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Bram Stoker's Dracula: What Did Critics Say in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on October 03, 2014   |   Episode 103 (Show Archive)  

   

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Sega CD)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

We continue our month-long journey through spooky 8- and 16-bit games with Bram Stoker's Dracula, which many magazines deemed the first "next generation" game for the Sega CD. Did this full-motion video/action hybrid deliver the goods, or was this yet another Dracula game that sucked? We dig through old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Sega Visions and Mean Machines Sega for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the reviews. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. For more details and answers to common questions, we encourage you to read the Review Crew FAQ. There you'll find information on review guidelines, how we convert scores, magazine covers and more.)

Bram Stoker's Dracula
[ Company: Sony Imagesoft | Console: Sega CD ]

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #54
6 out of 10

"Is this the next generation? Hard to tell. The full screen cinemas are totally blurry, and difficult to tell what they are. I like the concept of this game a lot, but the actual game needs work. The rendered backgrounds are fantastic, and the screen transfers are unbelievable. The endless supply of bats and birds (both nearly impossible to hit) don't give the title justice. It just isn't as fun as I had hoped." -Ed Semrad

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #10
51% out of 100%

"Despite a few inherent flaws, this video pinball is a blast to play! Beautiful graphic presentation and sophisticated music kept me enthralled for hours. Lots of secret bonuses and bonus rounds enhance play. For ALL ages!" -Sushi X

GAMEPRO (February 1994)
2.5 out of 5

"Despite the potential for a gruesomely good time, you're really sticking your neck out with this monotonous game. Bram Stoker's timeless novel deserves a great treatment, but, unfortunately, this isn't it. The CD game only makes you hungry for a nice stake. Slow, repetitive gameplay and disappointing graphics make the CD version the worst of '93's Dracula games." -Lance Boyle

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #54
5 out of 10

"Two pinball games from the same company for the same system? While this version is definitely better with a lot more features and animations it still is pinball. Great sounds and bonus founds add to the game play." -Ed

SEGA VISIONS #17
2 out of 5

"Bram Stoker's Dracula from Sony Imagesoft for the Sega CD is graphically spectacular. This long-awaited one-player title gives you plenty of great cut scenes from the movie of the same name and, in the later stages of the game, some of the best background rotation to land on the Sega CD. If you like linear punch-and-kick action, you'll love this game because that's largely what the game gives you."
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 49% - It's important to remember the context when talking about Bram Stoker's Dracula. While Sony Imagesoft (which would later become 989 Studios) published the game on other 16-bit platforms, it was the Sega CD version that everybody was talking about. Die Hard Game Fan, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and so many other magazines devoted months of coverage to what was admittedly a very cool looking game. The end result? Disaster.

If it's not clear from these reviews, Bram Stoker's Dracula was a horrible game filled with some of the worst side-scrolling action on any system. Sega Visions sums it up perfectly: "If you like linear punch-and-kick action, you'll love this game because that's largely what the game gives you."

Other critics were right to point out the ridiculousness of the game. Sushi-X got a big laugh out of "punching birds and bats," which is completely at odds with the tone of the film. And pretty much everybody agreed that the full-screen cinemas were ugly and hard to make out. With all these complaints, it's easy to see why Bram Stoker's Dracula only averaged a score of 49%.

ON THE NEXT REVIEW CREW: Next week we look at three Castlevania games, starting with Dracula's Curse on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Were critics excited about the first appearance of Alucard, or was everybody sick and tired of Castlevania? Find out on Monday when the Review Crew tackles Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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