Monday, March 16, 2009

Honourable Mentions: Dracula: Origin

Back into the world of games and this time a lovely looking point and click adventure concerning Dracula. Unlike A Vampyre’s Story, the creators of Dracula: Origin have eschewed comedy for a serious story set around the Dracula novel… ish…

The cover says inspired by and, whilst the hero of the tale is Van Helsing (Kevin Delaney), the villain is Dracula (also Kevin Delaney), Seward has a brief cameo and the person in peril is Mina, this has little to do with the actual original story. It seems to flirt around some Lovecraftian elements and draws a little from various filmic versions of the story – though only a little.

The film begins with Van Helsing receiving word that Jonathon Harker has faced his doom at Dracula’s hands, whilst the young man was posing as a librarian. That sounds awfully like the start of Hammer’s first Dracula feature Horror of Dracula. Dracula attends Mina, trying to work out how he will tell her that her love is dead (or worse) when he realises that perhaps the fiend is in London.

Your investigations will lead you to the old Godalming house, where Dracula is in residence complete with bug eating caretaker. However, whilst you are gaining entrance to the beast’s lair the sun has set (for sunlight is an issue in this version of the tale) and Dracula has headed off to have his toothsome way with Mina. There follows a chase around the globe (or Cairo, Vienna and Transylvania, at least) in order to save Mina.

It seems that Dracula is going to use Mina in a ritual to resurrect his first love – a similar concept to that used in Batman Vs Dracula - though I suspect the similarity is coincidental. Of course you also have to deal with vampire brides (or in this case bride). The bride, Jada, did seem modelled on Monica Bellucci’s bride in Dracula (1992).

Gameplay is fairly languid, Van Helsing rushes nowhere and you are never in peril as the game will not let you do anything that might kill the character. Puzzle solving is the order of the day. The puzzles aren’t too adventure game logic and often the game eschews that for some self contained logic puzzles that work quite well. However it can be frustrating as the game will not let you progress if it doesn’t know you know. So you see a number on screen and try to use it but you can’t access the puzzle because you haven’t clicked the number for Van Helsing to state he’s read it.

The biggest issue with this is the shortness of game. It was a lazy Sunday’s length of play – finished in time for our evening meal. Perhaps it was no shorter than a Vampyre’s Story but it didn’t have the humour to make up for it. However there is a modicum of humour in this – though how intentional is questionable – it is the only game I can think of where you find (for puzzle use) “a dried up, empty, beaver’s cadaver.” Still, a Dracula related point and click if you like that sort of game.


The Dirge Of Gabriel said...

I was not entirely impressed with this game also.

I was expecting some kind of hack and slash/spellcasting foray not a boring point and click game.

I know Dracula rarely appears in the original novel but I was hoping for more 'screen' time with this one, and I think he appears twice? The Bride of Dracula was pretty neat but she also was killed to easily and the game was too short.

Why in the world did Helsing have to go to Cairo etc?

I found that really weird and was not impressed with the lack of scenery as each city only had about 2-3 settings.

All in all it has some "oh" and "ah" moments that came from settings such as Dracula's room, but other then that I found it disappointing and rather short.

When I think of good Dracula game I think of Castlevania and also similarly the Legacy of Kain games, were there is actually adventure and a level of threat.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Gabriel, I guess that - if you like point and click - this is fine. I too prefer the more visceral game but, for me, the pinnacle of vampire gaming was in the VtM PC games

The Dirge Of Gabriel said...

Oh yes - I loved those as well, Redemption and Bloodlines - I played a Tremere in Bloodlines, my favourite clan. I used to play the paper and dice game in my youth. Only played Masquerade, not Requiem where they re-invented the clans etc...I also enjoyed the Kindred: The Embraced series, pity it didn't continue due to Mark Frankel's (Julian Luna) death...

Did you play the Sherlock Holmes game made by the Dracula Origin people, I think it was a Lovecraftian one?

There hasn't really been a good vampire game for a while - the latest Castlevania games haven't really impressed me, the ones of DS aren't that good, they haven't made anymore Kain games and I played the vampire quest in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion but did the vampire cure quest because it was too annoying and time wasting as a vampire in that game - I am playing a mage and doing all the arcane quests...just came out of the big gate and about fight the final fight...

Do you know of any other vampire games I might like?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Gabriel, PC wise vamp games are few and far between - and I only play that format really, my son has vampire rain on x360 but it seems a bitrubbishy.

I avoided being a vampire in Oblivion.

Of the games not mentioned. Nosferatu was clever (2 hour gameplay as it was against the clock and the layout changed each play) but rubbishy. From Dusk til Dawn was repetative.There are the bloodrayne games - and I actually really quite enjoyed the second one especially.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Oh, I should say - in answer to your question - no I haven't played the Holmes game. I ahould also add that, in both the VtM games, I played a torredor

The Dirge Of Gabriel said...

Toreador? You poseur lol

Yes I have played the Bloodrayne games as well and I agree the 2nd one was much better then the 1st, the nazi stuff just doesn't do anything for me, pity the Bloodrayne movies were such shite but that's Uwe Boll for you!

Haven't heard of Nosferatu or Dusk till dawn, Vampire Rain looked like a stealthy Splinter Cell kinda game - I don't like them nor do I like shooters like Call or Duty or Halo etc.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

both nosferatu and from dusk till dawn were fps games. FStD was based on the films (you played Seth Gecko) neither worked that well though.

The Dirge Of Gabriel said...

Ok I assumed FDtD was possibly based on the film, I don't think it came out here though as I'd never heard of it as a game.

Its funny with the popularity of vampires in the film and literary genres you think they'd pump them out into game format? but for some reason Dark Fantasy reigns in the PC world...

I'm eyeing off Resident Evil 5 - Number 4 was great. On the PC though the next game I might play is Dragon Age: Origins - it looks neat, and what I've seen so far of Diablo 3 just looks like pure magic...

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I'm currently revisiting Oblivion and have a real hankering for GTA 4

The Dirge Of Gabriel said...

GTA 4 hey.

I haven't played any of the GTA games but seen them played, though I tried playing Saints Row 2, which is similar - not really my thing.

In Oblivion I started off making a custom character called the Dark Ones, a mix of stealth, magic and fighting, as a female elf.

Started the assassin quest/guild first to do the vampire quest, and then joined the thieves and mages guilds, did all the mages quests to get into Arcane University, perhaps did one or two quests for the Dark Brotherhood after I became a vamp. Never finished the thieves guild quests.

Haven't joined the fighters guild yet though I think I'm near the end of the game since I have all the things we need to enter the dimension to get that amulet back.

Perhaps if I play it again I'll join the fighters guild and do the arena stuff - I'm also a member of the vampire hunters guild (yawn).

What are you doing/playing in Oblivion? I've made my mage very necromantic - mostly death spells and staves that suck health etc (stave of sickness etc), and I have raise/summon skeleton and resurrect etc, pity you can't actually JOIN the necromancers in that game. I love Necromancy as much as I love Vampirism.

The most thing that upset me about Oblivion is that you can't fly. FLYING is my favourite power of all time, which is why I guess I like Forever Knight and Superman etc, and Nathan Petrelli from Heroes...they all can fly.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

When it comes to oblivion I tend to do all. So on the replay - as a dark elf - I started off doing thieves guild and dark brotherhood quests (now head of both), then did mage and fighters guild (now head of both).

During all that I became a knight of the white stallion and a vampire hunter.

Then I repented all my sins and became a knight of the nine (expansion pack - I need to get hold of shivering isle).

Finally I became arena grand champion.

Now, with all that completed, I have started the actual main quest!!!

I believe Saints Row is a poor imitation of the GTA games.