Game: "Bram Stoker's Dracula"
System: Sega Genesis
Published by: Sony
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Review: Video games based on movies tend to be, well, crappy. It doesn't really matter if the movie is any good. In fact, the two are often inversely related. Bram Stoker's Dracula manages to be about average, which I guess means it's ahead of most other movie tie-in games.
You control Jonathan Harker, only instead of shacking up at Dracula's for a few months, you actually get out and do stuff. The odds are stacked against you in the form of countless rodents, gypsies, and hidden spikes that for some reason line every path and residence in Transylvania. But on the upshot, you don't look or sound anything like Keanu Reeves.
Harker comes equipped with a sword with which to smite all the rats and spiders Dracula has put in his way. It helps that his sword attacks look a lot like those from the game Strider, but you run into problems when you start to encounter enemies are both fast, and require more than one swing to defeat.
To spice things up a little, the game offers a small variety of ranged vampire hunter weapons like stakes and shotguns. They're quite handy, considering how easy it is to get hit while attacking with your sword, but you only get a limited amount of each weapon, and you can't hold more than one. Also, they don't appear that often, though they still appear more often than any kind of health powerup.
Several characters from the film show up in the game, including Van Helsing himself, whom you'd think would be a better choice for the main character of the game. In any case, he helps you out with weapons. He doesn't actually give you any, he merely thinks about weapons that exist somewhere, and then you read his mind so you know what these weapons look like. Then, and only then, can you go find the weapons.
The music is pretty good. It's a mix of some scary-sounding organ (well, electronic organ) music combined with some more traditional video game music, with some really pronounced drum beats. Anyone who's familiar with past Psygnosis titles will notice that same sort of moody feel in some of the tracks that can be heard in games like Shadow of the Beast.
If Harker could have at least had the ability to kill giant bugs/rats by jumping on them, dealing with the myriad tiny, fast enemies would have been a lot less irritating. The music helps cover for some of the banality, but with no sound test mode, you'll have to slog through one irritating stage after another to here a given track. All said, though, the game is pretty bland. The one thing that did catch my eye, however, is that the first boss you face is a guy in a trenchcoat with a whip. Whips and Dracula? "You like Castlevania, don't you?"
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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