Note: This review was originally published October 12, 2009
Finally a publisher willing to give adventure games their due respect has arrived. Iceberg Interactive – headquartered in The Netherlands – has picked up the adventure banner in a big way with their new Adventure Classics collections. Iceberg Interactive was formed in 2009 and management is comprised in part by numerous veterans from the now defunct publisher, Lighthouse Interactive who were responsible for the wonderful Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder, Overclocked and Belief & Betrayal among others. As Iceberg Interactive does not have a North American office, these new compilations are currently only available in parts of Europe or online from either Iceberg Interactive or the JA Online Store.
Adventure Classics: Dracula Trilogy is a collection of arguably the best adventure games ever based on Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire. The three games can be installed from two DVDs that come in a luxury slipcase with an eye-catching embossed title outlined with dripping blood.
Dracula Resurrection was originally reviewed by JA in the year 2000 by yours truly: The latest and probably the best in a long line of adventure/horror games featuring vampires. Dracula Resurrection is actually presented as a sequel to Bram Stoker's novel. The opening movie reenacts the climatic events of the 1897 novel as we watch Jonathan Harker attempt to destroy his arch-nemesis. His weapons prove futile, though, and only the rising sun saves Jonathan and Mina, his fiancee, from a life of eternal darkness. Seven years pass, and we watch as Jonathan reads an unbelievable letter from Mina, now his wife. She has been overcome by an irresistible urge, a yearning for the sexual bloodlust of the vampire, and has returned to Transylvania. Jonathan, as we learn through a letter he composes to his friend Seward, journeys to save his beloved, and thus our game begins. This is not a Hammer film, though. There are no subplots, no vampire hunters, no Christopher Lees. It is simply you, playing in a first-person perspective as Jonathan Harker, attempting to reach Dracula's castle and rescue Mina. Much as the novel dripped of atmosphere over a hundred years ago, so also does the computer game. A feeling of loneliness prevails as you wend your way through catacombs and hidden passages. The fear of the townspeople is reflected in their eyes and etched in their faces. The game's creators, Jacques Simian and Francois Villard, do not hammer you over the head with the obvious, but have instead let loose their talent to create a world of shadows and darkness that speaks volumes. Like a good novel, the story relies on the characters and their personalities.
Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary was reviewed in 2001 by Ray Ivey who had this to say: From the very first sequence in which Harker explores the vampire's decrepit London house, the game is drenched in a richly creepy atmosphere. The sunlight streaming through boarded-up windows, a corpse propped up against a door, and the dark shadows all around contribute to a profound sense of unease. A gaggle of werewolves doesn't hurt, either. This quality is the game's great accomplishment: few games have created such a consistent feeling of creeping horror from beginning to end. It's yummy.
Impressively, this feeling of dread and danger permeates every single sequence of the game. Whether it's the (obligatory) sewers, the evil movie theater owned by Dracula, Highgate Cemetery, or a dungeon prison filled with skeletons, the hairs on the back of your neck get quite a workout while playing this game.
The cut-scenes are also fluid and beautiful and, as in the first game, frequently deal with novel means of transportation.
Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon – previously unreleased in the UK – is by far the weakest entry in the series as noted by JA reviewer Bobbi Carlini: The final five minutes of Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon is a tense, suspenseful confrontation between the game’s protagonists, Father Arno Moriani and the Prince of Darkness (no, not Ozzy Osbourne). In what is a welcome change from the norm, Dracula himself has been visualized by the developers in a manner unlike any I’ve ever seen before. After his defeat – and has any book, game or movie ever not ended with the ‘death’ of the vampire – there is a wonderful cinematic that jumps to the future and opens new & mysterious avenues for sequels.
But what about the previous six to eight hours of gameplay that led to this point? Where was Dracula? For that matter, where were any vampires at all? Oh, there are some revelations made along the way that some of the supporting characters may be vampiric, but their nocturnal tendencies never really figure into the game. There is not even a single cinematic of the Count, though it is later revealed that he was the shadowy character skulking in the shadows. No Dracula, no vampires - frankly, that sucks.
Whether you’re a collector (like myself) or just a casual adventurer who may not have played one or two of these games, this is a great opportunity to expand your collection at an affordable price.
OS: Windows® 2000/ME/XP/Vista™
Processor: 1 Ghz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
RAM: 512 MB RAM
Graphics Card: 64 MB DirectX® 9.0c Compatible
Sound Card: DirectX® 9.0 Sound Card
Input: Keyboard, Mouse and Speakers
Hard Disk: 4 GB Free Disk Space
DirectX®: Version 9.0c