John Hacker. Mild mannered estate agent. Arrives in Transylvania with one thing in mind - to finalise the sale of some land to Count Drascula. Little does Hacker know that Drascula guards a terrible secret. For Drascula is, in fact, a vampire.
So when Hacker meets, and falls for, an attractive young woman called Billie Jean (BJ for short) on his first day in town, he is quite shocked when she is kidnapped by a vampire... right before his eyes. His appointment with Count Drascula quickly forgotten, he vows to save his beloved BJ from the clutches of that evil vampire (unbeknown to Hacker, the vampire is actually Count Drascula). And so begins Hacker's journey into danger, romance, peril, and of course, vampire hunting. Will Hacker be able to save the woman of his dreams? Well, that's up to you!
Drascula: The Vampire Strikes Back is a hilarious comedy adventure game, parodying the traditional Dracula horror stories. The game is full of humorous gags, such as Hacker being forced to listen to 'Nail Scratching The Blackboard' noises to determine how prepared he is to face vampires, and a secret passage that is 'Closed For Repairs'. You will even find the expected 'Large Amount Of Money', that so many adventure games have, hehe.
The game was originally a commercial Spanish game, but was translated (poorly) into English, and eventually made freeware. However, you can download an AddOn pack, which translates it back into the original Spanish, as well as German, French and Italian. It is run through the Scumm engine, which can be downloaded from their website - www.scummvm.org. Drascula is controlled by mouse, and is very easy to use. Simply move your mouse up to top of the screen to get options such as 'Look', 'Open', 'Talk', 'Push', etc. Right-click your mouse to open or close the inventory screen. You can Save or Load your game at any time, simply by pressing F10, or you can quit the game by pressing Esc.
Drascula has full speech throughout, as well as text displayed on the screen. However, because it has been translated from Spanish, what you hear doesn't always match the text that you read on screen. As I said, the game has been poorly translated. For example, BJ mentions a 'strong noise', when she means a 'loud noise'. Or Professor Von Braun referring to a 'brew' when he means 'cigar'. This can be very confusing at times, so I found it best to concentrate on the text, as that seemed to make more sense to the story. In a scene near the end of the game, the spoken dialogue is still in Spanish (not translated into English), although the text shown on screen is English. For a former commercial game, I find this quite poor. But if you can look past this, you are in for a treat.
The colourful cartoon-like graphics are a visual treat. Candles in the bar flicker, as though really alight. The pianist in the bar moves his foot as he plays the piano. And the way John Hacker moves his mouth while talking is very amusing. The action cursors themselves, are quite unique, mostly using a hand to illustrate different things - an outstretched hand to represent taking \\ using an object, an open or closed hand to represent opening or closing something, a hand talking to represent talking to someone, etc. All your inventory items are shown as pictures in the inventory screen, so it's easy to see what you are carrying with you. Most of the time, hotspots are used to indicate objects you can interact with, as opposed to background. However occasionally, hotspots are not used, so important objects can easily be missed.
MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS
There is some wonderful music in Drascula, which I enjoyed hearing. The music changes occasionally, depending on what room you are in. Romantic music is played in BJ's room, accordion music is played in Blind Alley, and of course, piano music is played in the bar. The piano music is pleasant, but it is on a loop, and can get slightly annoying after a while. I also found that piano music in the bar is much louder than the speech, so it's hard to hear what is being said. The game has some wonderful sound effects, like the comedy scrambling sound as Hacker climbs through the church window. But my favourite sound has to be the loud scream that Hacker uses to get the pianist's attention, as well as to wake Von Braun.
Drascula is played through the Scumm engine, which can be downloaded here - www.scummvm.org/downloads.php. After Scumm is installed on your computer, you must then download 3 Drascula game files from here - www.scummvm.org/downloads.php#extras . These files are needed to play the game. The 3 files are the Drascula Freeware game itself (31.3 MB), Drascula Music Add On (34.4 MB), and Drascula.DAT (211 KB). Unzip the Drascula freeware game, and Drascula Music Add On (Drascula.DAT doesn't need to be unzipped), then save all 3 files to the same folder.
Now you need to set up SCUMM to play Drascula. Start up the SCUMM engine, and click on 'Add Game'. Navigate through the menus, until you reach Drascula, then select 'Choose'. That's the game itself set up, but you will probably want sound as well. Click on 'Paths' tab, and then 'Extra Path'. Click on the 'Drascula Audio' file, and then 'OK' it. Click on 'OK' again. Now you are all ready to start playing. Simply make sure Drascula is highlighted, then click on 'Start', and away you go.
Drascula: The Vampire Strikes Back is a quirky adventure game that is fun to play. The story is a parody of traditional 'evil vampire' stories. John Hacker's girlfriend has been kidnapped by an evil vampire, and he is determined to save her. Little does he realise what's in store for him! The game is mouse-controlled, and uses actions like 'Get', 'Open', 'Close', 'Talk' and 'Push', to interact with the game world. There is a lot of humour which will make you chuckle, and the puzzles are fun to solve. Cartoon-like graphics are bright and colourful, which adds a lot of fun to the game. Music is pleasant to hear, although can sometimes be louder than the voices. The game has been translated from Spanish, and this is what brings the game down. You can understand what is going on, but the translation is poor, and sentences are... odd. Spoken dialogue is quite confusing, and the text displayed on screen does not always match up with what is being said. Having said that, the text is easier to follow than the spoken dialogue. This was once a commercial game (now made freeware), so I find this quite disappointing. But if you can look past this, then you will surely love this wee gem.
Review by: Frodo