Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Wanna know the scariest thing about Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the Sega CD? The game itself. Seriously, this title is nothing but a major source of pain from the moment you first hit the Start button. Wherever shall I begin?
First of all, despite the fact that the Sega CD is exactly like the Genesis and can display no more than 64 simultaneous onscreen colors (which means the smaller the picture the better it looks), Psygnosis insisted on making all of the game’s FMV sequences (taken from the Francis Ford Coppola film of the same name) full screen. What this means is that the FMV looks absolutely dreadful, and you’ll often have to look really hard to make out exactly what you’re looking at.
And while I’m discussing colors, throughout the entire game, it looks as if only about 8 simultaneous onscreen colors are being used. I suppose this is a result of the environments being rendered in 3D graphics instead of typical sprites (except for level 6 which seems as if it was pulled from an entirely different game — WTF?), but everything looks really drab and like a pixilated, low-color mess. I will say this though, those 3D environments are somewhat impressive (especially they way they rotate), and it’s really too bad that the Sega CD hardware isn’t capable of providing enough colors to render them properly.
But let’s get to the real issue: the gameplay. My friends, it is completely horrid. The game’s protagonist, Harker, controls like a drunken fool, and it’s a struggle to execute any attacks — which consist entirely of punches and kicks (except for that bizarre 6th level in which he has a pistol) — that actually hit your enemies when you want them to. To make matters worse, the majority of the game’s enemies are groups of bats, rats and spiders (I have no idea why the local wildlife is so angry), and they constantly fly at you in a wide array of elevations and speeds. When you’re in control of a sluggish character and are getting hit with a non-stop barrage of issue-laden wildlife, it’s almost maddening. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the game only gives you two continues?
I guess the only good things about this title are the ways that it closely follows the storyline of the film, the atmospheric music (which unfortunately sounds a little too digitized), and those groovy 3D environments (even though the insanely low color count makes them look considerably bad). Everything else in this title is utter crap, and its tripe like this that gives the movie-licensed game genre the stigma that it has.
This is indubitably one of the worst games on the Sega CD, and since there is no seriously compelling reason to play this title, I can’t recommend it. (Well, unless you want to see a good example of a really bad game).
Go play with a stick or something instead.