Transylvania (series)

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Transylvania was the name of a trilogy of computer games released for several home computers of the 1980s. The games were graphic adventure games created by Antonio Antiochia and produced by the now defunct Penguin Software.

Transylvania I[edit]

In 1982, this game was released for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, and Commodore 64. It was later re-released for the Apple Macintosh in 1984, then the Amiga, Atari ST and DOS in 1985. It sets the player on a quest to rescue Princess Sabrina from a countryside roamed by a werewolf, a vampire, a prankster goblin, a witch, and an alien space ship. The game has a time limit (dictated to the player by a note encountered early on that reads, "Sabrina dies at dawn"), as the Princess is trapped in a coffin in the castle tower. The game's usage of hand-drawn graphics were part of a trend where once entirely text adventure games started to use computer graphics to show the game's environment. It remains the most popular title in the trilogy.

An iPhone version of Transylvania [I] was released on October 30, 2009 under the name "Transylvania Adventure". The iPhone version features a touch-friendly user interface, sounds, and vintage "retro" graphics.[1]

Transylvania II[edit]

Released in 1985 under the title The Crimson Crown, on the same platforms as its predecessor. The game tasks the player with a quest to defeat a magical vampire with the assistance of Princess Sabrina (who is now a fledgling magician) and the heir to the throne, Prince Erik.

Historian Jimmy Maher in 2014 liked the game, calling it "quite fair" and, with the exception of four riddles at the start, free of "most other things modern adventurers have come to have ... Solving this one is possible and very, very enjoyable".[2]

Transylvania III[edit]

Released in 1989 under the title Transylvania III: Vanquish The Night, this game was released for Apple IIGS and DOS. It used VGA graphics (DOS version), more complex puzzles and a larger vocabulary. The game also had some digital voices and many of the puzzles involved references to ancient mythology. In this game the player had to vanquish an evil king.


The first game in the series was well received, gaining a Certificate of Merit in the category of "1984 Best Computer Game Audio-Visual Effects" at the 5th annual Arkie Awards.[3] A.N.A.L.O.G. disliked the Atari ST versions of the first and second games, stating that "There just wasn't much of a story line" and that the ideal player age was a young teenager, not an adult. Despite this, however, because of their low price and "excellent" production values, graphics, and parser, the magazine recommended the games for those seeking graphic adventures for the ST.[4]

Historian Jimmy Maher in 2012 called the first Transylvania "one of the most charming of its genre and era", describing it as "almost uniquely playable" with "commonsensical" puzzles, and which "nails the half Gothic, half campy atmosphere of the classic Universal monster movie".[5]


Many years later, Penguin Software released several of the game series as freeware.[6]

Also after end of official support, an enthusiast reconstructed a source code variant of the game's series engine to port it to modern platforms.[7]


  1. ^ Transylvania Adventure by RetroVenture, LLC (iTunes preview)
  2. ^ Maher, Jimmy (2014-06-20). "Comprehend". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (February 1984). "Arcade Alley: The 1984 Arcade Awards, Part II". Video. Reese Communications. 7 (11): 28–29. ISSN 0147-8907. 
  4. ^ Panak, Steve (December 1986). "Panak Strikes". A.N.A.L.O.G. p. 97. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Transylvania". The Digital Antiquarian. 2012-10-03. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  6. ^ The Comprehend Adventures on
  7. ^ recomprehend by Ryan Mallon on

External links[edit]