Dracula - The Last Sanctuary
|a game by||DreamCatcher Interactive|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Rising once again from slumber, Dracula - The Last Sanctuary brings to a conclusion the tale inspired by horror master Bram Stoker. With a creative storyline and immersive graphics, Dracula - The Last Sanctuary is the second installment of a series that places you in the streets of London and tunnels of Transylvania, hunting for the Prince of Darkness.
As the London fog settles, the story takes shape. Following the events from Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, Jonathan Harker has destroyed Dracula and returns to London with Mina--or so he believes. Fast-forward seven years and Mina, now Jonathan’s wife, has been overcome by an insatiable bloodlust. To satiate her desire, she has been called back to Transylvania with Jonathan in pursuit. While rescuing Mina, Jonathan realizes Dracula has escaped to London; he too must follow the dark lord and end this terror once and for all. To save his wife from Dracula’s grasp, Jonathan travels back to the alleys of London and finally to Dracula’s last sanctuary, the castle of the vampire himself.
So begins Dracula - The Last Sanctuary. As Jonathan Harker, you explore the streets and homes of London, travel through the horror of an insane asylum, enter the slime and filth of London’s underground, return to Dracula’s castle in Transylvania through an underground prison, and finally enter Dracula’s remaining stronghold. All along the way, puzzles will perplex you and predators will hinder your progress. This vampiric possession must and will end at Dracula’s Last Sanctuary.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
In the grand tradition of Myst, this first-person adventure game provides an interesting and imaginative journey through the world of Bram Stoker. Through the eyes of Jonathan Harker, you walk through this dark world searching for puzzle pieces, objects to manipulate and rooms to explore. Finding clues requires moving the cursor over the entire screen until the object is highlighted. The gameplay is smooth as you move from one area to another. Along the way puzzles will slow your progress, from the simple "light-the-candle" to the extremely complex "put-the-key-together-to-turn-the-knob-to-activate-the-panel-to- give-you-the-buttons-to-push-in- the-right-sequence-to-open-the-door." If you enjoy these brain teasers, this game is your cup of tea.
Keep in mind that this is not your typical role-playing game like Asheron’s Call or Daggerfall; this is an interactive adventure game. With a linear storyline you page through the game, moving from one event to the next. What is interactive is already predetermined. Don’t expect to be able to break a window, move a bush or wander onto a side street. This is the literal meaning of a "storyline," in that there is a set path you will follow. With that said, DreamCatcher Interactive has created a well-written game.
The controls are minimal, following in the vein of the storyline. You are allowed movements in certain directions and when you find an object, the cursor lets you know. Clicking on the object places it in your inventory. The one drawback is accessing the inventory, which entails using the right mouse button. This became a problem when I tried to use a pistol and bullets in my inventory. Every re-load of the pistol meant right-clicking the mouse, viewing the inventory, re-selecting the pistol and then going back to the action. This brings up the next problem--action, or more specifically the lack thereof.
Your antagonists are static creatures. They have very little movement and are often difficult even to see on the screen unless you happen to move the cursor over them. It’s very dark in many areas and the monsters blend too well with the environment. Once again, this is an interactive adventure--the creatures don’t necessary have to interact with you or help you find them.
As I’ve stated, the interface is less than exceptional. Some graphic elements, such as the cardboard-cutout "baddies," leave much to be desired. Additionally, the storyline-based game does not allow for random adventure--you can only go where the game allows you to go. Although these are drawbacks to the game, they aren’t "show-stoppers."
This is where the game shines. DreamCatcher Interactive pulls out all the stops for weaving a dark and surreal story. From the in-game cinematography/movies to the rich and vibrant surroundings of London and Transylvania, you are immersed in the oozing, dripping atmosphere of Bram Stoker’s gothic world of vampires.
If you are expecting graphics quality on the level of the new Final Fantasy movie or even the product of a major motion picture company, you are expecting a DVD, not an interactive adventure game. Let’s be honest: the three things going for this game are storyline, graphics and price. I have seen this game in various software and computer stores selling from ten to twenty dollars--not a bad price when compared to forty dollars and up for other games.
In many ways you are immersed in a graphic novel. The cut-scenes strengthen and further the storyline when a portion of the game has been completed. The color and texture of the surroundings evoke a gothic horror scene as completely as any Vincent Price or Bela Lugosi film. You traverse London, Transylvania or the catacombs, albeit one big step at a time. But treat this game as an interactive adventure in a graphic novel and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
Don’t expect the audio to jump out at you--it’s just filler, nothing more. During the cinematography/movie sequences between episodes, voices and soundtrack are palatable, but do not jump out at you or rattle the heart the way flight simulation games do. Will your 5.1 Surround Sound speakers with independent sound card be tested to the limit? Hardly, unless you crank up the audio to shake the rafters and wake the dead. For this game, normal desktop speakers will provide the same return on audio satisfaction as the million-dollar speakers.
Windows 95/98/ME, Pentium 166 MHz, 32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended), 8X CD-ROM drive, 16 bit video card, and 16 bit sound card.
What makes this game original is the storyline. This is not a James Michener, Tom Clancy or Stephen King paperweight--this is a continuation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, where much of the original novel played upon the thoughts and feelings of the various characters. DreamCatcher Interactive took that storyline one step further with the release of Dracula - The Resurrection. The second installment answers the question, "What if Dracula had not been destroyed?" DreamCatcher Interactive provides this storyline with Dracula - The Last Sanctuary.
This game screams to the Dracula-thirsty, gothic horror, budget-oriented _Myst gamers. It will appeal to the puzzle-solving, storyline-based gamers who are interested in a series loosely based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Taking roughly 20-30 hours to complete, it will satiate the weekend gamer, but nothing more. For the price, it is a worthwhile purchase.