Computer Gamer

Vampire Castle

Publisher: Micrograf
Machine: BBC Model B

Published in Computer Gamer #2

Vampire Castle

Vampire Castle begins with haunting organ music played throughout the loading sequence, very different to the Hornpipe in Flint's Gold. Whilst loading is being completed, and the music is playing, a large green skull with glowing red eyes sits glaring at you from one end of the screen.

After a while, the music diminishes in volume until it finally dies altogether. But it returns at full volume the minute the program starts running. It made me jump out of my skin but I suppose that was the general idea.

The insert card recommends that you play this game with all the lights on due to its rather frightening content, so it is obvious that they are out to scare you.

Vampire Castle

The scenario tells of peace-loving villagers living in a valley somewhere in the remote part of the countryside.

But one day their peace was disturbed and they awoke to find some of their sheep and cattle massacred. The traps they set were never sprung and they constantly hunted wolves but to no avail. Then one of the villagers mysteriously disappeared without warning.

This disappearance terrified the villagers and they searched everywhere to find the missing person but had no luck. That night, eerie organ music penetrated the village and blood-curdling screams were heard. As they rushed out into the night, they glimpsed a shadowy human figure making its way toward the derelict castle.

Vampire Castle

Count Dracula had returned to spread evil on the land and suck the blood of the valley dry. You volunteer yourself to go and rid the village of this monster. The adventure begins.

You find yourself outside the castle. Getting in is surprisingly easy but, once inside, I can assure you it is no picnic. You must always be ready to read between the lines and to solve the clues that you are given. Use your common sense and you will realise that since the game runs on a time principle, some tasks will have to be completed at night and others during the day.

The passage of game time is determined by the number of moves you make and every time you pass a big block you will see displayed the number of moves left till midnight. When midnight arrives a large bell will appear and ring very loudly. You then fall asleep. I found it very strange tht when I played the game the bell rang for midnight no less than three times but the sun rose only once, well I suppose that adds to the peculiarities of the game.

Vampire Castle

Sound effects frequently punctuate moves here and there and graphics intervene every so often too. Both the sound effects and the graphics are highly original and very entertaining.

Organ music reappears here and there too and when you die a very appropriate quick rendition of the funeral march fills the air as a bat swoops around triumphantly since you have failed in your task.

Dracula is a rather shady character who is never around and surprisingly you never even catch a glimpse of him until the very final section of the adventure (if you get that far). That is also the part of the adventure where the sun rises and you see the light (to coin a phrase).

Vampire Castle

Even though you hardly ever see Dracula, you do find an awful lot of his servants positioned around the castle, werewolves, bats, guard dogs and even Igor. The Elephant Man turns up for the party too, rather out of place if you ask me and God knows what he has to do with Dracula!

Before you start, you are warned of "fates worth than death!" Enough to put anyone off such a mammoth task as this, but we all have our crosses to bear and this is yours. Of course, to kill Dracula you will have to know how to kill a vampire, but this is generally common knowledge anyway.

Vampire Castle is an intriguing adventure game from Micrograf which costs £6.95 on cassette and £9.95 on disc. Full of original puzzles and riddles, it makes for excellent playing. Very enjoyable.