Point-and-click adventures, some folks hate ‘em, some folks love ‘em, and other folks, like myself, don’t really have an overwhelming opinion about them. However, nearly all of the point-and-click adventures that I’ve enjoyed in the past are horror-based games...So, when I sat down and played Dracula: The Resurrection, I was hoping for the best. What I got wasn’t a complete disappointment, but it wasn’t something that I can honestly say that I enjoyed playing through.
The game’s story starts off decent enough with Jonathan Harker, the game’s hero, along with a few buddies, ambushing a group of Dracula’s minions transporting the Count (who is in a giant crate for some reason) somewhere. One of Harker’s friends, Quincey Morris, stabs Dracula through the crate and into his heart, but suffers a fatal blow afterward. While Dracula is distracted, Harker slits Dracula’s throat and as the king of all vampires struggles with this injury, the sun rises and he disappears. Sounds pretty awesome so far, eh? Well, that’s all the awesome you get...Well, unless you’re a pervert, due to the vampire ladies at the end with see-through tops...Which I’m positive is the only reason for the game’s ‘M’ rating, by the way. Anyway, from that point, you find out that Harker’s wife Minna was bitten by Dracula and that eventhough he believes that he killed the Count, he has an odd feeling that he may return to attempt to take her once again....Then we skip ahead seven years later, Minna has been summoned by Dracula, Jonathan follows her, and then we’re in the game, taking control of Mr. Harker.
The big problem with the story, like I briefly mentioned above, is that while the opening sequence looks like it may be setting the pace for an awesome story...The story just isn’t all that great. In fact, it’s very anti-climactic and when you reach the end, you’re hoping for at least some sort of confrontation between Harker and Dracula....But, you never get one. In fact, the ending is VERY lame. It’s very obvious that this game was created with a sequel in mind and the whole ending feels more like a trailer for the next game in the series rather than a congratulatory piece of entertainment for you to enjoy.
Puzzles are a big piece of most point-and-click adventure games, so to be considered a great game in this genre, you’ll need to have some interesting puzzles to solve. In Dracula: The Resurrection, there are a few clever puzzles that I enjoyed solving...However, other ones are just very poorly done...And others still are just plain obvious and boring. One I’ll use as an example as both enjoyable to solve, but also very poorly done, is the zodiac puzzle that you’ll solve in Dracula’s bedroom. It was kind of fun solving it...However, when I had to push the correct zodiac signs, that’s when the enjoyment came to an abrupt halt. The little pictures of the zodiac signs were so difficult to distinguish what was what, that while I had solved the puzzle in my mind already, I had to spend another five to ten minutes experimenting and trying to figure out what picture represented the ‘Leo’ zodiac sign, amongst the other two needed to finish the puzzle, ‘cause nothing looked like it resembled a lion. With how impressive the graphics are in this game, it’s hard for me to accept such poor drawings for these signs in the game. Also annoying, in regards to the puzzles, are the key items that you’ll need...Because they’re often just laying around somewhere. If you don’t fully explore an area, you may miss a key item that you need to advance on in the game...And there are so many shadows in the game, that even if you do fully explore an area, you still may miss an item...Like the slingshot, which blends into the ground a little too much to be seen unless you’re lucky enough to have rolled the cursor over it to see the icon change. Many of the puzzles also don’t make sense..why would I think to look at the chest I was just looking at after I grabbed a ball from a pedestal? Well, because by grabbing the ball, I unlocked the chest....Wait, what?
Another big problem in the game is the exploration itself. While the point-and-click method usually works well, there were several times in the game that it seemed like I had reached a dead-end because I couldn’t get the ‘move’ icon to appear on-screen...But if I moved the cursor slightly up or down, I’d get it. And a lot of these areas that trigger a different icon are WAY too small, while others seem to be way too big. Some consistency in the game with this would have been nice...That way I wouldn’t have been stuck in an area on multiple occasions when all I needed to do in order to advance on was to find that fraction-of-an-inch-sized trigger area that allowed me to either pick up an important item or head in the direction that I needed to go.
Now, while I’ve pretty much blasted the game, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any good here....Unfortunately, most of it is cosmetic. Graphically, the game is amazing for a Playstation One game. Granted, there isn’t much movement due to it being a point-and-click adventure, aside from cutscenes...But, in Dracula: The Resurrection, there is a nifty ability to look all around you, as the game warps the picture depending on the direction you choose to look, kind of making the illusion of the flat, 2D background being a sphere of sorts, surrounding every inch of your character. This is much nicer than the static, singular screens that I’m used to in these types of games. The animations of the characters, however are often very awkward-looking. The audio is somewhat nice, though. The ambient noises are pretty well done and do a decent job of setting the mood in each area...However, the voice-overs are often comically bad....But I suppose the poor voice-acting goes with the poor animations hand-in-hand.
In the end, Dracula: The Resurrection may entertain some folks, but it is definitely not going to satisfy the majority of people who play it. The game does have some redeeming aspects and it’s vaguely fun to play...But there are just too many flaws for me to recommend it to anyone. While it will take you roughly two hours max to beat the game when you know exactly what you’re doing, most folks will take considerably longer on their first playthrough due to the need to explore every area to find essential items...But many folks won’t have the patience to find this out. If you love point-and-click adventure games, then Dracula: The Resurrection is worth a glance...However, everyone else should probably stay away from this game. It had promise, but it ultimately fails to be a good experience...In fact, at times it feels like the game is sucking the life out of you. Hey, I guess the game succeeded in simulating a vampire experience afterall.