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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Dreamcatcher

 

Developer

Frogware

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

May 28, 2008

 

 

- Conventional point-and-click adventure that's easy to get into

- Beginners are led along with an "auto hotspot" feature

- Treats the source material with some respect

 

 

- Story doesn't seem to have any suspense built into it

 

 

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Dracula: Origin

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

dracula origin          dracula origin

 

It's heartening to know that a few companies out there still carry the torch of "pure" adventure games - a genre, in its "point and click" form, which has fallen on hard times in North America .  Developer Frogware, responsible for Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, which mixed literary figures from HP Lovecraft and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, turns its experience to another literary source: Dracula.

 

Though some of the game has a direct correlation to what can be found in the Bram Stoker's Dracula, much of Dracula: Origin is the developer's own take on the story.  Placing Van Helsing in the starring role was a good idea.  Though he's

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a background player in the novel, he's much more marketable than the book's protagonist, Jonathan Harker.  (A solicitor versus a vampire hunter? That's no brainer.)  Like the book, the ultimate goal is to kill Dracula, but as the title of the game indicates, there's quite a bit of information to be uncovered about Count Dracula's origins prior to that anti-climatic event.

 

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Calling the ending moments of Dracula: Origin anticlimactic is a little misleading since the story itself would have to build to a climax in the first place.  There are no twist and turns or surprising moments or much of an undercurrent of dread, which should probably be expected in a game featuring 1) a vampire and 2) a vampire hunter.

 

dracula origin          dracula origin

 

In tried and true point-and-click adventure game format, Dracula: Origin features plenty of exploration and puzzle solving, some of which can be very obtuse (even if those same puzzles are original).  So obtuse in fact that Frogware included a hint system that is one stop short of an autopilot (at least for the experienced adventure gamers among us).  Pressing the space bar highlights all the hot spots that can be interacted with.  This takes some of the mystery out the game, but it also virtually eliminates frustration of finding the invisible pixel that will progress the game.  And it's completely optional, like BioShock's flashing arrows.  That said, there are still some moments spent wondering just what you're supposed to do next or why you're suddenly doing a puzzle.  There could definitely been a little more direction from area to area and the weak story elements don't help.

 

As a light adventure outing, I can recommend Dracula: Origin if only for the puzzle elements because even though the source material is treated with a great of respect and care there's not a lot present to keep the tension up to find out what happens next.

 

- D.D. Nunavut

(July 6, 2008)

 

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