First posted on 28 August 2000. Last updated on 19 December 2013.
This game is part of the Dracula Trilogy in the Adventure Classics series released in 2009 by Iceberg Interactive.
The compilation includes 3 games previously released by Microïds separately in 2000-2008:
- Dracula Resurrection
- Dracula 2 The Last Sanctuary
- Dracula 3 Path of the Dragon
Dracula is undoubtedly among the most famous villains in horror fiction. The character has been featured in numerous films and brought to life by Bela Lugosi in the 1931 horror film "Dracula". Dracula is a vampire, and vampires are undead creatures that feed on the blood of humans and animals. The only way these evils can perish is by either a stake in the heart or the rays of the sun. Despite their omnipresence in the movies, vampires have not been the subject of interest in many adventure games. The most notable exception is Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Dammed. So it is only fitting that I am intrigued by the latest offering from DreamCatcher Interactive. Unfortunately, Dracula shows up for what mounts to only a few glorified cameos in the entire game. Coupled with numerous gameplay quarrels, the end result of Dracula Resurrection (also known as Dracula: The Resurrection) is an entertaining but somewhat disappointing adventure.
Dracula Resurrection is inspired by the original novel Bram Stoker's Dracula. At the novel's climatic end, Jonathan Harker and his friend Quincy attack the 3 henchmen hauling a carriage with Dracula inside it. With the henchmen scared away, Quincy runs to the carriage and plunges a sword into Dracula's chest. In a surprise, Dracula bursts out of the carriage and kills Quincy. Jonathan then sneaks behind Dracula and cuts his throat with a knife. Dracula falls to the ground and finally bursts into ashes under the first rays of the sun. When Jonathan sees the vampire bite marks on his wife Mina's neck disappear, he wonders if he has finally defeated Dracula.
A long 7 years have passed by since the nightmares of 1897. Jonathan and Mina are living happily in London, that is, until the day when Jonathan comes home from work only to find that Mina has left him a note and disappeared. From the note, Jonathan learns that Mina has gone back to Transylvania because she can no longer resist the irresistible urge from Dracula's calling of her to go to him. Jonathan then realizes that his fear of Dracula coming back has come true. He must now go on a quest to rescue Mina from the Count in his Transylvania castle.
It should be immediately obvious to any player that the highlight of this game is its production and the most recognizable draw is its sublime graphics. The graphics are simply state-of-the-art. A lot of attention has been given to render the incredibly realistic looking environments. An example is the setting outside of the Inn. Everything looks like it should, such as a dark, cold, and crystal clear night with a full moon up in the sky. The atmosphere is very eerie and suits the tone of the game perfectly. You can even hear the sounds of critters and owls.
In order to be fully immersed into these environments, there needs to be a user-friendly interface. Indeed, the interface in this game is very easy to master. You use the mouse to swivel around the screen. You can also look up and down. The game uses the proprietary Phoenix VR technology to deliver the 360° panorama. The biggest annoyance is that navigation between locations must proceed in discrete steps rather than continuous movement. This should remind many fans of the navigation used in Myst and may no doubt aggravate those players who find the latter equally cumbersome.
Yet, as soon as you pass by this annoyance, nothing prepares you for the surprise when you walk into the Inn. This is because once inside the Inn, your eyes shall feast on the most amazing 3D character modeling you shall ever see. The developer has advertised that the game has unprecedented 3D characters, and that is no lie! Even though the faces of some characters are deliberately drawn to look unattractive, you are going to be amazed how lifelike they look. The only problem about the animation is that the lip-synching is sub par. It is not bad, but it can be a lot better. The voice acting, on the other hand, is generally excellent, all of which give a lot of life to the animated characters. Some gamers have criticized that the hero's voice is awful, but I do not think so. The voice definitely suits the character, and it is a heroic one in my opinion.
In Dracula Resurrection, you play as Jonathan. In contrast to the production, the gameplay is a mixed blessing. The puzzles are of the typical varieties. Most are well integrated into the plot, and all make sense in the afterthought. On the upside, you get to gaze at the beautiful artworks and hear the captivating voices while playing this game. On the downside, you find yourself being forced to go on an extremely linear and somewhat short quest. That is right, the game is short! The game is spread over 4 sections—The Inn, The Caverns, The Rail System, and Dracula's Castle. A veteran player can easily finish the game in 15-20 hours. So, if you are looking for a long and epic quest, look elsewhere.
Equally, the ending of this game is both satisfying and a letdown. It is satisfying to rescue Mina out of the castle. It is a letdown because the ending, when it happens, happens quickly, after which it simply takes you back to the main screen without any epilogue or ending credits. Game designers should stop doing this, because it is really irritating to get to an ending that does not have running credits after it. The good news is that the ending suggests of a sequel, thus giving a chance for the designers to improve on these shortcomings. There are enough features to warrant this game a serious look by any gamer. The best feature is, of course, the graphics. You are definitely going to be amazed by how realistic the game looks and how it truly immerses you into the world of Transylvania. Equally, the voice acting serves the characters well. The interface is intuitive. You can easily navigate with 6 degrees of freedom. The story is strong and well written. It is clear that the designers have tried hard to make a good story, and they should be applauded for their effort. The atmosphere is spooky, creepy, and nerve-wracking—all the ingredients to make a good horror adventure. The puzzles are fun to solve and all are well integrated into the game.
Unfortunately, this game ranks far away from the best games in the adventure genre. Instead of an adventure, the game is played out feeling like a showcase only for the designers to show off the latest and state-of-the-art animation techniques. Character interactions are sparse, and when present, are very limited. Most areas of interest are self-contained, where all the items needed to solve the puzzles in a given area lie very close together. Perhaps this explains why the game is so short. Many gamers who play this game may feel cheated by how short the game is. Despite the decent voice acting, lip-synching is terrible. Equally disappointing is the music (or rather lack of). You only hear the music in the cinematic cut scenes but not while moving about in the game world. Lastly, you cannot restart the game from the second CD. The saved game must be reloaded each time with the first CD inserted and then swapped to the second.
Overall, Dracula Resurrection is a good adventure game, but I cannot help but think that this game can be much better. It feels like the game is trying to be another Myst clone. If you are someone who is interested in long gameplay, then you are well advised to better look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you are someone who loves to feast on state-of-the-art graphics, then by all means try this game! Let us hope the sequel is going to get better, if it ever gets to be made.