Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon - Part 1
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Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon - Part 1

Our Review by Chris Hall on January 28th, 2010
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TIRED
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Click to move forward, look left, click to move forward, click on cog looking thing to talk to the person in front of you, click through the dialogue, turn left again, click to move forward. I'm tired now.

Developer: Chillingo
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

To me, the days of wondering around still locations, looking for things to click on died with Myst, or maybe the old X-Files PC game. You know, the one that took a full gigabyte to download. With modern 3D environments and our collective five second attention span, genres like this have just about died off and have been replaced with fast twitch genres that melt your brain... in a good way. Apparently though, in 2008 Kheops Studio developed Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon for the PC, the sequel to the Dracula PC game series dating back to 1998... the heyday of the genre. The game came out to mixed reviews on the PC, but was just cryptic enough for Chillingo to port it to the iPhone. For better or worse, due to what I can only guess as possible control issues, graphic issues, or just to appeal to the ADD nature of iPhone users, the game's puzzles have apparently been quite simplified on the iPhone version.

The game, like previously stated, is a scene by scene, story driven adventure game. You do get a bit of freedom with the ability to look around with simple screen swipes, but there is no free movement. Actions, such as walking to the next scene, grabbing items, and talking to people are all handled by simple screen taps on things that are highlighted. Movement is a bit disorienting at first because there is very little continuity between many of the scenes, but it gets better over time.

Game progression works quite simply, with you basically clicking on everything that is clickable on each screen. The puzzles that haunted that were so difficult on the PC version have been replaced by simple clicking actions. Conversations, instead of requiring thought to guide through, are completed by clicking on every available conversation action. Because of the linear nature, the game is quite simple. The only real reason to keep playing from scene to scene is for the story, which isn't all that bad.

The game starts with you, a priest from the Vatican, getting sent off to Transylvania, recently captured by Romania, to investigate the case of Martha Calugarul. The story quickly evolves into a hunt to find Dracula. Along the way, there are multiple characters to talk to, as well as some fairly interesting locations to interact with. Dracula: TPOTD is quite easy to follow, with fairly well acted dialogue and easy to follow clues guiding you along, just don't give up too fast because of the navigation... you become numb to it with with time. Getting into the story was a bit tough for me, but it started to grow on me after about hour two. Watch out though, right around hour 3, when you finally get to where you want to find out what happens, the game ends. Apparently I have to wait for Part 2 now... maybe it'll be optimized for the iPad.

If I had a game like this was on my phone in 1999, I would've freaked out. It reminds me of a slightly easier to navigate, but slightly less epic version of Myst... or X-Files... or Blade Runner... or Phantasmagoria. I'm just having a real hard time getting into a game like this now because the genre is old and exhausted. I didn't realize that I was of the fast twitch ADD generation, but I guess that I definitely am. I'm all for a good story, but tapping on arrows to navigate scene by scene is just tedious in todays marketplace... even on a mobile device. If you are in the market for a Myst-like creepy game though, it's tough to beat Dracula: TPOTD with its 99 cent cost.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1 screenshot 1 Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1 screenshot 2 Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1 screenshot 3 Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1 screenshot 4 Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1 screenshot 5
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