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Draculaland

by Robin Johnson profile

Horror
2016

Web Site

(based on 26 ratings)
13 member reviews

About the Story

A terse, comic horror puzzle game based loosely on Dracula, faithfully reimagining several characters and ignoring most of the original plot. Guide Jonathan Harker on a trip through Transylvania, interacting with vampires, mad scientists, zombies, annoying magpies, and moustachioed werewolves.

Draculaland is the first game written using a new keyboardless "parser/choice hybrid" engine, "Versifier", designed to give the feel of a parser game with click/touch controls.


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: March 14, 2016
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Javascript
Forgiveness Rating: Polite
IFID: Unknown
TUID: zqokrx6glbvfw1d

Awards

4th Place - First Quadrennial Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction


News

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Editorial Reviews

Jay Is Games

"Campy, wonderfully silly, and packed to the gills with supernatural mayhem, Robin Johnson's text-based adventure Draculaland puts the Bram Stoker classic in your hands with a very liberal comedic twist or ten."
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PC Gamer
"Draculaland is a parser-based text adventure, at heart, but it does brilliant things with its interface."
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Adventure Gamers
"At first this appears to be a straightforward adventure, but finding Dracula is not as easy as it seems. The story actually proves quite intricate, with some interesting twists and turns along the way."
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Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
"The writing is compact, as it has to be in this format, and funny; the characters are sketched with as much personality as one could reasonably fit in the available space"
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Gamers Unite!
"Draculaland is a fun game with a good name that asks you to kill the lord of darkness, using a magnificent context-sensitive action system."
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Geek Squad
"Draculaland – or 'Draculalalaland', as you'll likely stumble through saying the title out loud – is a perfectly sized gothic adventure-puzzle game, following Jonathan Harker in his quest to slay the notorious Wallachian, Count Dracula, and rescue his bride Mina from his castle."
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Member Reviews

5 star:
(6)
4 star:
(12)
3 star:
(6)
2 star:
(1)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Great for playing with kids, April 29, 2019
by J. J. Guest (London, England)

I played this engagingly silly game with my 7 year old nephew, and he absolutely loved it. The terse text and clever button interface were an ideal introduction to the medium of IF, and though we went on to play a couple of traditional parser games, he liked this one the best.

We played on a mobile phone, and I hope Robin goes on to release more games for mobiles. I hope, also, that he releases an authoring tool for Versificator so that other authors can use it!

Draculaland riffs on a host of classic monster movie tropes and features (mostly) logical puzzles. We resorted to the hints once or twice. The only really disappointing thing was that (Spoiler - click to show)in spite of the title, you don't get to see a lot of the eponymous vampire. It might have been fun if he'd turned up earlier in the story.


5 of 5 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).


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A nice pastime, October 3, 2020

Robin Johnson has a lot of quirky ideas, and within the severe limitations of the format of his game (see below) the writing is amusing, refreshing and down to the point. That should easily make forget that the setting of the game is pretty cliché.

Unfortunately the technical novelty of reducing a parser game to the most indispensable verbs and available objects leads to two problems: The solution to many puzzles is obvious when the necessary verb-object combination is suddenly highlighted (e.g. a beer usually has the options "drop" and "drink" with it, and when the right situation comes up an additional "give" option pops up), and not coming up with the correct solution immediately entices you to fall a dull simply-click-everything routine that many magazine editors criticize about P&C adventures. It doesn't exactly help that the entire text is kept in a Scott Adams telegraphic style which cuts off the feeling of exploring a game world's details.

As an interface experiment Draculaland is really cool. And it has its moments, see above. But in general, as a game I want to dive into it fails.


See All 13 Member Reviews

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Recommended Lists

Draculaland appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Favorite Horror Games by thecanvasrose
The horror IF that I most love and enjoy! (I generally prefer narrative over puzzles and scare-factor over narrative.) Ranked from least to most favorite. For a list of other horror games with good ratings, see my other horror games...

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Draculaland:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible innovation uses of 2016 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best Use of Innovation in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...

Nontradiational Parser, Gamebook, IF and Systems by thecanvasrose
I'm making a list based on this poll as I play the elected games and can write snippets about them. See here: https://ifdb.org/viewlist?id=3n6rheokfkcsntf - - - - - - - - - I'm looking for games which are: 》Neither parser nor gamebook...

Games suitable for children by Mike Sousa
My 10 year old twins recently "discovered" IF. They fell in love with Grunk and are asking for more games to play. I've searched BAF and have some ideas, but figured I would give this poll a shot since there are hundreds and hundreds of...

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This is version 15 of this page, edited by Robin Johnson on 7 December 2019 at 5:02pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item