Thursday, 25 October 2018

Son Of Gruesome Games - Part 2 - Dracula!


For today's Gruesome Games post, I thought I'd take a look at a few more games featuring old fang-face himself, Dracula, as he seems to be in enough games to fill a decent sized crypt! 




Dracula (Intellivison) :


Hmm, I think this is the first Intellivision game I've covered on the blog! It's not the first I've played, as I have the Intellivison Lives! compilation for PS2....This game from 1983 however, isn't on that compilation, which is a shame, as it has very quickly become my favourite game on the system, and should be included in such collections to show what it can do!





As Dracula, you wake up from your crypt in a modern (well, 1980s,) town feeling a bit peckish, and decide to wander the streets looking for a snack. Being late at night, there are a few people wandering around, but most are locked up safely in their houses, and so Drac has to knock on their doors to wake them up and scare them out into the street so he can nibble their necks!

A certain number of people have to bitten before Dracula can return to his crypt, and with dawn fast approaching, he'll need to be quick! But the people don't make it easy, running around all over the screen as you chomps your fangs trying to get at them.




Obviously, having a vampire running around town soon alerts the attention of the local police force, and so you have to avoid these coppers as they fling stakes at you, which freeze you when they make contact, making it trickier to reach your goal before dawn. You do have the ability to turn some of your victims into zombies, who will slow attack the police to help you out, but these are controlled by a second player, so I wasn't able to use them to much effect when I was playing.

Once you've drained the target amount of townsfolk of blood, you can race back to your crypt, but this is made slightly more difficult by a white wolf who seems intent on catching you! Luckily, by turning into a bat you can move much quicker and try to escape...but being a bat attracts hungry vultures, and if they catch you, they try to drag you off screen, and that'll end the game!




It's all the little touches in this game that make it stand out from a lot of the other Intellivision games I've played. The night-to-day sky turning slowly orange to let you know time's running out, the eyes peering out of the windows to let you know what houses have residents hiding in that you can scare out, the thunder being a second after the lightning, the animation of Dracula waking up in his coffin...it's just been put together really well, and is definitely worth sinking your teeth into for a go or two this Halloween!


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(Fair Use)




Dracula Unleashed (PC) :


Another game from when the future looked set to be Full Motion Video next, and this 1993 game from Viacom actually uses it to really good effect, or at least it seems to from what I've played so far, having only started playing a few days ago!





Taking place 10 years after the events of Bram Stoker's novel, the game has you play the part of Alexander Morris, brother to Quincy, who (spoilers!) died at the hands of the evil Count! Moving to London after receiving an odd letter from a Romanian priest telling him he should investigate his brother's death, Alexander meets and falls in love with a young girl, Annisette, and also becomes a member of the Hades club, of which his brother was a member. A series of grisly murders start occurring, and soon Alexander learns of his brother's role in helping to defeat Dracula, the fiend who might be responsible for these new killings...


You'll spend a huge amount of time watching the cutscenes in this game, so a word of warning....you can cut through the cheese with a knife! The acting is pretty terrible, but nowhere near as terrible as some of the accents attempted by the actors...especially the cab drivers! It is so terrible it's amazing though, so it's not too much of a problem, and the atmosphere created by the scenes and the music gives it a nice cult-B-movie feel!


When you're not enjoying the terrible acting, you'll be looking at exteriors of buildings, or looking through your notes. Clicking the cab at the edge of each screen lets you select an address to move to, which will trigger another cut-scene. During these scenes you might receive or discover items, and to trigger events and move the story along, you'll need to be holding these items when you enter an area, or you won't get the correct response from whoever you're visiting.

You select the items via an icon-driven system, that also allows you to check your journal, save the game, change options and get advice on how to play from Van Helsing, which is handy if, like me, you're missing the instruction manual.




Playing without a guide can be tricky, as its sometimes not very apparent where you need to be going next, and not having the correct item in your hands at a specific time can get you really stuck. But again, the atmosphere makes playing this worthwhile! The old newspaper reports are especially accurately portrayed (something I can say with some confidence given my latest blog writings!) and really add to the feel of being in Old London town! 




I'm not too far into the game, so have yet to see anything too scary, although there's enough in here to warrant a Certificate15 age rating from the BBFC, apparently! It certainly seems to be one of the better FMV games I've played, and you feel a lot more like you're actually playing the game than in something like, say, Night Trap! Talking of which, this game is also available on Sega CD, so if you can find it for that I imagine it'll be just as good, only with slightly worse video! And its also available on interactive DVD too, so all you need is a DVD player! But it's definitely one you should hunt down, if only to experience a pretty good attempt at a Dracula sequel!



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Dracula - Crazy Vampire (Gameboy Colour) :


Now here's an odd thing....an officially licensed Universal Studios game based on Dracula, but made all kid friendly for young kiddie types to play on their Gameboy Colors! And it looks pretty good! Unfortunately, there are a few issues that frustrated me enough to stop playing after a few attempts.......





You start the game as Dracula once more, having no idea where to go or what to do, but eventually stumble across a witch, who tells you that some chap called the Grand Inquisitor has arrived at the castle, and seems to be set to put an end to your fang-filled-fun! She then sends you off to find some ingredients for a potion that will help you....






However, with absolutely no in-game map and a level layout that makes everything look the same, you'll find yourself wandering around, covering the same ground, looking for these ingredients but having no idea what they actually are!

Firing bats at human enemies will allow you to suck their blood and recover some health, but the amount of dogs on the first level that attack you and don't allow health recovery will soon have you ending up as an ex-vampire. It's a shame, as the graphics, music and everything are all pretty good, but the lack of any clue as to where to go or what to do means you'll more than likely give up after a few tries....oh well, at least the game over screen looks nice!

If anybody has any ideas as to how to progress in this game and thinks I'm completely wrong about it, let me know in the comments, and I'll give it another shot, but for now, I'd say if you haven't played it, you're not missing much!




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There's a few more Dracula games I've got in my 'to-play' list, so we'll take a look at those later! Come back to the blog later today for another comic post though, as I'm planning on doing one of those too.. and you should know by now to click the badge below to find more crazy-crypt-keepers taking part in the Countdown! 






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