Dracula III: Path of the DragonJune 12, 2010
Available: iTunes App Store
Platform: iPhone & iTouch
Sold in 3 installments [Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3]
This was one of those purchases where I had only 99 cents left on my iTunes card and I took a chance. Now I am glad I did. First, this game is 338 MB which equates to lots of really nice cinematic cutscenes that enhance the story. The graphics and music blend perfectly to set the mood of Transylvania circa 1920. I never felt as scared since I had played the first Silent Hill game on PSOne. Although it would have been nice to have an option to play my own music.
Adding to the overall mood is a diverse group of eclectic characters to interact with and who drive the story forward. The story itself is well-written and engaging. You play as a young priest, Father Arno Moriani, who is sent to Transylvania in September 1920 to investigate the possibility of canonizing a now deceased nurse. However, without giving anything away, possibilities of murder, intrigue, and of course (as the title suggests) Dracula are thrown into the fray. Somehow, you feel that you can trust no one, even yourself.
Not only do you interact with the characters, but there is puzzle solving via both an inventory of items as well as documents you pick up along the way that help to understand events. Two really appreciated features of the game is the ability to replay (via “load game”) character scenes from the past as well as the option to permanently or temporarily turn hints on and off. The temporarily hints was the best as I could play through without feeling guided, but turn it on in the end to see if I missed any crucial items I needed to acquire.
Although basically a point and touch, the controls are very fluid and the animations and transitions are nicely done. The fact that I couldn’t stop playing once I started is a testament unto itself of the quality of this game. Sadly, the game ended all too soon (about 3 hours) with many questions unanswered. Yet, the game went out in style with some sweet teaser cinematics that have me on the seat of my pants for the second of the three installments. Prepare to go down the Path of the Dragon.
Overall, this game nears perfection, especially for the iPhone / iTouch platform. Although not as detailed as the original PC version, it is nice to be able to play this on a mobile platform.
Story-wise and puzzle-wise, this part was as satisfying as the first one. However, clocking in at only an hour and a half of gameplay, it was way too short. Additionally, Chillingo doubled the price to $1.99. Twice as much money for half as much gameplay didn’t sit too well with me. Still, the story and characters are engaging enough that I am committed to playing through to the end.
At last, Chillingo kept true to their word and released the final installment at $1.99. Although a bit longer and scarier than Part II, I found this portion of the game not as straightforward as the other two parts. Twice, I was completely stumped as to how to proceed in the game. If it wasn’t for the nice players who posted answers to my struggles in the comment section of the game in the iTunes store, I would have probably abandoned the game for good. Also, I was only able to solve the final puzzle by the seat of my pants luck. It would have been nice to have at least one alternative ending. For those who have finished the game, you know what I’m hinting at!
In its totality, Dracula III: Path of the Dragon was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had on my 64BG iPod Touch. I am hoping that the iTunes App store along with Chillingo releases more games of this genre and quality. Overall score: 8.5/10.
– Des Manttari, Editor-in-Chief, Phoenix Genesis
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