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About the StoryA 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.
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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"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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"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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Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
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.
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).
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.
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