Vandal's bloodbank, Trip and Mercurio shops, and the two final levels. Except leaving the haven through the airvent instead of the door allows to still access the normal areas of the game. It's fixed by the Unofficial Patch.
    • During the boss fight with Ming Xiao, her limbs can be chopped off only to form slightly weaker clones of herself to fight the player. But if one's playing as a clan with the Dominate power Possession, the power will work on her clones as well as any human. This means they will attack her while under the power, possibly distracting her from the player.
    • Passive Disciplines ( Fortitude, Auspex, Obfuscate, etc.) are always on a short timer. But triggering the Discipline multiple times will stack the timers on top of each other. By finding a few enemies and recharging the power while feeding on them, a savvy player can spend entire levels invisible/almost unkillable.
    • Hiding in a certain place during the final boss battle will cause Chiropteran Behemoth to glitch out and stay floating in one place, allowing you to just shoot it until it dies.
      • You can exploit a similar bug during the werewolf attack and just stay in one spot, causing the werewolf to just pace back and forth until the timer runs out.
      • Similarly, with Brother Kanker you can simply move behind the steam pipes and shoot him while he dances about unable to reach you.
      • Another useful bug with Kanker is before he reveals himself, he can still interacted with; If the player has a targeted attack Dsiscpline, it'll even register him as a target depsite being invisible. Simply hit him once or fire off a single shot from any firearm, and he'll attack, skipping the entire dialogue with him, even if the player can't kill him immediately outright.
      • There's a third "Blade Brother" you'll have to face off against inside the Golden Temple. However, he almost always without fail manages to get himself stuck in the waterwheel/pool area, making him extremely easy to kill or to just walk right past without fighting at all.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • If you look on Simon Milligan's computer when you come to deal with him for Pisha, you discover that they were planning on shooting the next episode in the zombie-filled graveyard in Hollywood.
    • Mitnik tells you that he discovered vampires when he hacked into Schrecknet. The NSA would later stumble upon the same Network and that lead to the Second Inquisition.
    • Related above, Bertram tells a Tremere PC that he's heard that the Tremere is a dying breed. Clan Tremere was later hit hard by the Second Inquisition when they raided their headquarter and took out most of their leadership.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • You can tell E after rescuing Lilly "Vampires in love, you two make a great airport paperback".
    • One radio commercial is for a "Frankenstein" game parodying VtM: Bloodlines (down to being created by Troika themselves!). One of the gamelines in the New World of Darkness is Promethean: The Created, which is, at its most basic, exactly such a thing.
    • One of the offensive video games a news report cites as a target for political criticism is called 'Meth Tycoon.' In 2004, a popular work of fiction with a meth dealer protagonist probably seemed suitably over the top. A few years later...
    • One of "The Deb Of Night's" commercials is for a Troperiffic horrible action movie, apparently entitled simple "See It, Because It's A Movie, And All Your Friends Are Going." The commercial ends with "In theaters Friday, and on DVD in three months." While this was an astonishingly fast turn-around time for theatrical films when the game was released, nowadays, films are available on DVD and Blu-Ray around that timeframe.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • "Smiling" Jack, the Brujah former pirate and proud Anarch is manipulating the Player Character more than almost any other Kindred in the entire game. Having arranged for the transport of the mysterious Ankaran Sarcophagus, Jack cheerfully shows the main character the ropes of vampirism before clandestinely boarding the ship transporting the sarcophagus, simulating a vampire attack while secretly stealing the mummified king within and replacing it with C4. Jack proceeds to lend his aid from the shadows, manipulating the main character into fighting and dispatching all of the threats to the Anarch faction in the city, especially the smug, vile Ventrue Prince Sebastian Lacroix. Just for kicks, Jack even makes sure to leave a note for when Lacroix opens the sarcophagus reading "Boom! — love Jack" as a final touch of black humor.
    • Gary Golden was a Hollywood movie star when Embraced into the Nosferatu. The Primogen of the Los Angeles branch of the clan, Gary is an information broker who deals his information to anyone who wants it in flagrant violation of Prince LaCroix's will. Allowing the Sabbat to think the Nosferatu have been defeated, Gary simply allows others to destroy their ghouls while being in no danger along with most of his clan in the warren. Gary then proceeds to manipulate the protagonist for favors of his own, rewarding them with information and reminding them he's always available should there be something to trade.
  • Memetic Mutation: Discussion on Bloodlines online will eventually lead to someone saying "Time to re-install", with a demotivational poster explaining it perfectly: "Bloodlines: Every time you mention it, someone WILL install it".
    • Similarly, discussing playing Bloodlines for the first time online will lead to people giving the obtuse advice "Don't open it."
  • Misblamed: While the mix of Activision forcing the game to release and the shadow of Half-Life 2's release (as well as several other anticipated titles) have taken the brunt of the blame for Troika's demise, the studio actually survived and only died after being unable to find a publisher for its isometric post-apocalyptic game. Though neither the broken state, So Okay, It's Average reviews, and dismal sales of Bloodlines at launch probably didn't help matters.
  • Moe: Lily, for being a good-looking, but shy and soft-spoken thin-blood.
  • Moral Event Horizon: LaCroix was presented as unlikable from day one, but you could still, to some extent, sympathize with him due to how little respect he got and the fact he remained more or less a polite Benevolent Boss as long as you didn't insult or defy him. He establishes himself as truly villainous when he tries to have Nines and your character killed by the Werewolves, then uses you as a scapegoat to cover his deals with the Kuei Jin, even if you have been nothing but loyal and obedient to him until that point. After this, trying to still support him regardless will automatically result in your character's death.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • There's nothing quite like coming back to your haven and hearing The Deb of Night playing quietly on the radio.
    • The schwing! sound you hear when you get experience points.
    • Some of the Disciplines' sound effects can be this too. Such as Thaumaturgy's tolling bell, the low thrum of Fourtitude, and the extremely satisfying final boom of thunder when delivering a killing blow with Potence.
  • Narm:
    • Any cutscene featuring the Player Character won't look nearly as serious or cool if you're playing as a woman because they're rigged to the same skeleton as a male character. Their animations look incredibly wonky, and they have a notably masculine way of walking.
    • The opening cutscene is supposed to be filled with a sense of tension, but it's silly when you see that Velvet has attended what's supposed to be a formal meeting in her stripper outfit.
    • Nines' (and to a lesser extent, Damsel's) "rage face" looks pretty good... for a second or two. If they hold it longer than that (because they're waiting for you to select the next line of dialogue, for instance), or if they actually try and speak wearing it, the effect is... not what they were going for.
    • The clothing physics. More often than not, if your character is wearing something loose-fitted like a trenchcoat, it will clip through your body, get stuck on itself and bunch up in awkward ways. This effect worsens in cutscenes, resulting in your character having a casual conversation with someone while their coat impales them. A notable example is the female Toreador's heavy leather/body armor outfit, whose physics cause the coat skirt to clip from even just walking, and tends to get stuck that way until you change clothes.
    • The claw weapon that you can get from the claw-wielding Kuei-jin in the Giovanni catacombs is cool in concept, but using them will make your character hobble around like an ape, as it uses the same animations as lower levels of Protean.
  • Narm Charm: The very goofy-looking dance that both the player and npcs do while in the game's various night clubs. It may look ridiculous and like everyone in the game is an objectively terrible dancer, but the playerbase has grown so fond of it that the devs of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 decided to recreate it verbatim for the new game.
  • One-Scene Wonder: At the penultimate level of the Nosferatu Warrens, you run into a friendly nossie (the only "living" one you encounter before reaching the clan's hideout below) who battles the Tzimisce's flesh-crafted monsters alongside you. They can't be spoken to and seemingly exist only to give you a breather from killing everything yourself.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Scholarship, of all things. It is tied to what are probably the two most important abilities in the game - persuade and research. Persuade lets you get much better outcomes story-wise and gameplay-wise than you could without, and research is incredibly useful because it lets you raise your other stats. The icing on the cake is that it is in the category of cheaper traits to raise and there are two opportunities to get a free point in scholarship during the game.
  • Player Punch: Heather Poe's fate, which is unavoidable, but only if you picked the less-moral option before. Thankfully, one of the features of the Unofficial Patch is the ability to avoid this nasty fork.
    • The encounter with Samantha. Your character meets a friend/relative from when you were human, who apparently was worried sick about you, is happy to see you again, and intends to call the others to say she found you... and since this would endanger the Masquerade, you have to prevent her from doing so. Which you can only do by killing her, threatening her, brainwashing her into forgetting your encounter (which is only available if you are a Tremere or Ventrue), or pretending you are someone else, leaving her sad and disappointed. Not only are there no option to explain her the truth or convince her to be a Secret-Keeper, but this suddenly makes you realize that, following their embrace, your character had to leave all their relatives and loved ones behind, without even getting to say them goodbye. Welcome to the World of Darkness.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Even the most glowing reviews have derided the game's clunky combat and how it ramps up towards the end; weapon selection is somewhat impractical, enemies on the ground are harder to hit, and most guns are practically worthless, since the time needed just to aim properly is more than enough for most opponents to get in melee with you, nullifying their advantage as long range weapon.
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • The .38 Revolver is easily the worst weapon in the game and possibly one of the most useless guns in video game history. Poor accuracy even at medium range, kills normal humans in at least three shots, and has a six-shot capacity. The only good thing about it is that ammo is common and it can serve as a decent weapon for killing zombies.
    • The Utica/Ithaca shotgun isn't much better. While it does solid damage, unlike the revolver, it's almost useless outside of punching distance and reloading takes an infuriatingly long time, not helped by the five round magazine.
    • The Plus Patch adds the Dragon's Breath, a double-barrel shotgun that shoots incendiary rounds that deal aggravated damage, in theory making it ideal against vampires. But it doesn't deal enough damage to kill supernatural enemies in both shots even with maxed out firearms stats (unlike the Automatic Shotgun, which is both cheaper and buyable earlier) and to top it off, most of the damage is done over time rather than immediate. This leaves the player reloading while getting pounded by enemies who get up close and personal, i.e. most of them.
    • As for melee weapons, there's no reason to ever use the tire iron, since it has objectively worse base damage than just punching people. The baseball bat is slightly better, but becomes almost instantly useless the moment the player picks up a knife, or even better, the fire axe.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Choosing to play as a Nosferatu presents a unique challenge - being seen by humans out in the open will break the Masquerade, so you'll be forced to navigate the city via the sewers (though since people won't see you unless you're up close, and you have to enter buildings anyway). Generic NPCs will refuse to interact with you, and you are cut off from almost all diplomatic options when dealing with quest essential characters.
  • Signature Scene: The quest where the player needs to go to the Ocean House Hotel is one of, if not the most, well remembered quests in the game. It's often included in lists of the scariest or most atmospheric levels in video games, even though Bloodlines isn't really a horror game.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The main menu sounds almost like an instrumental version of "Angel" by Massive Attack.
  • That One Boss: The game has a few boss encounters that spike the difficulty up, especially for those who have only sparsely invested their experience points in combat and Disciplines.
    • For the non-combat oriented, the Cathayan is destined to be a proper Wake-Up Call Boss. He actively uses the environment unlike previous bosses, slashes them with a katana to do heavy damage before jumping away and unloading on the player with a flaming crossbow at range.
    • The other boss fight in Santa Monica, the blood demon in Gallery Noir, also qualifies. It's slower, but has a larger health bar than the Cathayan and deals aggrevated damage. On the plus side, the Unofficial Patch Plus seems to nerf its damage output to a degree, making the fight much less of a pain.
    • Brother Kanker, the depraved Nosferatu haunting the Downtown sewers, can easily tear an unprepared fledgling apart in a straight fight. There are several ways to cheese him, but they are not immediately obvious. In the same quest line, his boss, Bishop Vick, can also be this (the third member of their group, Jezebel, is not quite as threatening as either).
    • The Tzimisce's horrifying spider-like creation can be this the first time you meet her (especially if your character is focused on Melee.). And when you meet her again, and again, and again just a little further into the much-maligned sewer mission.
    • Zygaena the Hengeyokai in Chinatown holds the dubious honor of being the toughest boss in the game not part of the main story. He packs the second most hit-points after Ming Xiao, can knock off almost a quarter of the player's health with one hit and throws frozen fish from a distance. Trying to melee fight him is borderline suicide, so guns are pretty much required. Fortunately, the player can shoot the tanks around the arena to freeze him in place and render him defenseless for a moment or two. Unfortunately, he doesn't always go near the tanks, instead preferring to just charge the player and pound them directly. And to top it off, you fight him alongside Yukie, and she will not last very long if she's fighting him alone. So if the player wants to keep her alive, the fight becomes even harder.
    • Griffith Park's werewolf boss, which cannot be killed through conventional means and will rip you to shreds within seconds; you're thrown into a battle for survival with them that lasts several minutes. One wrong turn or running into it with your back against some unfortunate scenery is all it takes for the game over screen to find you. Although it can be killed by thinking outside the box a bit, which nets you greater experience.
    • Ming-Xiao is more difficult than the other end-game bosses, with an enormous health bar, frustrating attacks; and unlike her counterpart the Sheriff, no boss arena gimmicks that allow the player to pull the rug out from under her. It's just one very long brawl against an oppressive bullet sponge.
  • That One Level: And these Scrappy Levels can't even be blamed on Troika's Obvious Beta release...
    • The Warrens... Both from a gameplay perspective and from a narrative standpoint.
      • Gameplay-wise, not only are they the worst kind of Marathon Level, one which comes on the heels of a whole other level with its own boss fight, not only are they an unintuitive maze, and not only are there Goddamn Bats every few feet, Demonic Spiders every few yards, and Degraded Bosses in the same dungeon where they appear as proper boss fights, but there is no opportunity to replenish your blood supply through any of it besides a rapidly-dwindling supply of rats. If you don't have either Pisha's blood-collection artifact or a generous supply of blood packs, you're going to be in a lot of trouble, very fast, especially if you're a Ventrue, who can't even use the rats. There are a couple of hidden and off-the-beaten-path points at which you can leave the sewers to heal your wounds and replenish your supplies, but when the big selling point of a level is that you can get the fuck away from it, you know you've got a rare vintage of scrappiness. Thankfully the most recent versions of the unofficial patch re-implements a Dummied Out shortcut that allows you to skip the lower three levels.
      • From a narrative point of view, they constitute a dramatic end to the majority of the story- and character-based portions of the game, and an equally dramatic beginning to its long, slow, agonizing slide into endless combat, which continues without relief to the very end. Except for Chinatown, which itself is the shortest and least open of the main hubs.
      • And since the game only gives experience for quests and not for enemies killed, all the enemies you meet only represent an unnecessary waste of bullets. (If you remembered to stock up on ammo.)
    • The museum level as well. It's starts off rather simple until you get to the lower levels. Now you've got cameras that sound alarms if you get caught in their paths. You can disable the cameras by using the computer in the security booth, but there's a guard inside. If you don't have any Disciplines to incapacitate him without killing him, you're going to have a hell of a time trying to maneuver around the cameras and the guards patrolling the area.
    • The Elizabeth Dane can be this if you neglected Persuasion. It isn't so bad if you're halfway decent in Persuasion. You can persuade the first guard to give you the police report and call away another guard, then you just need to sneak into the cabin, open the record room door and view the sarcophagus remotely, take the ledger and off you go. Without even coming close to another guard. And if you're a Nosferatu or a Malkavian, hence gifted with Obfuscate, even the sneaking portions aren't that bad.
      • Even without Obfuscate if you managed to persuade the first guard but screw up (i.e. take too long and the guard is back at his post) you can just run right by him, pistols aren't going to drop you that fast and you can still avoid killing anyone.
    • The Kuei-Jin Golden Temple might not be as bad as the Warrens above, but it's almost as brutal in terms of length and the Demonic Spiders that you have to fight through across maze-like tight rooms laden with deadly traps (Caine help you if you aren't careful with your skill point allocations). The enemies are numerous and most of them carry the highly-damaging crossbows that could kill you in a few hits, and after you go underground you won’t even find any rat to replenish your blood. After you brave through all that, you'll fight Ming-Xiao herself, who's one tough bitch to beat as detailed in That One Boss above. Even with the Unofficial Patch installed and you get Yukie to help you out (if she survived her own quest, that is), she'll only be there in the first quarter part of the mission and won't follow you underground, and unlike the Warrens which has a short-cut that you can skip through in the patch, the Temple mission is mandatory and you must go through it in every single playthrough except if you side with Ming-Xiao, which earns you a bad ending.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The Brotherhood of the Ninth Circle. As noted under That One Boss, that entire questline can be a wake-up call for any clan that doesn't do well at combat, and even some clans that are will probably have some trouble.
    • Defending the graveyard from a zombie horde. There are literally hundreds of zombies, they take forever to kill, and the two gates you have to defend are very far apart, and you automatically fail if even one zombie breaks through. With Celerity and lots of min-maxed combat skills, it's difficult and requires good time-management skills and lots of practice. Without it, it's practically impossible. Let's just say that many players take up Romero's offer to get him a hooker (or have sex with him, if your character is female) just to avoid the sheer pain of the graveyard level.
    • Velvet's first quest to kill the stripper-assassin can be this thanks to both a glitch and the game not entirely explaining how to do it. She explains that it needs to be done quietly, and without anyone seeing. So, obviously guns are out, but the game doesn't explain that Masquerade-breaking Disciplines are also considered too loud. This can lead to a rather frustrating moment for some clans where, even though nobody saw it happen, it's still counted as a stealth failure. Not helping the matter is that one of the patrons can glitch and not leave his booth even when the window shuts, meaning the dancers won't come out, forcing a reload.
    • The third location in the stealth-based 'The Tangled Web' quest given to you by Mitnick. It takes you to a Metalhead Industries warehouse in Hollywood, where you have to maneuver around the three patrolling guards in there to complete your objectives without being noticed or killing any of them, which is hard because there isn't a lot of room to maneuver and there are many boxes blocking your way, and you have to get through two patrolling guards into a small security room with brightly lit light to unlock the door to your objective first. Worse yet, there is actually a quest item for another unrelated quest 'Poster Girl' that you can collect in a locker next to your objective, but it required a very high Hacking skill to get it open, so you have to orient your characters so that they both have high Stealth skill (if you don't have any Discipline that's useful for stealth) and high Hacking skill to 100% this location, which means skill points that could've been put in upgrading other useful skills or disciplines.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The PC's sire. Going by estimates from lore fans based on the PC's traits and the tabletop rules, they were at the very least of below-average generation, possibly even stronger (most likely 7th). Yet, they're forgotten about shortly after embracing the PC, with none of LA's major vamps other than LaCroix ever mentioning knowing them, and even then usually just in contrast to the fledgling. Why this individual chose the PC of all people, why a seemingly experienced vampire would (no doubt knowingly) commit such an obvious violation of the Traditions, who they were and what their allegiance or ambitions were, none of it is ever answered. Also falls into They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, given that this is Vampire, where whole storylines could spring from trying to dissociate oneself from a sire who has fallen from grace or the power vacuum that the destruction of such a vampire would create.
    • There are two other primogens (presumably Toreador and Ventrue) at the primogen meeting in LaCroix's office, but you never get to interact with them.
    • Grout. Seriously, the head Malkavian vampire already being dead when you find him is going to make you feel very cheated.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • The Brujah clan are usually considered to be the least interesting clan to play as because of this. While by no means weak overall, (they are all but unmatched at melee combat) they have no unique Disciplines and no targeted powers at all. Instead they wield two Boring, but Practical powers and a Game-Breaker, at the cost of low starting social skills and the worst stealth build of any clan. The Brujah fledgling also has much less clan-based dialogue than any other clan, possibly none, depending on the playthrough.
      • Doubly bad when compared to Toreador, who have two of the same powers, can fight almost identically, have more unique dialogue and can thrive in social situations from the start.
    • The Ventrue also get some flak for similar reasons. Besides Bertram, who has unique banter with every clan, almost nobody else besides the Prince really treats the player differently. As a result, half of the Ventrue's clan bonus of "easier acceptance into Camarilla society" isn't really useful, at the cost of not being able to drink from rats. The fact their combat style is also Boring, but Practical doesn't help either.
    • While the Auspex and Presence disciplines provide decent buffs in combat, they're neither dramatic nor game-changing. They give you some bonus to offense and defense, but unlike other disciplines they don't give you bullet time, mind control, virtual immunity to bullets, or invisibility. They certainly don't have the same dramatic flair as boiling somebody's blood and making them explode hard enough to kill everyone around them. The fact that they're not identified specifically with any one clan makes them feel fairly generic as well.
    • Protean is more interesting on the surface but unfortunately even less useful. The level 1 Protean power that all Gangrel get has the distinction of being the only discipline which is objectively inferior to Auspex level 1, as it also gives +1 Wits but breaks the Masquerade, has a shorter duration, and makes it hard to see. Once you level it up from there it starts to become a worse version of Potence - the description says it improves your unarmed attack, but what it actually does is replaces your brawl with a more damaging but far slower and very awkward attack and prevents you from using any kind of weapon. Tragically it also makes your character hop around like a chimp instead of running. To add insult to injury, the "terrifying war form" you get at level 5 stuns your character when it is activated or deactivated and looks like some kind of preposterous bat/monkey hybrid.
    • The entire suite of stats relating to social skills other than Persuasion are awful. Manipulation and finance only raise one skill, haggle, which is useless since you have far more than enough money in the first place. Intimidation is completely eclipsed by the much more versatile and reliable Persuasion, and there is a grand total of one instance in the entire game where Intimidation solves a problem that Persuasion can't. Worst of all are Subterfuge and Appearance which do nothing except raise seduction, which has the dubious honor of being the only skill in the game that it is better not to have. To start, it is even less commonly able to solve a problem than Persuasion and there are zero missions where it provides a better outcome than Persuasion. The real kicker though is that using seduction can cause you to miss two opportunities to get free skills/disciplines, which together cost more than all the experience points you'll earn in the first quarter of the game. Seduction (and intimidate) otherwise function as a significantly weaker version of persuasion, and there is no benefit to having more than one of the three.
      • To put this in perspective, since most non-social attributes raise two skills rather than one, the social stat purchases give you half as much of a useless skill. You could either get a theoretically sexy/scary character with maximum seduction and intimidation to get some new hit-or-miss dialogue options, or you could max Perception, Firearms, Wits, and Dodge to become some kind of Sherlock Holmes/Rambo/Ninja/Technomancer hybrid capable of seeing everything, shooting everything, dodging everything, and hacking almost everything.
  • Too Cool to Live: Grout and your sire, see They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character.
  • Ugly Cute: Of all things, most of the Nosferatu you encounter, besides Bertram. With a hood they could easily live in LA. The male PC Nosferatu is arguably the ugliest of them.
    • Mitnick the hacker Nosferatu looks like a perfectly normal 20-something aside from pointed ears and baldness. Some dialogue implies that Mitnick somehow became more attractive after becoming a Nosferatu. Which raises the question of how ugly he must have been before he was turned.
    • Gary really hypes up his own hideousness to the player but once he reveals himself he's... not really that ugly. Sure, he's not handsome and definitely not human, but he's hardly the nightmarish abomination he describes himself as.
    • Barabus is just pale, with sunken-in eyes and pointy ears. He's also quite buff, so he's by no means ugly.
    • Even the male PC Nosferatu can have a weird, monsterous kind of charm to him after a while. Especially compared with the female PC, who could compete with Bertram in the Ugly Olympics.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The way Lily twists her neck after killing Scrubs looks very unnatural.
    • Done deliberately with the Sabbat Gangrels Creepily Long Arms that reach down to their knees, which makes them very creepy to look at
  • Vindicated by History: While the game was considered to be a buggy and unstable mess at release and was such a massive commercial bomb that it sunk Troika Games, it has gone on to become a Cult Classic, with many praising its story and replay value. It helps that fan-made patches have done much to fix its many problems. The game has actually become so popular a sequel is now in the work.

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