Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1 in Review – sadistically beautiful

The iPhone still mucks about in a rut of cross-pollinated adventure titles, but thankfully, its playground is expanding beautifully. Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1 has me salivating for the next instalment; it is a fun, scary, and well-told adventure with the thick sort of atmosphere which can only be cut with a blood-stained reaping-scythe.

Tetraedge games already have a great engine under their sleeves in the Mysterious Island games which is both lush visually and sonically. Dracula piggybacks on it and adds what has been lacking to date: a simply smashing storyline which is made possible by lots of interaction with other characters. It looks great. The dark, seamy village is perfectly rendered for a horror-themed game. And the music, while repetitive, tingles the spine with the creepies. I. Love. It.

The semi-convoluted story will have you (a priest) chasing from Rome to Transylvania in quest to canonise a local woman who has just died. But after the briefest of stops, your mission transforms into an inquest of a different sort: did she die of natural causes, or was she murdered? Needless to say, you will embark on a quest overthrow a vampire.

Puzzles are pretty simple not only because Dracula is story rather than item-driven, but also because puzzles items engage the logical part of the brain. And unlike the Mysterious Island series, you don’t have to fear losing items by using them incorrectly.

The movement engine is still as simple as ever: follow the arrows to move, and click the cogs above items to perform interactions. There are a few puzzles and a bit of footing it which needs to be done, but the bulk of the game is played by interacting with in-game characters. You will use the telephone, read letters, files, briefs, and interview town characters. Because each speaks their lines audibly, it is the luck of the gods that the acting is done well. And if you didn’t catch everything, there are subtitles below.

But Dracula is short. It can be completed in less than 3 hours and thanks to heavy character-interaction, plays more like a choose-your-own-adventure. There is less tinkering and less repetitive questing. If you have played the PC version, the marked differences between the two versions can be summarised by the following phrase: less gameplay. Puzzles are simplified and whole sections have been sucked out. Of course, this is only the first instalment in a series, but even familiar puzzle scenes are much simpler than previous. By the time I realised how good the game was, it was over.

Dracula is more fun, more atmospheric, and more acutely entertaining than either Mysterious Island game is. It is streamlined, involving, and has great writing. But it is short and  because of its reliance on the next instalment, ends abruptly. Right now, my imagination is satisfied and I am excited for the next release, but in a month, I may not be so excited. For 99 cents, Dracula is a great bargain, but it cuts itself short by not offering the entire storyline now.

App Summary
Title:Dracula: The Path Of The Dragon – Part 1Developer:Chillingo
Reviewed Ver:1.00Min OS Req:2.2
Price:$0.99App Size:338 MB
  • Wonderful graphics
  • Spooky sound and good music
  • Atmospheric fun
  • Great story-driven plot
  • Perfect adventuring engine
  • Too short
  • Really simple

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Have an affinity for adventure games? Check out some of our reviews/articles here and the App Store’s best Adventure Game article for more great games.

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