the writings of a mind

Title: Dracula 2 (The Last Sanctuary)
Genre: Adventure
Strap: Vampire puns are draining and long in the tooth. You won’t find any here.

Dracula is a funny old guy. He’s the ultimate baddie – murders people, captures pretty girls, creeps around in the dead of night scaring the bits out of people – and yet has anyone ever been anything other than on his side? Whether the part is being played by Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman, you don’t want to see him meeting the wrong end of a steak – you want to see him plunging his sharp-n-pointies into the plump necks of every passing soul. Why? Because no matter who you put up against him, he’s always going to be more cool.

But today he is pushing his luck. Last year’s Dracula was lucky enough to be reviewed by your current word-gusher, and managed to score a mighty 22%. It was a ghastly mess, throughout which you never actually got to meet Dracula himself. The sequel gets that little bit stranger.

Most of that which was wrong with the original is encored enthusiastically. The cursor is still fixed to the middle of the screen, meaning you have to move the environment around to meet it, rather than the slightly more logical alternative. It is still fixed-point pre-rendered 640x480 horribleness, your feet firmly glued to the enforced positions. And the puzzles still make as much sense as… well, as this:

To get the man in the cell to talk to you, you must put a sugar cube in a matchbox, and put it on a table. Then a fly will fly into the box, which you pick up, and feed the fly to the man. Then, after coating your gun in a liquid made by mixing garlic extract with vampire blood (and heating at 35 C), and found Meena’s ring, he will give you the ‘vampire vision spectacles’ you need. But of course.

This same non-logic applies throughout, hindered further by the enormously clunky inventory system not having a feature to label the objects it contains. Even after successfully randomly using some of the objects I found, I’m still not sure what they were.

But most bizarre of all, Dracula has opened his own theatre in London, defended by robot versions of himself. Yes, really. The cut-scenes (which make up a sizable portion of the game) are well animated, but the acting wouldn’t be out of place at a school nativity. You expect at any moment one of the characters to pause, grimace, and then wet themselves next to the donkey.

With so much wrong with the game, it becomes hard to level the criticism of its brevity against it, but with a walkthrough by your side to get past the nonsensical puzzles (of course I should have tied the rope to the valve and thrown it at the ladder), it won’t take more than a focussed afternoon. Crappy.

Margin note:


It is time to bring an end to pre-rendered computer games. They have spoilt the world for too many years, and are still not going away. Pull together people – as one mighty force we can defeat them. Write to your local MP, protest your local store. Just do something – anything.

 Ever-so slightly better than the original, but still almost unplayable. The Count would not be proud.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: wanadoo
Developer: Canal+ Multimedia
Price: £30
Minimum System: P166, 32Mb RAM
Recommended: P200
Multi-player: No
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