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Dracula - Prince of Darkness (formerly "House of the Midnight Sun")

by Paul T. Johnson

Vampire
2002

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Dracula - Prince Of Darkness formerly House Of The Midnight Sun, June 12, 2019
by Canalboy (London, UK.)
Related reviews: parser, puzzlefest, Gothic, Curses!, Mulldoon Legacy, vampire
This is a rather good, rather large slice of old skool gothic puzzlefest by Paul Johnson. There are nods a plenty towards Curses! and Mulldoon Legacy here (obstinate cat, formal garden, pirate ship, battlements and assorted hidden passages, steps and chambers) but it stops short of outright plagiarism.

Your goal to begin with is unknown, but there is the traditional castle to break into and the story slowly unravels, although the real reason for your determination to enter the castle will not become apparent until near the climax of the game.

You have to collect four items during the course of the game, rather like the rods in Curses! before you can begin to think about your final showdown with the eponymous baddie.

The descriptions of decay, death and ubiquitous grand guignol grate after a while and are sometimes a little too florid and a little too repetitive to prevent the shock value being diluted.

Many of the problems are totally logical and not too difficult, although the final scenes see the difficulty level take a sharp uphill turn; there is one action in particular you need to perform in an area that you have no real reason to visit.

The author has an obvious love of antique furniture and art as a plethora of these objects are lovingly described throughout the game, juxtaposed effectively against the pervading atmosphere of decay. Indeed, the decay of these priceless paintings and other objets d'art is described with far more plangency than the discovery of the dead or dying.

The whole is mercifully free of any inventory or time limit (just as well as you will end up with a considerable variety of items to port around) and contains only a handful of typos and other grammatical errors, none of which really downgrade the game play value.

It is possible to put the game into an unwinnable position but not easily, and where this is the case there is usually a warning hidden away in one of the many inscriptions and messages you will find in charts, above doorways etc. In this game more than most, examine and search everything.

The ending certainly surprised me but that is for the player to discover.

All in all, an excellent parser based distraction which will keep you occupied for some time.