From time to time, adventure game fans find true gems on the iPhone: Jules Verne’s Return to Mysterious Island, Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered, and The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition come to mind. Nevertheless, the platform has also become something of a dumping ground for old PC adventure games (of which there are many), and few of them stand the test of time. Dracula falls squarely into the latter camp.
This first part of three, which is actually the third game in the series (still with us?) has you take on the role of the Vatican’s devil’s advocate, Father Arno Moriani, as he investigates a string of grisly happenings that seem to imply the existence of a vampire. Unlike traditional point-and-click affairs, Vampire is more akin to Return to Mysterious Island or Myst III, in which you can rotate in a 360-degree view of your surroundings. Mind you, this is not true 3D, but rather like Google’s Street View. Find important objects on the screen, click to interact… you know the drill.
Do you like my gear belt buckle?
Given that you’re scouring the streets for vampires, your escapades occur in the dead of night, which makes this game harder to view if you are a daywalker playing out in the sunlight. The visuals are crisp and clean, but generally uninteresting unless you’re a fan of 1920s Transylvania.
That being said, the game nails the creepy ambiance needed for a horror game. However, the voice acting and dialogue do not fare as well. Given the static nature of the visuals, these games depend on an intriguing story to keep the pace moving, and Dracula isn’t one that you can sink your teeth into. It lacks real scares or characters that you’ll sympathize with, and the religious overtones don’t do much to make it feel more believable.
Next week, on Intervention…
Navigating through the winding city streets should only take you a few hours, assuming you don’t get lost, which is not too bad for the $0.99 price. We’re still not sure why this wasn’t packaged as the full game from the onset. As soon as we were done, we’d pretty much lost all interest in the game, which did little to get us enthralled or make us hunger for the next chapter to drop.
Diehard adventure fans who must collect all the pieces of adventure gaming history might do well to add this to their collection, but for the more selective among us, you can certainly do better.