Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1993) on SNES

Another classic game from 1993 that is based on one of the most iconic horror movies of all time: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The movie hit the screen in 1992 based on the 1897 novel. If you’re a fan of retro platformers, you might want to check out this classic game that was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). You might be wondering how it was adapted into a video game.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was developed by Psygnosis and published by Sony Imagesoft in September 1993. This game is not very faithful to the movie or the novel. In fact, it has very little to do with either of them. The game is basically a platformer where you play as Jonathan Harker, a young lawyer. Dracula has cast an hypnotic spell on his lovely mistress Mina Murray (in the SNES manual from Internet Archive) or Mina Harker (according to Wikipedia as the Jonathan’s wife). Harker will have to invade Dracula’s castle and kill him once and for all. Along the way, you have to fight various enemies, such as bats, rats, dogs, wolves, skeletons, spiders, henchmen, drunk man (they throw bottle at you), mosquitos (why not), giant scorpions, Dracula’s brides, evil nuns or priests (it’s hard to tell), madman and madwoman, zombies and even Lucy Westenra, who is a boss character in some versions of the game. You also have to collect weapons and items, such as knives, axes, dynamites, crosses, holy water, and shotguns. The kinve is a long lasting weapon it allows a better hitting range then the fist. They both are invisible weapons. We only see a white swing animation instead of an actual hand or knive. The shotgun shoots 5 bullets in multiple directions. They fly and bounce on surfaces to kill ennemies from behind, on different angles and even off screen. Bullets disapear after a certain time. Still we can shoot while walking and hit ennemies before we got on the spot.

The game is a 2D side-scrolling action platformer that consists of six levels. The Journey to Castle Dracula, Harker’s Escape from the Castle, The Journey to Civilisation, Hillingham Estate, The Trail to Carffax Abbey and The Final Battle. On each level Harker will run into Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. This meeting allows the apparition of weapon’s icons on the level and the exit door. The bosses are a giant knight, a dragon, Dracula himself as an old man, Renfield (Dracula’s insane servant), and Quincey Morris (one of Lucy’s suitors who dies in the novel), a running red knight which suppose to be one of the Dracula’s form.

This is the sweet spot. Where Harker stands seems to be safe and invisible. The young Dracula just turns on himself and smashes an empty space. Acting like if it wasn’t able to detect Harker.

The game is not easy or fun. It’s repeatitive, a few hidden routes and puzzles help to maintain some entertainment. Zombies are annonying creature On later levels we have to deal with tricky platforming sections. There are some floating wood platforms. We have to jump from one to the other. It requires precision and the controls make them not obvious to catch. It might be frustrating. There is two jumping-over-fire-pits parts where fire balls are projected from the these pits. We have to jump from narrow blocks to the other narrow blocks. These fire balls make the caractere jump back on touch. Again these parts might be annonying to pass throught. Bosses are easier to terminate then these sections. Graphics elements are still looking fine even today. There’s a few parallax effects to simulate 3D that are interesting to watch. Animations are minimalistics. Which make the overall game looking static and carton-like. The brides of Dracula and the dragon are some examples.

The dragon in Harker’s Escape from the Castle. It goes back and forth and spits fire.

In conclusion, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a game that is not so bad but far from being great. It is a game that is worth playing for its comedic value rather than its horror value. It is a game that is not for everyone, but for those who enjoy strange games or bad movies, it is a game that you should try at least once in your life.

Thank you for reading my blog post about Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Until next time, keep gaming and keep laughing!

The character can stands on a bucket. A bucket nails on the wall. It’s one of ‘puzzle’ in The Journey to Civilisation.


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