Monday 6 March 2023

Dracula Unleashed - She’s Still Dead

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Dracula Unleashed! Last time out, I survived the third night at great cost. Juliet was murdered in her sleep and Anisette was nearly so. Alexander was thrown out of Anisette’s house so that Professor van Helsing and Dr. Seward could try to save her with an emergency blood transfusion. I’m not satisfied with that answer. With even our journal telling us what a colossal mistake we’ve made, I must assume that there is a way to keep Juliet alive. I thus restored to the beginning of the day and prepared to go through it all again and again to find things that I missed. 

Unfortunately, narrating this is challenging. I spend the next couple hours progressing randomly, trying things that usually fail, and occasionally finding something that doesn’t. When I’m playing text adventures, I think of this work as the gaps between the paragraphs and I fear I come off as being particularly clever instead of just skipping over the boring “throw everything against the wall” portions. That will be the way here too as I provide you the eureka-filled view of what had been hours of fun but frustrating play.

I found an expert in Eastern European cloth!

As I played through again, one of the notes that struck me was Briarcliffe’s excitement at seeing the antique white cloth on the second day, mixed with his suggestion in his return telegram that I seek out an expert to tell me more. He was supposed to be the expert! I proceeded to take the cloth to various locations to try to find an answer, but that didn’t help. On playing again however, I realized that I did not take the cloth with me when I visited Mr. Stranzikowski at the Hades Club. Why not? Because I had visited that scene early in the morning and the return telegram (with the cloth) didn’t come until several hours later. Could I be missing other scenes where I need to do things in a specific order? That is always a possibility. Usually scenes are only available for a few hours so delaying is a bad idea. 

I deliver the cloth to Stranzikowski and trigger the “be a good chap and bring a shovel, Leopold” speech that I discussed last time. We no longer get his crazy lamentations, but instead he recognizes the cloth immediately. If anything, it fuels his drunken rage as he yells that this cloth was part of the dress that his wife was buried in. He accuses Alexander of having stolen it and leaps at Alexander but is pulled back thanks to the assistance of the unnamed Hades Club members. All of his theorizing that his wife isn’t really dead seem to click for him and he races out of the club screaming, “I’m coming, Ilyiana!” This tells us so much. The third Woman in White then is probably his wife and possibly responsible for both Anisette and Juliet’s turns as “bloofer ladies”. Given my dream of the three of them working together, that fits. But how does that tie into Horner and Goldacre? Were they trying to revive Ilyiana to help their friend? Or did that happen earlier? I don’t get it yet.

When I return to the Hades Club later in the day, I see Stranzikowski sleeping in his usual chair. I assume then that he didn’t find her or that he did and this will change a scene later. 

Just take a look, it’s in a book!

Continuing on my theme of delivering objects into scenes that I’ve already found, I also discover that we can take the magical book into our conversation with Professor van Helsing at the pub. As in the previous version of the scene, van Helsing is drowning his near-death experience at the hands of Renfield in a stiff drink. Alexander tells him that he is the strongest among us and he agrees to have a meeting later that night at Jonathan Harker’s place. When I bring the book into the scene, Alexander shows it to him as he is beginning to despair. He recognizes it immediately and agrees that it could be a clue to what is happening in the city. He asks that we bring it to Harker’s meeting later that night.

This doesn’t change much at all, we don’t get any new items or locations, but it hints at what we already knew to bring to the meeting to ensure our survival. (If we don’t bring the book, the meeting ends without conclusion and I’m killed by the Demeter Wolf.) Not a hugely important scene, but one that I missed before. 

I really hate it when old media portray evil people as gay.

I discovered those two scenes fairly quickly in my re-explorations before sitting down to review my notes. On the third day, we had found no scenes either at Harker’s office nor the bookshop. Given that our previous trip to the store involved burglary, it seemed wise to not return to the scene of the crime. That wisdom seems well-placed.

When we arrive at the store, Alexander is as subtle as a brick. He strides in and yells across the room at Horner for a book about vampires. Horner’s whole disposition changes immediately, dropping the books that he was shelving and turning around to sneer at Alexander. He asks us for our name and seems to have a moment of realization when he hears the name “Morris”. 

“Well, Mr. Morris, I would advise you to leave such things which do not concern you well enough alone. Those who unearth such things often end up in the earth.”

His look of almost gleeful anger is more than enough for Alexander to interpret the remark as a direct threat. The scene ends. I check if we can get a different response using an item, but I do not find one quickly or an item that seems to fit well with the circumstances. I am disappointed by this as I liked the character so much more when he was Mr. Goldacre’s gay partner and charming occult bookshop owner, but now we find that he’s just well-dressed evil. I hope we discover some nuance to his character as we get closer to solving what is bringing Dracula back.

It’s a great book! You should publish it.

I try Harker’s office off and on all day, but am never able to trigger a new scene there. In the previous two days, most locations had two scenes that we could trigger at different times. I spend some time experimenting to visit places earlier or later to find alternate scenes. In this way, I discovered that we can bring Jonathan’s journal back to him in the morning before the funeral. 

This triggers a very nice scene between the two men as much of the antagonism that dominated Harker’s personality has fallen away as he now sees Alexander as a kindred spirit who has also suffered loss at the hands of the undead. There isn’t much to say about the scene and it also doesn’t open up any new objects or locations (though I do lose the journal), but it’s a nice talk that is well done. Jonathan confides in Alexander that he fears that his journal isn’t done yet and there are still “pages to be written” in the story of Dracula. 

The original Dracula hunting gang together again.

Ouch! I have a splinter!

None of those scenes change the ending in any way. No matter how many times I play through, I always fall asleep and Julia is always murdered. This triggers the idea that I should perhaps sleep first, then go over to her house. In this game, going home to rest seems to take at least six hours. Instead of doing any exploration after the 6:00 PM meeting, I immediately race home. This triggers a new dream sequence that appears to be the climax of the original Dracula: Quincey Morris, Professor van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and Jonathan Harker enter a dark tomb carrying lanterns. They descend to a central area with a coffin. They open it, but inside is not Dracula: it is Alexander Morris. They pound a wooden stake into Alexander’s heart as he wakes screaming. 

Despite my brilliance in thinking of that idea– and the game designers also crafting yet another dream sequence for it– the scene plays out as before. Since I'm not tired, there must be magic involved. I am able to explore the city in the middle of the night before taking my turn to watch over Anisette, but nothing is open. At one point, we are arrested (!!) for prowling around the university late at night, but we’re released a few hours later and this doesn’t seem to have an impact. I suppose it makes sense that the police are now being extra careful as there is a murderer on the loose. If I try to cheat by never going to Anisette all night, I am eventually killed by a different Woman in White, presumably Ilyiana. 

Just taking a late night stroll, officer.

But that’s it. Despite my best efforts, I do not find any other scenes or sequences and no way to save Juliet. I’ll assume (at least for now) that her death is a scripted event. (You have no idea how close I was to naming this post “Saving Aeris”. I still might.) I’m still deeply suspicious that I missed something in the cemetery on the previous night and that could be the key to everything, but I still find no way in and don’t want to play the game over from scratch to try to see if I missed an event even earlier. The few other times where we had our journal tell us that we were a moron, there was a way to “fix” it. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

I spend the last bit before wrapping up this post to do a clean play-through of the third day while triggering all events. I did not include the visit with the police as I am unable to find it again. It could be a random event, though I hardly want to consider that I could be missing something because of randomness.  Here is the schedule that I built for myself:

  • Woke at 6:05 AM. It’s still too early to do anything so I hang around outside Anisette’s door until 7:00.
  • Visit Anisette to see Juliet becoming more ill and Goldacre at her side. When Anisette gives Juliet her cross, she throws it away in pain.
  • Deliver the magical book to the University for analysis. Briarcliffe takes notes and promises to send me a telegram with his results later.
  • Grab the morning paper at the Newsstand to find out about the new murders and the personal ad by “Lucy”.
  • Return the journal to Jonathan at the Harker Residence. We get a pleasant heart-to-heart talk. 
  • Attend Andrew Bowen’s funeral at the Cemetery
  • Follow Dr. Seward and Professor van Helsing to the Asylum to check up on Renfield’s diminishing condition. I bring the blackjack to prevent van Helsing’s murder. 
  • Visit the Bookshop to be threatened by Mr. Horner after asking about vampires. 
  • Attend the post-funeral reception at Holmwood’s Home
  • Find Professor van Helsing at the Saucy Jack and show him the magic book. 
  • Return Home to get Briarcliffe’s telegram and the return of the white cloth.
  • Show the cloth to Mr. Stranzikowski at the Hades Club. He recognizes it as his wife’s and runs off. 
  • Have an important meeting at the Harker’s Home. If I bring and show them the magic book, they are convinced and agree to stop Dracula together. Immediately after leaving, I am attacked by a wolf and rescued by Professor van Helsing.
  • Sleep at Home to dream about being staked. 
  • Finally go to Anisette’s Home to fall asleep and allow Juliet to be killed. That is the end of the third day.

That’s a pretty full day, but still feels like I am missing something. It’s possible that the next post will be “Won!”, if the game is only four days long and I make it through in one pass. Wish me luck.

Time played: 2 hr 15 min
Total time: 16 hr 20 min
Inventory: Father Janos’s card, “AHM” handkerchief, picture of Anisette, “London Museum Guide” book, Anisette’s prescription, “Tales of Evil” book, Jonathan Harker’s business card, blackjack, Bowie knife, Van Helsing’s card, book by Byron, gold coin, Goldacre’s keys, mysterious book, wolfsbane, white cloth

Still a failure.


  1. There wasn't as much to say this time so I hope no one minds that I finished up and published it a few days early. This is my shortest post since 2019. Thanks to everyone that (probably correctly) pointed out that Juliet dying was a scripted event that I couldn't avoid, but I couldn't help but to go and try to find a way anyway.

  2. I appreciate the amount of replaying days you've done! Although the time-of-day stuff is interesting, I can't help but feel it must be a bit frustrating. I assume there won't be too many more days?

    1. It's a mix of frustrating and satisfying to get everything and in the right order (which entails being careful with travel times between locations) and seeing the "whole" picture, assuming I'm not missing too much. You can skip the videos if you've seen them before, though you have to be careful because sometimes the change is in the middle of a scene and you can miss it.

      There is one more game day after this and I was just recently able to win. A LOT happens on the final day however and I'm not sure whether I can fit it in one post of a reasonable size. We'll see once I start writing.

  3. Sorry about the offtopic, but... Has anyone played the new Colossal Cave game from Roberta Williams? The reviews are very mixed.


    By creators of Myst, in case some don't know.