Anuman Interactive

Released: March 8, 2012
Reviewed: March 16, 2012
Reviewed by: Mark Smith

Genre: Adventure
Players: 1
Also on: + Universal app

Supported Features:

  • 671 MB Download Size

  • Review Scores: (?)
    4 - Gameplay
    5 - Graphics
    6 - Sound
    4 - Value

    4.7/10 (Budget)

    Dracula The Last Sanctuary HD

    Dracula: The Last Sanctuary HD is the latest adventure game to sink its fangs into the iPad, and while I was pleased to find this wasn’t another hidden object game, I was far from impressed with the vampire-hunting adventure I was about to embark upon. Dracula is a 360-degree visual experience, not unlike the early days where adventure games used QuickTime to let you travel from node to node then spin the camera around looking for interactive hotspots. Ironically, the app store clearly states, and I quote, “The game is not a copycat portage of the PC version but an adaptation for touch screens and mobile platforms”, which I would be more inclined to believe if the very first tutorial screen didn’t reference using a mouse. Is there an iPad mouse I don’t know about?

    But even if you overlook the feeble attempt to slip a PC game onto the iPad and spin it as something original, Dracula just plain sucks (pun not intended but I’ll take it) as a game. This is a complete reversion back to the days of Zork, only instead of typing “north” I tap a white arrow, and instead of typing “open door” I tap on the dot on the doorknob. There is no freedom of exploration. You can only go where the game allows; usually 4-5 exit points from your current node and 2-3 of those will be dead ends, and interacting with items is painfully simple and obvious. Tap on the drawer and it opens then tap on the contents to add them to your inventory. Yawn.

    Even the story is lame. Setup with a rather dated looking cutscene; you’ll be playing Jonathan Harker who is once again hunting down the Count and trying to save his girl, Mina. Your search starts off in some rundown mansion then branches off to various other spooky locations, but it all follows the same formula of walking around to limited nodes, scanning the area, and collecting everything that isn’t nailed down…no wait…you actually collect nails. The writers even take liberty with established lore. Early on you face off against a werewolf and must figure out how to defeat him with sunlight - I thought that was for vampires?

    The game starts to pick up a bit whenever puzzles come into play. Puzzles require the manipulation of inventory items but sadly, the inventory system is broke in that you have no text descriptions of your items, often leaving you to trial and error on several puzzles since you don’t always know what you have or what it’s used for. Most of the puzzles are merely challenges to get you past locked doors, often requiring you to read pages of notes looking for clues then manipulating the environment, usually with bits from your inventory. This lets you into the next area where you get to do it all over again for the 5-8 hours it will take you to finish this game.

    The level designs and environments are disappointing in texture and detail, and while it’s impressive to see actual movie-style cutscenes on the iPad, everything looks like a QuickTime VR game from 1997. Contrast is poor and many portions of the game are so dark you can't have any ambient light in the room. To the game’s credit, the voice acting is quite good as are the music (when it's actually playing) and chilling (but terribly repetitive) sound effects. I was so sick of hearing that looping effect of wood creaking.

    I’m a big Dracula fan, but I’m not a fan of Dracula: The Last Sanctuary HD. The iPad is capable of so much more than delivering a game I could have played 20 years ago on my PC. And when your gameplay is restricted by preset movement coordinates and spin-and-search gameplay mechanics I can’t help but feel like I’m being led around an interactive storybook, and sadly, the story just isn’t worth the effort. There are dozens of games out there just like this any most are better. Let Dracula keep your fiancé this time and go play Myst.