IF Competition 2008 Review #4: Dracula’s Underground Crypt

Name: Dracula’s Underground Crypt
Author: Alex Whitington
Review Date: 21 Oct 2008
Parser: Z-Code
Availability: IFComp 2008 Entrant
URL: http://www.ifcomp.org/
Version: Competition Version

Plot: 3/10 – An attempt was made, but it wasn’t very long or overly complicated.
Atmosphere: 2/10 – Tried to be quite funny but ended up falling flat.
Writing:  5/10 – Not much to say either way.
Game play:  2/10 – Attempts to be open ended.  Hard to say whether he managed it or not.
Characters:  4/10 – Professor was somewhat interesting.  Main character was amusingly stupid.
Puzzles: 3/10 – A bit of a pain, but internally consistent.  Lost points for a guess-the-verb.
Overall:  4/10 – A good effort marred by obvious bugs and so-so humour.

Full Review (Warning: Spoilers)

First up, there is obviously some sort of story behind a google account name eggheadcheesybird.  I always enjoy odd usernames, well done.   In some ways however, that was the funniest part of this evening.

The professor was characterised very well and was quite unlikeable as was no doubt intended.  I particularly enjoyed the diary, it put everything into perspective.  I didn’t find a way to kill the professor unfortunately, I was hoping i’d be able to throw the flesh eating bookworms at him (also mildly amusing), but it would let me.  Or stake him.

There were a few bugs.  The biggest one was that the professor kept talking and moving and doing things when he was in a different room than the character, and you could lift the pillow and search things whilst the professor was sitting on it.

There was a walkthrough built in that was nearly less than useless.  I needed it to get to the underground chamber, given that the statues didnt seem to be mentioned in descriptions anywhere, but even knowing what I had to do in there (get a rubbing of the coffin lid) it still led to a painful guess the verb puzzle in which my character beat himself to death several times with charcoal and paper.

The ressurection pages combined with the coffin message suggest you can resserect the female vampire and yet dripping blood in the urn fails to work and I was completely unable to find any of the interesting endings.  On the whole, an interesting try marred by poor execution and overambitiousness.  It may have been better to ignore the open ended idea and at least implement -one- full path that was interesting. 

I didn’t feel much urge to replay it, open ended or not.

Four out of Ten.


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