June 24, 2008
Dracula Origin reveals the origins of the Dracula curse. Once the ardent, though brutal, defender of Christendom, Dracula loses his faith in God when he is abandoned by his one true love. She has killed herself and has thus been condemned to eternal damnation. Dracula feels he was the cause of her death and is condemned to wander the world endlessly and without heir, forced to suffer alone in his pain.
Dracula then makes a pact with the Prince of Darkness, and becomes a vampire. He begins celebrating terrifying satanic masses involving terrible atrocities. He was still alive, still human, until the day he drank his rival's blood and then made the pact, sealed for all eternity, which made him the first vampire. He became the great monster of legend, bent solely on the destruction of humanity and with an unquenchable thirst for blood and warm, bloody flesh in his fangs…
As time goes by, Dracula discovers the existence of a manuscript that allegedly details a rite which brings damned souls back from the beyond. On the body of one of his last victims, Dracula finds the photograph of a pretty young woman, Mina, who looks so disconcertingly like his beloved one, he determines that her body would be the perfect host for the damned soul of the woman he worshipped.
For those who know me, you already know that I'm a big fan of vampire books, movies, series and games. Some of you might even say that my review was already written before I even started the game, but that is not the case; I wrote this with honesty. I'm not sure why people are so fascinated with vampires, monsters and other scary things. One thing is sure - Dracula Origin is a spooky game and will please all of you who love the horror genre. I believe that the first Dracula story and all of the derivative stories which were made using the original concept will always be around and still in vogue for decades to come.
In the opening scene, Van Helsing is standing alone at his home, thinking about the past when he soon learns after reading a letter from one of his students, Jonathan Harker, that Harker's beloved fiance, Mina, might be the target of Dracula since she looks so much like his long lost love...
Interesting facts about the game
- An unlimited number of save slots
- A help system that will give you a few clues about what to do next. Pressing the space bar will show you all the hot spots in the screen, although that option is not available when you are solving a puzzle. You are on your own there.
- The ability to go back and review all the dialogues by each character.
- Van Helsing's note book where you can find important information and/or clues you found during your gameplay.
The puzzles are mechanical, logical and inventory based and most of them are well integrated into the story. The assortment of puzzles is very diverse, and they are challenging enough to keep your mind sharp. I was a little puzzled when I had to use pretzels to help solve one puzzle. I wasn't aware pretzels were around during the nineteenth century! A couple of them could use a bit more explanation, and it may take a while for you to figure out how to solve them. You might even get frustrated and use a walkthrough, but overall the developer selected hard and easy puzzles so the game should please everyone.
Graphics and Gameplay
There are wonderful 2D backgrounds and astonishing use of colors, shadows and light that establish the spooky atmosphere in the first minutes of the game. The developer went to a lot of trouble to make the graphics and 3D characters as realistic as they can be. Each scene is a digital masterpiece. Some developers have a tendency to use the same inventory and/or menu system for all their games, and that is the case in Dracula Origin . These are very similar to those in the Sherlock Holmes games.
Dracula Origin is a third person point and click adventure game. You can access the main menu (save, load, setup, etc.) by pressing ESC. Clicking on the right mouse button will bring you to the inventory and Van Helsing's journal. You will also find papers and books found during the gameplay here. There is not too much reading during the game, but most of it is very important for the game development, so be sure to read everything. Don't hesitate to use all of the features here as it will help you find out what your next step should be. You may even get some clues from time to time.
In Dracula Origin the player takes the role of the famous Professor Van Helsing, an obscure and dark hero, who hears about Dracula's evil plans. Even if they use a somewhat older version of him in the game, he is still sharp and intelligent. Van Helsing will soon learn that he has many mysteries and enigmas to solve before achieving his task - to save the beautiful Mina. This new adventure game makes full use of the traditional anti-vampire weapons - crucifixes, stakes, garlic, etc. You will be immersed in a terrifying, Gothic, romantic and fantastic atmosphere that will keep you on the edge of your chair for most of the gameplay. In addition to the lovely Mina, you will meet more than 40 disturbing or angelic characters.
You will explore several interesting locations. The cemetery is among my favorites. Everything is perfect - light, shadow, old tombstones, mausoleums, old trees with branches that almost look like big arms with hands ready to grab you. Add flies and a creepy cemetery employee and you have a very scary and interesting place to visit. You will also travel to London, Transylvania via Vienna, and even have an interesting stop in Egypt. Here you will discover even more about this fantastic prince of darkness and his origins.
For those who struggle to solve mysteries, you will pleased with the exclusive Help System. This provides clues to help you if you get stuck. As an example, you will get a message telling you that you can't leave a place until you are done with whatever needs to be completed. Occasionally you will have messages telling you that something is missing before you can make an action.
This game could have been perfect if not for the pixel hunting and the same phrases repeated over and over by Van Helsing. Developers should listen when they hear gamers say this.
Dialogue and Sound
The music is appropriate for each of the scenes. Piano and violins are used often and Middle Eastern instruments are heard for the segment of the game in Egypt. Most of the music is classical, but it still is a big part of the scary factor present in many parts of the game.
The actor's voices fit each of the characters like a glove. As I mentioned before, some of Van Helsing's phrases are very repetitive, but most of the conversation is quite entertaining.
Sound effects are also well done. Many different sounds plus the excellent music are used to build the creepy atmosphere. The combination of these two elements makes the game even more exciting.
Bugs and/or patches
I didn't come across any bugs or glitches during the game.
My computer specifications
OS: Windows Vista SP1
RAM: 2 X 288Go
Processor: Intel (R) Core (TM) 2 Duo 3.00 Go
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT
Sound: Onboard Sound Controller
Disk space: 1st 247Go and 2nd 282 Go
The game was fun and very interesting. It's the kind of game that makes our beloved adventure game genre grow in popularity. It is a fight between good and evil, love and hate, and black and white; a fight which only one side can win. You will find that sometimes the line between good and evil can be very thin. You might even be persuaded that our favorite vampire might not be as bad as you think.
Since the main plot of his wonderful story was kept intact, Dracula Origin is a scary masterpiece that even Dracula's creator, Mr. Bram Stoker, might have enjoyed if he were still on this earth today. But his original story was embellished with a couple of new elements that make it even more interesting. I highly recommend Dracula Origin . Just take a little bite of it, and you will see. You won't want to stop until all the essence of the game has been drained out of it. Your thirst won't be quenched though, and you will be asking Frogwares for a second Dracula game. Listen, Frogwares, or we will be haunting your nights and dreams until you hear us.
Blood, frightening places with beautiful graphics, the Prince of Darkness, a beautiful woman, a very good story, and some challenging puzzles all add up to Dracula Origin , one of the most acclaimed adventure games of 2008.
The Adventure Company