Bram Stoker's Dracula is kinda a funny movie. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1992. The film is quite a big departure from the novel yet is somehow the only film to hit on most key elements of the novel. Its also got a novel adaption that was written by a guy who also wanted to write the novel adaption of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a film similar in nature to BSD. I couldn't find the source for that little factoid, but Coppola was originally going to direct before the second worst British entertainer to enter America handled it. I have never seen any of these things, this is just what I've heard about them. I mean, I own the films, they came with Underworld, but I've never seen them. Its really something I should change one of these days, but eh.
Adaptions of BSD are on all major systems in '93. You've got the NES, Sega Master System, Gameboy and Game Gear, which is apparently one of the worst games of all time according to some magazine no one has ever heard of. A slick looking Genesis and SNES game. An Amiga game that nobody cares about. A Sega CD game that uses digital actors and backgrounds, to the enjoyment of absolutely no one. And this fucking thing for DOS.
I've mentioned before that this isn't my first time playing a lot of straight, unarguable FPS games. BSD is where we shift the crap factor from "Good for its day" to "This is terrible". From "What do you expect?" to "Are you kidding me?". From "Important historical background" to "Blatant padding so I don't have to play the game".
GETTING IT TO RUN:
There's nothing fancy needed here, just make sure you use dracula.bat instead of drac.exe or you'll be stuck with PC speaker.
Hmm, maybe my old experience with this game is untrue. Its confusing to understand the controls, since nobody ever bothered putting the manual online. The accompanying text file lists no use key, so I guess the items are the only thing I'll be using. Fortunately, I can play something roughly akin to a modern FPS here, another first. You can't turn with the mouse*, but the ASDZXC cluster offers you something like modern movement...just with manual turning. Like a real human being.
You see, the game functions sort of like you're killing vampires. Enemies respawn from coffins, until you use holy wafers to destroy them. The text file says they're from another dimension or some weird thing that doesn't have anything to do with Dracula unless somebody popped him in Doom. Items are on the ground and you need to use them to get them.
This level is supposed to be a forest. Because of graphical limitations it looks more like an in-door garden. Is it really that hard to draw a new wall texture? Full of obelisks and impaled corpses. Really jabbing home that Vlad the Impaler thing, are we? Sometimes from a distance an obelisk and a corpse together look like some kind of hooded figure. The forest part is done by having a lot of dead trees around. This would be more effective if the ground wasn't green.
Skeletons are weaker than the zombies, but both die just as fast against the gun.
I find a way further down, its locked, but I have the key, I don't remember where I got it, I should have put that down. The rest of the level is seemingly locked off to me at this point, the only other place I can find is another locked door. The locked door out, apparently, as it needs a crystal key and the manual says Dracula gives the crystal key. Its hard to tell. The forest section is a big, confusing mess. Its not really any bigger than a Wolfenstein level, but a combination of being open, everything looking the same and fog that shortens your range after 15 feet makes for some fun times wandering around aimlessly.
The music changes whenever you either fight or go down stairs. Fighting has fighting music, obviously. It ends up like the first few notes of any battle music, annoying through the amount of times you'll have to hear it. The stairs, on the other hand, gives a weird building crescendo that sounds kinda like rushing through stairs. The regular music is some moody stuff, but has some weird static in the background, I don't know what that's about. At first I thought it might have been stepping sounds, there are in the PC Speaker soundset, but it happens even when paused.
The area has a lot of doors that need a lot of keys to get by. Fortunately, the silver key opens one of them. This game is weird, it has the illusion of being open, but you've really just got to do a series of predetermined events in order to win. Can you figure out that the developer of this game before and after this did a bunch of RPGs? Bloodwych and the Legend series. You know, games that were interesting, but heavily flawed and unplayable whenever you actually got past the character creation. This is just a weird experiment by a RPG guy disguised as a licensed title. Or a licensed title quickly and crappily made because they had the RPG guy do it. Strange.
I...uh...this puts me in a difficult place. I've got a lot more than three things to obsessively search now, I've got a lot of ground to cover. I don't want to do that. I really don't. I need a break from this, this thing takes like three of the worst design decisions you could take from both RPGs and shooters and just combines them in a way I haven't seen a proper FPS/RPG ever do. I'm at the 2 hour mark and I'm just barely skating by on not just giving up.
*You can, but you do this by left-clicking. You can't move while attacking if you exclusively use the mouse. Times were tough before people figured out how to use a mouse and not suck.