IF Competition: Dracula’s Underground Crypt

Another IF Comp review, following my format for this comp. There is a cut, then any spoiler-free comments I have, and then spoiler space, and then more detailed feedback that assumes the reader has tried the game.

But first, we have some obligatory filler to try to make sure that the RSS summary does not accidentally contain any review. Filler, filler, la la la…

Okay. Here we go.

I am never happy when a game starts with an apology from the author. If you know there are bugs, and the game isn’t polished, DO NOT RELEASE IT. Don’t waste our time. Save it and improve it for later. Release it in next year’s Comp, or, if you don’t want to wait that long, in the Spring Comp.

The warning is evidently deserved, alas. The first screenful of text contains many warning signs: misplaced apostrophes, misspellings, comma splices, inelegant handling of the game’s room description text, and objects described that you’re not supposed to be able to interact with yet.

The byline includes the sentence “The story genre is ‘Comedy'”, which means that the author missed a full stop when writing his assertions about the game’s bibliographical data.

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

However, I didn’t get around to actually quitting until the moment when my employer wiped his snot on my sleeve.

7 thoughts on “IF Competition: Dracula’s Underground Crypt

  1. “Vhat about ze Professor Von Klausberger, Daniel? Vhat do you vant me to say? It’s a very nice Professor Von Klausberger, Daniel. Now vill you leaf me alone?”

    I personally found that statement funny. I enjoyed the Nodwick-esque relationship. The programming though… ick. For example:
    > x suit
    “It has four arms!”
    > x arms
    “The woman’s arms are empty”
    > wtf?

    I actually got to the basement by bugging the little statues. I still don’t know where they are… The game kept telling me about the professor despite
    1) having heard these lines before
    2) being IN THE BASEMENT.

    The last straw was being told that there were carvings on the inside of the coffin lid, only to fail at finding the right verb to look at them… >_<

    3/10 points.

  2. Aw, as a fellow AGS-er to the author of this game I’m disappointed to read that his game needed a little more work. I always thought his speciality was graphics anyway…

  3. There was a particularly weird thing about this one – The help, the hints, the readme, etc. all encouraged you to “ask the professor about the objects you find”, telling you that he has lots of knowledge and can help a lot. Even the professor would pipe up and tell you to remember to ask him about stuff.

    Well, no matter what you ask the guy, his answer is ALWAYS the “Yeah very nice, what do you want me to say about it?? Stop bothering me!” answer.

    After a while I felt the author was having a little laugh at me. I can’t decide if I think it’s amusing or annoying.

  4. There were a few points where you needed to show the professor things in order to progress, which is probably why it told you that. But yes, it sucked.

    (Yeah, I had to use the walkthrough, and even that was quite a challenge. I worked out the puzzles – but I didn’t work out the verb-guessing or the invisible statues or whatever.)

    If it hadn’t been unbelievably buggy / poorly implemented, it would’ve been an okay, short game. Sadly…

    (I’m playing the games in random order and haven’t found a good one yet… sigh.)

  5. Heh, don’t get discouraged, I’m going random too, I’ve come across a few decent ones in there and one great one so far :)

  6. I strive to give even the worst games two hours or until done; I got a reasonably good ending just about the two hour mark and had no idea how to achieve the ideal ending.

    As Emily noted, the game is rife with typos. More problematic is that the game is full of weird flow and simulation problems. I was particularly frustrated when I accomplished by my employer’s ignoring relevant things.

    (Spoilers follow)

    He ignored my reading his diary in front of him, the diary in which he admits his plan to kill me. He asks me to find a secret room and I do; he doesn’t care. We’re looking for a vampire; I grab the coffin and show it to him; he doesn’t care. He wants to know where the vampire is, so I try to tell him what I’ve learned, or show him the lid on which the note is written; he doesn’t care.

    It’s obvious that this game had negligible or no external testing. Playtesting would probably have bumped this up from “Strong avoid” to “Okay.”

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