Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary
The Last Sanctuary
|Developer(s)||Wanadoo, Canal+ Multimedia (Windows, Mac)
Visual Impact (PS)
Tetraedge Games (iOS, OS X re-release)
|Publisher(s)||DreamCatcher Interactive (Windows, Mac, PS)
Microïds (iOS, OS X re-release)
|Writer(s)||Jacques Simian, François Villard|
Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary (originally released as Dracula: The Last Sanctuary) is a 2000 horror point-and-click adventure video game developed by Wanadoo and Canal+ Multimedia, and published by DreamCatcher Interactive for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. It was converted to PlayStation by Visual Impact in 2002. The game was re-released for iOS and OS X in 2012, and for Android in 2013. The new version was developed by Tetraedge Games and published by Microïds. Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary is a direct sequel to Dracula: Resurrection, which itself is an unofficial sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula; set seven years after the end of the novel, Jonathan Harker finds that he must once again do battle with the evil Count Dracula.
A third game, with an unrelated storyline, followed in 2008; Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon. A loose sequel to Path of the Dragon was released in a two-part form in 2013; Dracula 4: The Shadow of the Dragon and Dracula 5: The Blood Legacy.
The game is played from a first-person perspective with the direction in which the player is facing controlled by the mouse. On each static screen, the player is free to look around 360o. The game's interface is very simple; there is no HUD, instead the player has access to an inventory in which all items are stored. To speak to people or interact with objects, the player must click on them with the pointer. As the player moves the pointer around the screen it can change to an arrow (meaning the player can move in that direction), a magnifying glass (meaning the player can inspect something in more detail), a cog (meaning the player must use an item on the object), a cog with a hand (meaning the player can operate the object without using an item) or a hand (meaning the player can pick the item up). When the player clicks on a person to whom they wish to speak, a list of conversation topics appear on screen in the form of small icons. The most often encountered symbol in the game is the cog. When the player encounters a cog, they must enter their inventory and select an item. If it is the correct item to operate the object, the item will appear in a green circle instead of the cog icon. If it is the incorrect item, the cog icon will remain.
The 2012 iOS version developed by Tetraedge Games adds several new features to the gameplay, such as an autosave, an optional help feature, which highlights interactive zones on each screen, and a "Compass Look" feature which utilises the iDevice accelerometer controls for looking around.
The game opens with the final scene from Resurrection; Jonathan Harker (voiced by David Gasman) rescuing his wife Mina (Gay Marshall) from Dracula's castle and vowing to defeat the Count once and for all upon returning to London. Harker has come to realise that Dracula called Mina to Transylvania precisely so Harker would follow her. Upon arriving in the Borgo Pass, Dracula knew that Harker would uncover the Dragon Ring, which Dracula himself could not do as it had been placed under the protection of Saint George. Harker then brought the ring to the castle just as Dracula had planned. Once Harker arrived in the castle, Dracula had instructed his brides to kill him and take the ring, but instead, Harker was able to rescue Mina and escape, with the ring still in his possession.
As the game begins, Dracula (Alan Wenger) tells one of his servants in London that the setback of Harker rescuing Mina will shortly be remedied. Meanwhile, Harker has left the Dragon Ring with Dr. Seward (Paul Barrett), and has decided to visit Dracula's former London home, Carfax Abbey. In the house, Harker finds a dead body, with a nametag inscribed "Pibody". He is then attacked by a group of bat-like humanoids. He manages to destroy them and then heads to Seward's insane asylum. Seward tells Harker that he has discovered Dracula has purchased a cinema in London called The Styx. He also informs him that part of the Dragon Ring is missing - a diamond at its centre which is said to counteract the evil of the outer ring. In an effort to determine how to proceed against Dracula, Seward puts Mina under hypnosis and she describes the nearby Highgate Cemetery. Harker tells Seward of the dead body in Carfax and Seward says Pibody was a private investigator he himself hired, and who had recently been investigating some strange goings on at Highgate. As such, Harker heads to the cemetery. There, he meets Pibody, now a vampire. Harker kills him and then observes Dracula entering a nearby tomb. He attempts to follow, but a light is omitted from a series of nearby stone gargoyles, and Harker is rendered unconscious.
He wakes up the next day and heads back to the asylum to find Mina and Seward have been taken by Dracula. Harker finds Mina's wedding ring on the ground, and in Seward's safe he finds the Dragon Ring and correspondence between Seward and a colleague with whom he had been consulting. Seward's colleague had found a 15th-century book which details the rivalry between Vlad Tepes and his younger brother Radu. When their father, Dracul, died, he left the Dragon Ring to Radu on the advice of his magician, Dorko. Tepes was furious and locked Radu in his castle, splitting the ring into two, hiding the diamond and keeping the outer ring for himself. Tepes then had a monk, Thadeus, build a "Last Sanctuary" deep within the castle to which Dracula could retreat in times of crisis. According to the book, to reach the sanctuary one must pass through three rooms filled with traps. However, the book is incomplete, with no information on two of the rooms. Harker then gives the Dragon Ring to Hopkins (Steve Gadler), a patient in the asylum who had befriended Mina. In return, Hopkins gives Harker a pair of glasses which allow people to see like vampires.
Harker heads to The Styx, but is knocked unconscious by Dracula. He awakens in Dracula's room in Transylvania. Dracula tells him he will spare his life if Harker reveals where the Dragon Ring is, but Harker refuses. Dracula then leaves, promising Harker a slow death. Shortly thereafter, Hopkins arrives and releases Harker. When Harker leaves the room, he realises he is still in The Styx; he was locked in a set made up to look like Dracula's room. As he explores the building he encounters Seward, who is turning into a vampire. Seward tells Harker he must destroy Carfax, whilst he himself will remain behind and destroy The Styx, leaving Dracula nowhere to hide. A heartbroken Harker leaves, and Seward blows up The Styx, killing himself before he turns into a vampire.
In Carfax Abbey, Harker sets fire to the building and then heads to Highgate, where he finds a note from Hopkins telling him how to access Dracula's tomb. Hopkins has also returned the Dragon Ring. Harker enters the tomb and inside meets Dracula, who tells him he is returning to Transylvania with Mina. Harker follows, unsure if he can possibly defeat the Count and concerned as to whether or not Dorko will prove to be an ally.
He returns to the mines which he had previously used to enter the castle. Using dynamite to blow a hole in the wall, he finds himself in an ancient prison in which he finds the skeletal remains of Radu's chamberlain and a note written in unusual letters. Upon further exploration, Harker finds Radu's diamond. He then heads to the castle, where he again meets Dorko. She tells him she knows where Mina is, but Harker has no chance of saving her. He asks her about the note he found on the chamberlain, and Dorko explains that many of the doors in the castle are sealed with pentagrams. The note says that the only way to remove these pentagrams is with a golden cross which commemorated the burial of a knight from the Order of St. George. Radu hid the cross so Dracula could not destroy it, but the note explains how to find it. Harker also shows her Radu's diamond. She tells him that she can reassemble the Dragon Ring, but before she does so she is stabbed by one of Dracula's brides. As she dies, she tells Harker he must restore the ring and defeat Dracula. Harker uses the chamberlain's note to find the cross, which he then uses to unlock a number of doors and hidden passages. He then works his way through various traps before taking a cable car to Dracula's keep.
Upon arriving, a gypsy attacks Harker, but Hopkins appears and saves him, sacrificing his own life. As he dies, Hopkins gives Harker the key to the Last Sanctuary. Harker explores further, encountering and overcoming the three rooms spoken of in the book found by Seward's colleague. Eventually, he enters the sanctuary itself, but is taken prisoner by Dracula's brides. They bring him to Dracula, who tells him that Mina is now his forever. Harker appeals to Mina, telling her they are already married, but she says she cannot remember. He then produces her wedding ring and she regains her memories. A furious Dracula says that both she and Harker must now die, but Harker uses Radu's diamond with the Dragon Ring and Dracula is engulfed in light as the castle begins to crumble. Dracula's brides are crushed by falling debris, and Dracula himself is killed when he is impaled by a huge statue of Saint George. As the castle ceases collapsing, an exhausted Mina and Harker embrace.
The game was met with mixed reviews. The PC version holds an aggregate score of 67.53% on GameRankings, based on thirteen reviews, and 68 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on fourteen reviews. The PlayStation version holds a score of 64.67% on GameRankings, based on three reviews.
IGN's Steve Butts was impressed with the PC version, scoring it 7.8 out of 10. He praised the graphics, saying "Just using flat backgrounds, the game renders the illusion of a full 3D environment better than any game I've seen yet [...] Apart from using first-rate models, the CGI work captures the emotions and attitudes of the characters very well. Mouth movements aren't fantastic, but these characters are much more animated than we've come to expect." He was somewhat critical of some of the puzzles, but concluded "Although some of the situations are kind of a stretch, the story is well done and interesting in its own right. Hell, even the parts that threaten your suspension of disbelief are kind of cool."
Similarly impressed was Adventure Classic Gaming's Zack Howe, who scored the game 4 out of 5. He too praised the graphics; "If you love the stunning visuals from the first game, you are bounded [sic] to love the visuals from this sequel. As with its predecessor, pre-rendered graphics are solely used for cut-scenes and are truly a sight to behold. [...] All of the 3D characters are amazingly detailed. Their faces are expressive and their eyes subtly capture the different personalities [...] The cinematic quality movie sequences are simply unbelievable to watch." He also praised the gameplay, seeing it as considerably improved over Resurrection, although he was critical of the "pixel-hunting" nature of some of the puzzles.
Adventure Gamers' Christina Gmiterko gave the game 3 out of 5, praising the graphics and calling them "its strongest selling point. The amazing cutscenes alone are reason enough to buy this. They have a very cinematic feel to them which many other games lack. Much attention is paid to detail and you can tell that many hours of work went into making these scenes look as great as they do. The characters faces are all very impressive with highly detailed eyes, hair, wrinkles, the works. The only complaint I have is that the lip synching is off." However, she was critical of the core gameplay; "Almost all of the puzzles are inventory based and this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as its done right. I spent a lot of the game waving my cursor across the screen to find a hot spot where an inventory item needed to be used. Once I found it I would just try combining every inventory item I had with the obstacle at hand until I found the one that worked because more often than not it wasn't reasonably obvious what item you should be using or why you should be using it. By the time I reached the end I felt like I had seen the inventory screen almost as much as I had the actual game."
GameSpot's Ron Dulin was less impressed, scoring it 5.5 out of 10. He criticised the game for having "huge lapses in logic, no atmosphere, and very little in the way of respect for Bram Stoker's original story." He was critical of the lack of horror in the game; "Dracula: The Last Sanctuary doesn't even manage to maintain a slightly creepy atmosphere. The opening would lead you to believe otherwise, because of its creepy music that sets the stage for a terrifying adventure. Unfortunately, this music is all but absent from the game afterward. The voice acting doesn't help: The confused-sounding actors ham it up like they're auditioning for a part in Mark Borchardt's Coven." He concluded that "The puzzles will be enough for those who are content with being limited to the challenge of finding a way past locked doors and blocked passageways. But great games transcend their genre's limitations, while good games work within them. Mediocre games, like Dracula: The Last Sanctuary, only serve to remind us of why such things are limitations in the first place."
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- Gmiterko, Christina (May 20, 2002). "Dracula: The Last Sanctuary (PC) Review". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- Dulin, Ron (March 2001). "Dracula: The Last Sanctuary (PC) Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "Dracula: The Last Sanctuary (PC) Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
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- Howe, Zack (June 15, 2001). "Dracula: The Last Sanctuary (PC) Review". Adventure Classic Gaming. Retrieved October 1, 2013.