Approximate Release Date: January 1, 1993
Publisher: Sony Imagesoft
Bram Stoker’s Dracula should get a stake through the heart. The game, not the character.
In a rare example of research I watched the trailer for the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula is based on. I have no idea why this movie was turned into a game. Any vampire movie is going to include a great deal of violent, sexual, and religious imagery, which are three naughty no-nos according to the Nintendo of America of this era. Everything interesting about the movie has to get stripped out.
Of course the cynical and definitely correct reason this game was made was money, just like every licensed game. What suit thought people would be clamoring for a game based on a movie by the director of The Godfather? It works for kids movies because kids are dumb and impressionable and trans-media marketing is more effective on them and their parents. What does Bram Stoker’s Dracula gain from not being called just Dracula?
I’ve spent a lot of time whining around this game instead of talking about it. You can feel the indifference seeping through every pore of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s a bland action platforming game. Jump around, stab rats and drunk people, find the exit, fight the boss. Nothing is surprising and everything is boring. It’s easy to die but there’s not much of a penalty for failing; there are limited lives but unlimited continues. My strategy for every boss was to just tank the damage and mash the A button. Dodging would have just slowed things down!
I did like how the Easy difficulty mode in Bram Stoker’s Dracula featured a shortened, remixed set of levels from the Normal difficulty. This isn’t unheard of, but it’s a thoughtful addition that makes the game feel welcoming to new players while giving experienced players more content. However, the last boss in Easy isn’t Dracula, yet the ending of the game mentions you killing Dracula in the past tense. It’d have been better to just direct the player to Normal instead.
There’s not much else to say. No one reading this site thought Bram Stoker’s Dracula had a remote chance of being a good game. It’s simple and doesn’t try much of anything new or interesting.
Tomorrow: An unknown sequel to a beloved classic? California Games II is destined to be great!