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Draculaland

by Robin Johnson profile

Horror
2016

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Number of Reviews: 3
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A longish link-driven parser game about Dracula and Van Helsing, March 19, 2016
Draculaland gave me several hours of playtime, even though I resorted to hints near the end of my playing time. It uses an innovative system where it is a parser, but all commands are chosen by clicking buttons instead of typing them in.

This is definitely a parser with some web UI thrown in as opposed to games such as Hallowmoor or the Axolotl Project which were Twine games but with heavy parser elements.

The parser effect is achieved by having an actual parser on half of the screen, with commands passed to it when you click on the buttons on the right-side (which consists of an inventory and room description).

The big worry here of course is that the button system might detract from the freedom of the parser, and that was my experience at first. It was difficult going back and forth between the two interfaces, and I felt like I was just trying every button in every situation.

However, as the game progressed, the dual interface became more natural, and as the inventory and its options grew, I was no longer able to get anyway by random button presses. I had to resort to the hallmark of the parser system, which is planning and carrying out a complex sequence of events.

Overall, I found the writing charming when the game wasn't being frustrating. That ended up being the one drawback of the game; I felt that many of the puzzle solutions, even in hindsight, didn't make sense or didn't allow for reasonable alternatives. (Spoiler - click to show)For instance, I felt like you should be able to distract the magpie with shiny objects or hide the keys in the box or bury them or kill the bird in its nest, or that you could slow the flies down by having them get drunk just like you did with the Magpie, etc. However, I would still rank the puzzles in the top half of all adventure games, especially for a patient player.

Overall, I recommend it; as an experiment, it's worth spending some time with, and as a game, it should appeal to the minimalist Scott Adams fans (which includes me).