Monday, 17 October 2022

Game 133: Dracula Unleashed - Introduction (1993)

Written by Joe Pranevich

In the 1980s, if you wanted a spine-chilling adventure game, ICOM Simulations was the place to go. For all that Infocom’s The Lurking Horror (1987) might cause you to sweat a bit and Lucasfilm’s Maniac Mansion (also 1987) knew how to chill you in a sort of Addams Family goofiness, ICOM Simulations brought true horror to adventure gaming with 1986’s The Uninvited and (to a lesser extent) the the following year’s Shadowgate. These games were works of art and their high-resolution black and white imagery (in their original Macintosh versions) made your skin crawl as you plumbed their adventuring depths. 

By the 1990s however, ICOM had left those horror roots behind. Their big hit series had become Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, a delightfully well-lit exploration of 19th century London’s criminal underworld. But by 1993, David Marsh and Karl Roelofs would get two chances to bring ICOM back to their horror roots: Beyond Shadowgate and Dracula Unleashed. Beyond Shadowgate will need to wait for another time (it was a TurboGrafx-CD exclusive title and outside our scope), but Dracula Unleashed turned a dark mirror on the Sherlock Holmes series, taking the format and conventions that they developed for those happy little adventures and bringing them to a world of pain and blood. In other words, perfect Halloween fare!

I’ve been dying to play this game for years. Let’s get to it.


It’s not a game, it’s an “Interactive Horror Movie”.

Before we get too far, let’s recap what ICOM Simulations has been up to so far. I do not always love their games, but I love the way that ICOM did not tie themselves down to a specific type of game the way some of their contemporaries did. This may have been out of necessity– they never quite became “the” Adventure company in the ways that Infocom, Sierra, and LucasArts did– but I appreciate them nonetheless. 

The history of ICOM starts with the invention of “point and click” gaming: the MacVenture series and especially their first game, Deja Vu, in 1985. (Strictly speaking, the first point-and-click adventure game was probably 1984’s Enchanted Scepters by Silicon Beach Software, but that game failed to attract wide notice. Deja Vu was the first commercially successful point-and-click adventure game.) Four of these MacVentures games were created between 1985 and 1988: Deja Vu, Uninvited, Shadowgate, and Deja Vu 2. These games were ported (in some cases, not well) to many other platforms and were even adapted for the NES. They proved that you could bring something like Infocom’s depth and heart to a graphical format. 

For ICOM’s next trick, they pretty much invented the full-motion video (FMV) adventure game genre with Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. While arguably not a “real” adventure game (Consulting Detective does not have an inventory or typical adventure puzzles), the series was tremendously popular and was a common “pack-in” with CD-ROM upgrade kits of the early 1990s. The game was fun and accessible to casual players. (Although we are playing in the opposite order, Dracula Unleashed was released after the third Consulting Detective game.) While working on FMV on one hand, ICOM expanded into console games on the other with releases such as Beyond Shadowgate and even platformers like Road Runner's Death Valley Rally. I adored Death Valley Rally as a kid.

Cover art for the Sega-CD version in Europe.

The idea behind Dracula Unleashed came early during the development of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. With Holmes already exploring 19th century London, a leap to a different public domain character of the same time period may have seemed an easy one. Ken Tarolla, the executive producer, became aware that Francis Ford Coppola was working on the film that would become Bram Stoker's Dracula. This, he reasoned, would rocket Dracula back into public consciousness. ICOM could take advantage of the film’s marketing and cachet to sell their own “Interactive Movie” sequel while the iron was hot. 

Development of the game began in parallel with the Sherlock Holmes sequels, but the production team’s ambitions outstripped their budgets. Mike Plant was tapped to direct with Dave Marsh, one of the leads on the earlier MacVenture games, on as producer. Plant was not officially credited on Holmes, but has suggested (or outright stated) in interviews that he directed some of those games’ material and he was already well-familiar with the limitations inherent in FMV at the time. (Ken Torolla was the official director on the project; Plant is listed in the IMDb as the editor.) Marsh would have brought his adventure game background, adding back in some of the adventure elements that were absent in the board game-based Consulting Detective series. Like that preceding series, actors and crews were sourced from local (Minnesota-based) theater groups and auditions. 

The director, Mike Plant, discusses a scene with two actors backstage.

The budget for the game was challenging. We know from subsequent interviews that they were allocated $125,000 (roughly $240K in today’s money) for sets. Working on very limited soundstages, they had to build and strike each set as soon as the scenes ended. There would be no opportunity for reshoots. More than 150 scenes were shot, with a crew that consisted of 40 actors (seven credited leads with many more bit parts and extras) as well as the usual army of customers, prop designers, carpenters, cameramen, and many more. A live wolf was brought in by an animal handler for some scenes. The shoot lasted for six weeks, with Plant and much of the crew working 12-14 hour days in tight soundstages to pull it all together. They ran out of special effects budget before the end and, to Plant’s dismay, had to film some of the effects in ways that he felt were ultimately unsatisfying… but they were on a deadline! A small incident with the wolf resulted in Plant being bitten, but there was no time to stop. (He claims to still have a scar on his arm from the bite.) They completed the shoot around November of 1992 and attended a showing of Coppola’s Dracula film as part of their wrap party. They were unable to beat Coppola to theaters, but they hoped that the excitement behind his film would translate into sales for theirs. 

Potentially contributing to their budget and timeline woes, ICOM was undergoing its own transformation during the development of Dracula Unleashed. Previously independent, ICOM was purchased by Viacom and renamed/merged into “Viacom New Media”. The new company would focus nearly exclusively on licensed titles, including such gems as 1995’s Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity. Marketing for the game included a film-style trailer. Viacom pushed Dracula Unleashed as a first of its kind “Interactive Movie” that would “combine Hollywood and hardware” into something new. They weren’t the only company making such claims, of course, as FMV was a definitive selling point of 1993. By all accounts, Dracula Unleashed sold well and landed more than $1M in sales. (Plant claimed in an interview that revenue-wise it did better than the Consulting Detective series, although the latter shipped many more units as part of CD-ROM conversion kits and similar promotions.) The crew hoped for a sequel, but the studio instead opted for a “spiritual successor” instead in MTV: Club Dead, a decidedly more “modern” take on a FMV horror game. This second life of ICOM software would last until 1997 when much of the ICOM intellectual property (and more than a few of its best developers) would be transitioned to a new company, Infinite Ventures. I look forward to learning more about these later phases of ICOM when we get to them.

Dave Marsh, from a “behind the scenes” interview.

The Crew

Dracula Unleashed is the only game designed by Anthony Sherman, a man that I have been able to learn nearly nothing about. Fortunately, the rest of the crew was made up of more experienced designers. The screenplay for the game was written by Andrew Greenberg– not the Andrew Greenberg that invented Wizardry and was one of the luminaries of the computer RPG world, but rather a different Andrew Greenberg, at this point best known for developing the tabletop game, Vampire: The Masquerade. Greenberg’s love of vampire lore made him a great fit for the script. Although this was Greenberg’s first computer game, he would eventually help to design fifteen more over his career, on top of writing at least twenty novels and many more RPG modules. 

David Marsh served not only as a producer, but as a co-designer on the game. He was joined by frequent collaborator Karl Roelofs (designer for Shadowgate) and Katherine Tootelian (from the Consulting Detective series). Mr. Marsh has been a friend to the site for a long time and his current company, Zojoi, is revitalizing many of ICOM’s hits. 

As this post introduction is getting too long already, I will skip the detailed biographies of the lead cast members for now. This was early in their careers for nearly all of them. Some, like Nichole Pelerine, would move into television and have national exposure on shows such as Angel and The X-Files. Others transitioned into directing or writing and most had (and continue to have) a long career in live theater in Minnesota and beyond. My hope is to be able to focus on one or two of the actors in each gameplay post, to share a bit more about what they have been up to since 1993. 

Not the correct manual, but at least we see a different variation on the game’s cover art!

The Manual

I have been unable to locate a manual for the PC version of Dracula Unleashed. I hope (and assume) that the Sega CD version manual is similar enough. It reveals the basic plot of the game: Dracula is alive and prowling the streets of London, and that I will be playing as a “wealthy American” named Alexander Morris. I will explore “13 locations” and watch more than 140 clips before the game is through. 

Much of the gameplay seems inspired by Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. Like in that game, we’ll be exploring London by carriage and have to select where we want to go using an address book. We will also have in-game newspaper clips, in contrast to the manual-included ones in the previous game. In each location, we will be shown a movie clip and we are free to watch that clip as many times as we like. But unlike with Holmes, the world is more dynamic. We cannot watch the same clips over again by visiting the same location twice, for example. Our address book will not begin the game filled, but we must learn the addresses that we need to visit during the story. Dracula Unleashed also adds a time element (as presented by a “pocket watch”): every action we take will eat a fixed amount of time and some events will only happen if we go at the correct moment. We can fast-forward to a later time, if needed, but the manual cautions us that we’ll need to conserve our minutes wisely. We will also need to sleep during the game as trying to stay up can result in disaster. We’ll need to play to understand these mechanics more, but I am excited already!

Also unlike Sherlock Holmes, we have an inventory! We automatically pick up objects when we watch certain scenes. We can then place those objects “in hand”. Scenes will trigger differently depending on what is in our hands. The manual provides an example of visiting the telegraph office: if we have the address of someone that we want to send a message to “in hand”, going to the office will cause us to send them a message. Going there without an address in hand may do absolutely nothing. 

…And Novel?


The Hintbook

As we’re playing a 1990s game, we are well past the era of self-published hint guides. Instead, the “official” hint book for Dracula Unleashed was written by Rick Barba and published by Prima Games in 1994. I buy these things hoping for some pre-production art or background on the game that I can add to my research, but this tome provides neither.

Instead, I am left with the impression that Barba had a lot of pages to fill and not a lot of game content to fill it with. 237 pages of this guidebook (62% of the book!) is nothing more than the entire public domain text of Dracula. That is on top of 16 pages earlier in the book summarizing the novel for anyone without enough patience to read the whole thing. It’s clear that Barba at least feels that a deep understanding of the novel is essential to playing this game! He then caps it all off with a 42-page novella that retells the story of Dracula Unleashed in the style of the original novel. I did the math and only 23% of this book actually includes hints and walkthroughs for the game that it covers! Could that be a record?

Other than the math, I haven’t taken a deep dive at this book yet and will look at it more, just in case it has something interesting to say, once I am done. 

Dracula goes to the dentist?


DVD Remastered Edition

As previously mentioned, most of ICOM’s legacy properties were sold to Infinite Ventures in 1997, as Viacom New Media was winding down. That company both developed new sequels to their old games (such as 1999’s Shadowgate 64: Trials of the Four Towers) as well as re-released those old games on more modern platforms. Zojoi would do the same thing again in 2012. Everything old is new again!

For our purposes, the most important of these re-releases was a 2002 remaster of Dracula Unleashed. This release emphasized the “Interactive Movie” aspect of the production and sold directly for DVD players, no game system required. (How saved games and similar would work, I have no idea.) Despite my best efforts, I have been unable to find any copy of this title today although several streamers have recorded their playthroughs for YouTube. The two most recent auctions I found had the game selling for several hundred dollars! Reading through reviews however, it appears as if the video portions were remastered for a fullscreen (480p) experience. A few scenes may also be slightly different from how they appeared in the original, perhaps because some of the 1993 production material was unavailable or damaged. The DVD includes a few “deleted scenes” as well as a “Making Of” featurette. I’ll take a look at the deleted scenes and see if they warrant a special post, once I complete the game. 

Party like it’s 1899!

Introduction

Our game begins… with credits. Lots and lots of credits, for a very long time.

As the credits finally fade to black, the game jumps to the scene of a grave. The caption reads December 31, 1899. It’s the New Year's Eve of a new century! The grave reads Quincey Morris and he lived from 1865 to 1889. He was 34 years old when he died, ten years ago.

Someone approaches the grave. We don’t know who it is yet, but he seems agitated or distraught. (I’m guessing from the manual that this is our player character, Alexander Morris.) Quincey was always there for him and “even now, your friends have made me strong enough to carry out what I must do.” That is a mouthful! He kneels next to the grave, holding and cleaning a large knife. He monologues some more background: It was Father Janos who started him on his “agonizing task”, but now with the aid of Quincey’s allies he can “end this horrible scourge”. 

“So much has happened these past few days…”

A fancy dress party!


Bill Williamson, our handsome lead actor!


We flash back a few days, to December 27. Our lead is looking a lot happier, at a party or a social club of some kind. He’s introduced as “Mr. Alexander Morris” as expected. 

Alexander shakes hands with “Arthur” and thanks him for his kindness while he’s been in London. Arthur sponsored Alexander into this, London’s “most auspicious club”. Arthur was friends with Quincey and so extends that honor to his family connection. We also learn that the club is called the “Hades Club” which does not sound evil at all. They speak almost as if Quincey died recently, but it was ten years ago!  Arthur next introduces Alexander to Devlin Goldacre. (I originally wrote this as “Devlin Golddigger”, but used a cast list to fix the spelling.) The Hades Club appears to be his and Alexander again stresses what an honor it is for him to join.

We named our club after Hell! It’s so funny!

A man with an eastern European accent interrupts before Devlin can say any more. He reveals that the Morris brothers were both from Texas, but that London “doesn't have enough room” for both of them. (Again, there’s the implication that Quincey died more recently than ten years ago…) He presses Alexander on what brought him to London. Alexander reveals that he received a letter from a Romanian priest (Father Janos?) pressing him to investigate the circumstances of his brother’s death. The man says that there are many murders in the newspapers and dismisses Quincey’s death as being any more than that. The butler helpfully tells us that this is Leopold, a “Czechelslovakian”. (This appears to be an anachronism; there was no Czechelslovakian identity before 1918, only Czech or Slovak, as far as I am aware.) Alexander reveals that he isn’t as new to London as Arthur implied. He’s actually been in the city a number of months, but his investigation has been distracted since he met a woman named Anisette Bowen. They are recently engaged, but he had to pause his investigation of Quincey’s death when her father became ill. 

A butler hands Alexander a note. It’s from Mr. Bowen’s doctor. Regretfully, Anisette’s father has died of a heart attack. The doctor has sedated her now as well and asks that Alexander visit in the morning. Disturbed by the news, Alexander leaves the club to rest.

This isn’t foreshadowing at all.

Later that night, Alexander has a nightmare. He dreams that he is comforting Anisette with her father’s body still laying in bed, covered only by a sheet. They talk about arranging a burial, but Mr. Bowen rises suddenly and strangles Alexander from behind. He says that even in death he could not allow Alexander to take Anisette from him. But Anisette isn’t frightened: she just laughs and laughs, seeming to rejoice in Alexander’s suffering. 

Alexander wakes up and it’s the morning of December 28. We have four days until the grave scene, four days until this normal-seeming man starts sounding a bit crazy, standing by his brother’s grave wielding a knife. Let’s play!

The intro movie is over, it’s time to play!

Should I Re-read the Book?

I have a confession to make: I read Dracula a number of years ago, but I apparently do not remember it well. Watching the introduction, I did not remember that Quincey Morris was in the original book and undoubtedly am forgetting a lot more. It’s perhaps no accident that the hint book for the game devotes more pages to the original Dracula novel than it does the game that we’re about to play. Should I take that as a clue that I should re-read before I play? It’s not too long, but it might delay things by a few days.

Research for this post comes from the usual array of varied sources, but of special note is the “Behind the Scenes” featurette included in the 2002 DVD version of the game as well as Mike Plant’s 2020 interview by the “toothpicking” YouTube channel, a channel devoted to researching and discussing vampire fiction. Some of the video game history in that interview is more than questionable, but the interview with Mr. Plant is fantastic. 

Now, it’s time for you to guess the score! As of right now, ICOM Simulations games are averaging 42 points. Just looking at their more recent FMV games, they are averaging 56 points. Will this game be a horror classic or simply horrible? I cannot wait to find out.

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introductory post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 20 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.

31 comments:

  1. That's a great recap of the company and what they were trying to do at the time.

    Never played this one before, and seeing that the actual gameplay is made of some kind of unique pixel art instead of just FMVs, I would guess a 47.

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    1. The use of less FMV and more pixel art makes me think higher of the game. I'll guess 51.

      Ugh, do I hate FMV... if it had been developed NOW, when the computers were powerful enough to display high quality video at reasonable speeds, maybe it would have been better. But FMV games of that time had the quality severely reduced in order to meet the limitations of the systems of the time. I couldn't get into it.

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    2. Much like in Sherlock Holmes, they have to shrink the videos to postage stamp-size. Computers of the day were challenged to render full screen video very well.

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    3. Shrinking video to be viewed through a tiny in-universe window is a trick exploited throughout Myst, by the way.

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  2. When you talked about what the first point and click adventure was, that got me curious. Enchanted Scepters isn't really a point and click as we think of it, nor was it released before Deja Vu. It uses some kind of weird menu system that's not necessarily what we think of as PnCs. Interestingly, when I checked a Mac website about it, the description actually said that a Japanese game, Star Arthur Legend, was the first:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6HVjrlMHGs
    (crank that up, you really want to hear that AWESOME music that definitely isn't the most ear-shattering thing I've heard this week)
    I'm curious as to if Consulting Detective is the first FMV adventure game, but information on that seems to be harder to find.
    As to the DVD, while I haven't played that, I played the Consulting Detective DVD, which used a password system.
    Anyway, I'll guess 65. Despite the promise of bad special effects, this one looks like it'll be good.

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    1. This is worth investigating further. Documentation on old Mac games is sometimes sparse. I have often thought that "Deja Vu" was the first official point-and-click game, but it stands to reason that a more obscure Mac game might take that spot. I'm not completely positive on the release dates.

      Consulting Detective was certainly one of the first FMV games, but I'm not that sure about it being a "real" adventure game. By 1993, lots of games are incorporating video elements to a greater or lesser extent.

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    2. The source Wikipedia uses for the Macintosh's release date of Deja Vu says it was released in October '85, while the only release date for Enchanted Scepters seems to be November '85 with its supposed year of 1984 just being the copyright date. Its really close as-is though. Though given that Star Arthur came out first, the point is moot. Actually even if you don't want to count that one for whatever reason, there's La Souris Golotte on the Apple IIC, a game that looks interesting, and fun, but I'm more than happy to pass off to you if you were interested in the subject.
      (also, its worth pointing out that because of weird system quirks of early Macs, technically there might be something else that qualifies in a weird way)

      Was it? I went and checked and kind of? There were quite a few arcade games and people were digitizing actors before Consulting Detective, since Dragon's Lair was a thing then. Guess it depends on where you draw the line, sine I think there were like a dozen or so of those before it, even if all the games were historical relics at best.

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    3. Measuring these "firsts" is tricky and I probably made a mistake by bringing it up at all...

      My theory with point and click games is that the "first" will be one we probably haven't heard of. Maybe there's a long-forgotten Lisa game that 5 people played? It being a Mac game is a good theory just because of how mouse-centric the Mac was, but perhaps a PS/2 game with light pen support was made first? Those are clicks, right?

      As for FMV games, I should have said FMV adventures. There were earlier Laserdisc action games (such as "Dragon's Lair"), but Sherlock Holmes feels like the first narrative FMV game. Maybe we'll discover that is not the case.

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    4. Yeah, I understand, I do find it an interesting subject though. Even if my own definitions of what's first don't always line up with others.
      That sounds like a good theory, and its actually something I've noticed in the past with other firsts. They're usually obscure, and there's usually a reason why its obscure. Being on a hard to find platform like that is a very good reason.

      Fair enough there, in that case I don't know of anything that proceeds it. Anything that does exist is probably not in English anyway.

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    5. Torbjörn Andersson18 October 2022 at 01:58

      "Enchanted Scepters isn't really a point and click as we think of it, nor was it released before Deja Vu. It uses some kind of weird menu system that's not necessarily what we think of as PnCs."

      As I recall it, the World Builder games were basically illustrated text adventures where certain commands could optionally be executed with the mouse. I think it was even possible to do some things by clicking on the object in the picture, but I wouldn't call them point-and-click adventures.

      Funnily enough, I stumbled over a DOS adventure called "Grailquest". After playing it for a little bit, I thought "these sound effects are just like the old World Builder games". I later found out that the Mac version really was a World Builder game.

      (I never played it past the beginning, though.)

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    6. I have a soft spot for FMV, particularly janky early FMV (though I greatly lament that we live in the timeline where FMV experiments happened early enough that it will always be remembered as a failed experiment and is unlikely to ever be pursued with serious vigor as the "future of games" again). I'm quite sure that at one point, I saw a game which used some limited FMV despite being an EGA or CGA product. The video clips were extremely short, a small window, and halftone dithered, probably the GRASP format, but they were clearly digitized from a live-action source. Can't for the life of me remember the name of the game. It came to me on a CD-ROM full of ancient shovelware years after the fact.

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    7. Well, I do see recent attempts at reviving the FMV genre over the past half decade. Though I doubt any are very good and most seem to fall into the same flaws that the genre did originally, making them "non-games" so to speak, rather than anything more interesting. (not counting games with actors as sprites/digitized actors, since those are different)

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  3. Never heard of this one, I'll randomly guess 52.

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  4. Interesting introduction! I'll guess 52.

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  5. I only know of this game due to the (hilarious) long play done for Retsupurae.

    Anyway, my guess is 43.

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  6. It's been a couple of years since I've read Bram Stoker's original novel Dracula, but if I recall correctly, Quincy Morris was usually just referred to as "The American" (or an American) most of the time and was more of a Side-Charakter, one of the three potential suitors of Lucy. He played a role in the final outcome, but he wasn't one of the major players, so it's interesting that the game focuses on him when it comes to its protagonist. Maybe it's because ICOM was US?

    Anyways, might be one of the better interactive movies. My guess is it's a straight 50.

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    1. That is how I remember Mr Morris too. I wouldn't bother rereading the whole thing, it's a classic for sure but can go on about nothing for a long while, I think a summary will do.

      And I will guess 45,horror is usually more hit than miss. Here's to hoping I'm wrong!

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    2. Wasn't Quincy played by Cary Elwes in Coppola's adaptación?

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    3. Quincy Morris was played by Billy Campbell. I think that Cary Elwes played Arthur Holmwood.

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  7. a good choice for October, I'll guess 44.

    I read Dracula a few years back, I found it to be pretty good. It's not particularly long, but I wouldn't want to put extra work on your shoulders. I am of course a big fan of the Francis Ford Coppola movie though, in all it's star-studded glory (even if some stars were a little more wooden than others!), perhaps that would make for an alternative way to refresh your mind on the characters (although the story is told quite differently).

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    1. Couple of funny things about that movie, its actually closer to the original novel in a lot of ways that other movies are not. Yeah, they added in a love subplot among other things, but a lot of the important story beats are exactly the same as the novel. The other is that the novelization writer later on, when the Frankenstein film was coming out, wanted to do the novelization of that film. So it would be "Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, from the author of Bram Stoker's Dracula".

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  8. Hey guys, why is Beyond Shadowgate outside of your scope? Is it because it's a Turbografx CD exclusive game? And therefore a console exclusive graphic adventure? (I mention this because several games are exclusive for non-PC computers).

    If "only computer games" is the unbreakable rule that will keep this blog from reviewing Beyond Shadowgate and other games such as the Mega Drive graphic adventure with the little alien or the game about dragons for the Playstation, I must say I don't see any real reason to do so (I personally would have found much more coherent to use a "only games where you don't have to type", but that rule is constantly being broken since several years ago because "those games are classics").

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    1. I think the "PC only" rule came about because Trickster (original author of this blog) wanted to avoid learning multiple emulators. I have some concern too because I'd be interested in e.g. Snatcher as a mainline game (its non-console versions have incomplete story, and there's an English release from 1994).

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    2. Yeah, it's a Trickster rule based on the old CRPGAddict rule that he was emulating when he started the site. There's no *need* for us to keep it except that we're still working off of (mostly) his original game list which we have added to from time to time. There are no non-DOS games on the mainline list.

      This is "our" Guild and we can do what we like. We've long since punted the DOS-only rule (though in truth, there are almost no non-DOS computer adventure games past 1993 so it doesn't change the list) and we do many non-DOS "Missed Classics".

      I firmly expect that we will play "Beyond Shadowgate" as a Missed Classic at some point. I'd do it myself, but I'm over-committed as-is and we'd mostly rather see people help us advance the main list. That could be our first non-computer game officially (and considering ICOM's well-deserved place in gaming history, a very good choice). I have a different console game I'm looking at related to other games we are playing, but I have not yet determined if it's enough of an adventure to get a full writeup.

      (I'd also like to see us revisit the Mac versions of the early ICOM adventures. The DOS versions are ugly as hell.)

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    3. "only games where you don't have to type"

      THAT rule was broken since the second game of the blog (King's Quest).

      To be more serious, I concur with Joe that our rules have been rather fluid, especially with the Missed Classics (we try to maintain a stricter policy with the mainline games, just to create some order to the blog). If one of our reviewers is interested and has time to do a console adventure game as MC, I don't see why we couldn't publish it.

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    4. I guess .. non computer games could be played as "Missed entries", or "bonus entries", or something. Snatcher should be a must for this blog

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    5. I just want to say something. Unless at some point Ilmari or Joe say to me, no you can't do that, I will absolutely play some console games at some point. Not necessarily Beyond Shadowgate, since I haven't actually played the original yet. But much like Japanese computer adventures, I plan on reaching those someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
      That said, this conversation brings up something I've already been thinking about...that is, playing different versions of games already covered. TBH, some ports are practically different games from what I've seen, at least as different as some games that have their own numbers unique to the original game. I'm thinking like the NES port of Uninvited and the SMS abomination against god and man that is King's Quest.
      (btw, if that does become a series, Ports of Peril or whatever my write-up on the Japanese version of The Count should retroactively be considered entry 1)

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    6. You could also simply create a new category called Console Classics or the like, I don't think anyone will mind. Although I am vastly disappointed to learn that SMS King's Quest is for Sega Master System and not Short Message Service, I would still like to read that review!

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  9. I read Dracula two or three times and I really liked it, more than Coppola's adaptation. On the other hand, I prefer Kenneth Brannagh's adaptation of Frankestein to the original source. Anyways, I wonder, now that we are approaching the FMV era, how are you guys going to rate the graphics categorie in the Pissed ratings? On the other other hand, the categorie of dialogue and acting should be more interesting to rate I think

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  10. Seeing Part 1 go up, I realised I missed the Introduction and quickly jumped back to read it. I'm with Michael - I abhor FMV, and can't see an early proponent of the genre being any good despite the pedigree of the developer. I'm going with 46.

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