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Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

Hooray, I thought, appropriately ripping open the package with my teeth, here's the finished version of Dracula at last, and not too long after the scheduled release date of Halloween. But what's this? Pre-release cassettes inside... and covering only two of the three parts in this adventure. Oh well, let's take a look at what we've got.

The first part deals with your final stopping-off point, The Golden Krone Hotel, before you make your way to Castle Dracula. You step down from your coach and try to enter the hotel, only to have the coachman stop you and demand his fare. Reasonable enough, though typing I for inventory informs you that you have nothing with you at all, so this could prove a tricky encounter. Despite the lack of funds, you can simply PAY COACHMAN and make your way into the hotel, where you proceed to do lots of exciting things like registering. A quick trip upstairs to your room, have a LOOK AROUND and then it's down to the dining room for a meal before turning in for the night. Your success in part one is dictated entirely by what you eat and drink at this point, choosing from three options for each, so it's just a case of trial and error, which seems rather unadventurous to me.

Upstairs you fall asleep. and various things happen according to what you've eaten and drunk. Eventually you'll hit on the right combination and find yourself able to go outside the hotel and type WAIT several times till a coach turns up to take you to Castle Dracula (and without paying your bill, too, so presumably you used up all your non-existent money on the coachman first time around). The only thing that's needed to complete the six locations of part one is to give the coachman your name. It's here you realise that you're not told this anywhere, so unless you've got a copy of the original Bram Stoker book to hand you'll have to play through part one again till you reach the point where it's possible to find out your own name.

Part Two is called 'Arrival', and according to the cassette cover this provides an eventful coach journey before your imprisonment by Count Dracula himself. My coach journey was totally uneventful. Typing LOOK AROUND revealed that a woman was sitting opposite me - just as well I looked, otherwise I'd never have noticed her. Not that this did me much good, as after about ten minutes of inputs all I'd managed to do was extract a smile from the woman. All the while this was going on the coach plodded quite unconvincingly nearer its destination, and never quite got there. Boredom set in.

Part Three apparently switches the story to a friend of the hero's in England, a Doctor Seward, whose investigations should help release Dracula's prisoner. I'll review that part when it arrives.

Final verdict? Impressive use of lengthy sections of text, but ultimately an adventure that promises much more than it actually delivers.