Vampyre Story PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.5
Graphics 6.0
Sound 8.0
Value 7.0
Developer: QVS
Review Date:
April 2009
Reviewer:
Jamie Kirk

7.1


Vampyre Story
 

The point and click adventure genre was once a burgeoning industry. The Monkey Island series, Sam and Max and well, pretty much every LucasArts adventure were critical darlings, and fared well commercially. Combining interesting stories, laugh out loud dialogue, and intriguing puzzles, what could go wrong? Something did, and the adventure game died a slow painful death. In the face of graphically intensive FPS and RTS games, the adventure went by unnoticed, and soon enough they werenít being made any more. The brilliant Grim Fandango attempted to bring things back, but instead turned out to be the swansong for original Lucas Arts adventures, going by unnoticed despite the shrieking of games journalists everywhere.
 

 

The golden age team of LucasArts developers are long gone. Bill Tiller, who worked on Monkey Island, and the Indiana Jones games, decided to have another crack and point and click with his own studio, and the result is A Vampyre Story. The game follows opera singer Mona DeLaffite, who has been turned into a vampire and imprisoned in a castle by the evil Shrowdy von Kiefer. With the help of her bat sidekick Froderick, Mona aims to get out of the castle and make her way back to Paris to continue her career.
 
The game is a traditional point and click adventure, so there are no state of the art graphics here. That being said it does contain nice hand painted backgrounds, and an interestingly stylised cartoon look. There is nothing that is going to chew at the power of your processor, and nothing particularly impressive. Still they do a nice enough job of servicing the atmosphere of the game. Speaking of atmosphere, special mention should be made of the soundtrack. The backing music is very well composed, and fits the old school gothic mood. Sometimes the music takes centre stage, other times it remains a haunting background piece. Either way it is obvious that a lot of care has been put into the composition of the soundtrack. It makes you wish the voice acting was a little better. While mostly serviceable some of the acting gets very annoying and has you reaching for the volume slider. The main perpetrator is Mona herself, who you have to listen to for the entire game. Her voice alternates between sweet and sexy, to bad French cartoon parody.
 


Gameplay wise it plays as you would expect if you have ever played a point and click before. Mercifully there are shortcut keys to skip the slow walking animations and to skip to the next screen, which should help those who have become too impatient from years of fast paced death matching. Dialogue can also be skipped too if you want to get on with it. The dialogue itself is in the vein of old Lucas Arts games, attempting to inject some humour into its storyline. The results are hit and miss. It doesnít nearly reach the lofty heights of Monkey Island, but it is occasionally amusing and packed with pop culture references. Films, celebrities, and even the odd LucasArts mention crop up during conversation, which helps the flow of the sometimes overlong conversations. The rapport between Froderick and Mona is also hit and miss. It can be amusing, and is also quite sweet, but some of the dialogue is cringe inducing. Itís no Sam and Max, but itís better than the standard sidekick banter.

The puzzles are actually quite interesting and for the most part work very well. It isnít a game that constantly requires a strategy guide just to progress, as most can be figured out with a little thinking. That being said there are the occasional ones that will leave you scratching your head, and finding out the solution will leave you no clearer as to how it was supposed to ever work. One more small gripe must be attributed to the inventory system. Sometimes when Mona needs something, she wonít actually put it in her inventory, instead saying she will save it for later. This puts a thought in the inventory instead, so when it is applicable she can go back and use it. I suppose this was done to cut down on the clutter, but instead just adds needless cutscenes of Mona backtracking.

 


A Vampyre Story also only includes two real locations to explore, the castle and the town outside. While both areas are quite large, it still makes the game feel a bit confined. I suppose this has to do with the games episodic format, as it also ends on a cliffhanger. Monaís story doesnít seem like itís anywhere near being resolved, so hopefully the game will encounter enough success to justify its concluding chapters.

Overall A Vampyre Story is a decent game. Some may find it slow paced, some may not see the humour in the conversations, but as a call back to classic adventure games there is little else available. Fortunately for fans of the genre, things could be a lot worse. Itís playable, entertaining, and has a fairly interesting story. Hopefully the second episode can build on this good start, and maybe rejuvenate a classic genre..






 
 



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