“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” – a Sub-Par ‘Castlevania Clone’

As a kid, I remember getting this game on the Super Nintendo and thinking that it would be really fun. I loved the Castlevania series of games, so pretty much anything with Dracula in the title was appealing to me. On a basic level, I felt the game was decent and had some core similarities to Konami’s beloved series, but at the same time, it’s a game I never managed to finish.

Let’s start this off by saying that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a game based somewhat on a 1992 film that was loosely based on the 1897 classic. The game actually came out on several platforms. The Game Boy version of the game is said to be one of the worst games ever released on that handheld, and the NES version is just…Odd (though some seem to enjoy it!). The versions seen though on the 16-bit consoles are similar in many ways, though they vary a bit in terms of graphical power and sound quality.

The SNES version (which is what I am familiar with) has a good soundtrack and pretty good graphics for 1993, but the game itself falls apart by having pretty much no story (it’s essentially an arcade-style action-platformer) and being unfairly hard in places. I’m not whining about poor enemy placement (though the game suffers from that too), but rather stuff like traps you just have no way of knowing are there until they hurt/kill you that first time. The hit box for Harker is pretty severe, too, which adds to the challenge. The bosses, though, are fairly easy and have very strict patters and pretty much no A.I., so for the most part, once you figure out the little tricks, the bosses are no threat to you at all (not even Dracula’s final form, which is weird enough and makes very little sense).

Thanks to the magic of save-states, I managed to do a complete playthrough of this game. It didn’t take all that long, really, and it was mildly entertaining. Is it a game that I would recommend for you to play? No, not really. It has its moments, but it really doesn’t stand far enough above anything else to give it my stamp of approval. Honestly, it’s one that I’d just watch a video of (like this one!) and then move on. 😛

Jessica Brown

Retro Games and Technology Editor. She'll beat pretty much every Mega Man game without breaking a sweat.