Dracula: Origin (c) The Adventure Company
05/2008: RELEASE.DATE .. PROTECTION: Solidshield
3: DISC(S) .. GAME.TYPE: Adventure
"Dracula: Origin" is the new adventure game from Frogwares studio, the team
that developed the famous Sherlock Holmes series for PC. Having
successfully tackled the myth of Cthulhu in the latest Sherlock Holmes
adventure ("The Awakened", Frogwares is once again venturing into a
disturbing and fantastic universe, the world of the prince of darkness, in
an adventure which combines romanticism, mystery and horror
Notes Comments Etc. Dracula: Origin Review
Sink your teeth into this one.
by Sophia Tong
June 2, 2008 - Known for its Sherlock Holmes series, independent developer Frogwares has certainly been keeping busy with adventures games. The latest in its lineup is Dracula: Origin, a new adventure based off the epistolary novel Dracula by Bram Stoker written back in 1897. The fascinating dark fairy tale of the Prince of Darkness is revealed as you progress through the game. You don't even have to know much about vampires or Dracula himself to be absorbed in Van Helsing's quest to eliminate the vampire once and for all.
We are introduced to Professor Van Helsing as he's pouring over his life's work and quickly learn through a letter that one of his students, Jonathan Harker, has fallen into Dracula's clutches. Fearing for the safety of Harker's fiancΘe Mina, Van Helsing rushes over to her place to protect her. It seems that Dracula has taken an interest in Mina, as she looks like his one true love that he had lost and plans to use her body as a host to bring his beloved back. Van Helsing's journey takes him to London, Cairo, Vienna, and then Transylvania, where he must find a way to save Mina and defeat Dracula.
Unlike Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis, Frogwares' previous game, the developers went back to the traditional third person view and made the controls much more user-friendly. While some hardcore adventurers might frown upon it, pixel hunting has been eliminated with the help of the spacebar. Hitting spacebar will light up everything that can be interacted with on screen. You don't have to do this, of course, but it saves a lot of time and energy for you to devote to puzzles rather than scouring the scenery. The menu is easily brought up with the right click of the mouse; the entire game can be played without the use of the keyboard. Like Sherlock Holmes, documents and important notes are jotted down for you as well as dialogue. Using the mouse wheel to scroll quickly through text or inventory items is effortless. It seems that this interface was carefully designed to alleviate any flaws that previous adventure titles had. If Van Helsing could only run with a double click, that would be have perfect. However traveling across each screen doesn't take much time at all, sometimes it'll take you there instantly, but when he is walking, you can't help but wish he'd pick up the pace.
A majority of the puzzles are relevant to the story and the task at hand, so nothing seemed entirely out of place and obscure. Although a lot of it has to do with combining everything that you just picked up; who knew you could use a beaver carcass to help drain a barrel? There are two puzzles that stand out which didn't make much sense, one involving demons and wolves early on and another involving hieroglyphics. After much trial and error (and Google searching how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics) you may get through, but the solution is not entirely obvious. Dracula: Origin does provide a bit of hand holding since you can't leave a certain area until you've completed your task. This prevents needless backtracking, and with the use of the spacebar you'll know that you have everything you need in your inventory. This doesn't necessarily make the game easy, but it does make it a lot more enjoyable for those who do not want to spend their time running back and forth looking for items or wondering what they need to move on.