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About the Story
Deep in the Carpathian Mountains, the Romanian villagers tell tales of the strigoi. The strigoi are said to be troubled spirits that have risen from the grave. They are attributed with the abilities to transform into an animal, become invisible and to gain vitality from the blood of their victims.
3rd Place - Text Adventure Literacy Jam - 2022
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Carpathian Vampire, part of the 2022 Text Adventure Literacy Jam, puts the player through one strand of the classic Dracula story – the finding and staking the vampire part – via a clean and fundament-focused presentation suitable for the teaching of playing parser IF. There are few flourishes, but the implementation is very solid and the classic styling of the castle taps the eternal gaming Dracula. The thoroughness of the playalong tutorial is about equal best I've seen, only tripping once with a bit of contrary advice regarding a notebook.
Dracula might be my favourite story. I don't know that it's my favourite novel, because in spite of my indulgent nature where horror is concerned, I do think some bits of the book are particularly poorly or strangely written. In each new take on Dracula in gaming or film, Dracula's castle can be reconfigured in one of an infinite number of ways, drawing on a library of elements that are now sourced from more than a century of books, films and other media. A lot of these ways may not be too different to each other as they target the key tropes, but I still have time for all of them. This was the aspect of Carpathian Vampire that most interested me as an old Dracula head: the familiarity of its setting. I could almost swear I'd walked this configuration before, kitchen on the left, dining room on the right, etc. But I feel that way in many Dracula castles, and it's a good feeling.
I admit I'm not much of a fan of vampires, so when the author asked for testers, I opted for his other game. I've been through the general vampire tropes, and they don't do much for me, whether it's humor that plays on said tropes or more detail than I want. Yet it's effective. The tutorial bit gets you inside the castle with no way out, and it's atmospheric, but on some level you know you'll need to (and you will) find the key to leave the castle.
So I believe I would've enjoyed testing this as well as Garry's other, because it fits really well as a TALP entry, giving clues where you need it and providing a clear path through. I think while having a tutorial is good, having other bumpers along the way to follow up is better, so it's not just about helping people through a text adventure but letting them know what to expect. And the tutorial never quite ends--it seems to know when to give a small nudge. In this case, making light has its pitfalls. There are sensible ways to mess up, and the game says, hey, look at what's in your inventory.
There's another bit where your inventory is full from all the items, and you have some choices of what to drop. You never have to inventory juggle, but the guidance is nice all the same. There aren't too many items, because the map is not too big, and generally there's a lot of sampling of ways text adventures should work.
I also must give credit to the HINT command. The game is not too difficult, though I used them a couple times for expedience or to make sure I was done. The hints are in brief four-line poetry like those old Burma-Shave ads, and they're quite catchy and succinct and sometimes even funny, even the "you're done here" nudge. And while the game's tone isn't humorous, it works well here, better than a dry "do this next." So the game is worth a replay for that alone.
This is a vampire game designed for the Text Adventure Literacy Jam. It's aimed towards beginners, and I think serves its purpose fairly well.
You begin outside a dark castle and have to find a way in. The tutorial will take you all the way through this part, about 1/10-1/5 of the game.
Inside, you have to explore the small castle and figure out a way to stop the vampire. There are quite a few items including red herrings, but everything is logical. I got stuck because I didn't notice one room exit at first.
There's not a ton of tension here. As a tutorial game, that's fine, and I've done the same in my own tutorial games, but I would wish for more in a bigger game. There's some nice atmospheric messages, though.
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