Dracula: Origin Review
Dracula: Origin is a point and click adventure in the traditional vein. If you've played one of these types of games in the last, say, twenty years, then you've got a pretty good idea of what to expect. Everything that you either love or hate about these types of games is present in this one, so with all that aside it comes down to the quality of the story and puzzles.
The game's story is best described as being “inspired” by Bram Stoker's Dracula. You play as famed vampire hunter Van Helsing on a quest to save Mina Murray from Dracula's clutches. In Origins, the adventure opens in London, but takes you to Egypt and Austria before you inevitably arrive in Transylvania. The story borrows from a number of sources outside of Dracula, but manages to pull off the whole thing off well enough to form an interesting and cohesive narrative. The game's art style serves the story well, even though the detailed backgrounds do also make it difficult to pick out the interactive objects in a scene.
Point and click adventures have often been referred to as pixel hunts, and Dracula: Origin certainly fits the bill. You need to carefully sweep each screen in search of the objects that you can interact with or add to your inventory to be certain that you don't miss anything. Sometimes the game won't let you leave an area until you've grabbed everything that you need to, but there are plenty of times when you'll need to backtrack and revisit some locations a few times before you find that random item that you missed the first several times through.
Like most adventure games, Dracula: Origin turns you into some sort of kleptomaniac seer who helps himself to a MacGyver-esque collection of odds and ends that invariably become useful in some way in the near future. At times it will be obvious when a certain item in your inventory will need to be used, and at others you'll find yourself randomly clicking your way through your inventory until you find the item that the game is looking for.
As for the puzzles, some are incredibly simple and others are annoyingly frustrating. The difficulty is all over the map, and it's not fiendish puzzle design that's always what makes the tougher puzzles tough. Too many times while playing the game a puzzle will pop up and you'll have no idea what to do with it. It's like to trying to win a card game when you don't know all of the rules of the game. Rather than being challenging, some of these puzzles are frustrating and seem more designed to sell guide books than to provide a mental challenge.
Overall, Dracula: Origin exhibits enough of the frustrating aspects inherent in adventure games to make it appealing to everyone. Adventure gamers will have a natural tolerance built up to these sorts of things, and so will probably enjoy the game's unique take on the Dracula story.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 70%. It's not without its share of the frustrating aspects of the adventure game genre, but Dracula: Origin still manages to provide an interesting story and some good gothic atmosphere.