The creators behind Dracula Resurrection, France Telecom and DreamCatcher Interactive, have crafted a really beautiful point and click game. Following in the same footsteps as Myst III or Zork Nemesis, Dracula Resurrection casts you against the capped nosferatu in a typical puzzle-centric clickfest. You have a free-floating camera that you can use to look around the beautifully creepy environments, walk around, collect items, solve generic mechanical puzzles and progress the story as presented by lovely pre-rendered cutscenes.
You take the role of Jonathan Harker. The opening video shows him attempting to once and for all disembowel his old nemesis Dracula. The old bloodsucker escapes, but not before we see signs that he has cast some sort of dramatic spell over Harker’s fiancÃ©e, Mina. Seven years later after a time of wedded bliss, Jonathan discovers a letter from his wife indicating that she was compelled to return to Transylvania, and it’s Harker’s job to rescue her. We see a cutscene of him traveling from England to Transylvania on a map that tells us the journey is set during 1909, but with post-1918 borders.
The story in Dracula Resurrection is completely linear, dragging you straight by the nose without nuance. You cannot re-visit any major area once you have left it, which is only occasionally justified by a perfectly natural avalanche, cave-in, short-circuited magic portal, or the like. “But what about that other corridor I didn’t explore?” Never mind, if you got to where you are now you didn’t need it. This is useful, actually, for newer players, as it tends to funnel you directly toward the ultimate solution at all times.
The puzzles are simple, and veterans will be able to finish the game in about eight to ten hours, whereas newbies might take up to several days of playing. The conundrums are mostly uninspired, however, and often consist of putting the same serpent key in yet another contraption to open the next area. Your cursor turns into a hand over things you can pick up and into a gears icon over things you can “use.” There are relatively few interactive items, so if something highlights, you can be sure it is Important. If you’re holding the inventory item that will work with the gear-spot, a green circle will appear around it.
Dracula Resurrection’s biggest draw is the art. Though very static, the levels do look wonderfully detailed, with creepy moonlight reflecting on the snow-covered villages and forests you must explore. The characters you meet all look hideous, but in a good way (kind of like “The Dark Eye” looked hideously appealing). Tiny webs of delicate wrinkles embroider the corners of elderly eyes, and faces exude broad and colorful palettes of emotion. Cut scenes are mostly exciting and you will not want to click through them (unless you’re climbing that staircase for the 55th time and have seen just about enough of the climbing animation).
The music and sound effects blend beautifully with the visuals, and at night with the lights off, you’re in for a real treat for the senses. Voice acting and dialogue are a weak link; performances are uneven (not unusual in translated works), and since the storyline is so thin, there is little inspiring about the conversations. But with the thin story and basic gameplay, Dracula Resurrection will ultimately disappoint most avid adventure players, offering entertainment only to those who are newcomers to this genre. Everyone will appreciate the game’s beauty, of course, but it can’t save a flawed product.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win98