Dracula – Undead Awakening
Developer: MoreGames Entertainment
Release Date: January 28th, 2010 (PSP)
While this isn’t my first foray into the world of PSP Minis, it is my first review. Well, kind of. I have another one that launched a few months ago that I still need to write up, just haven’t had the chance to get it done. I’m one of those guys who keeps a fairly tight schedule. If I go out, I have a specific purpose & leave very little room for down time while I’m gone. The by-product of this type of time management is I end up closing myself off from on-the-go gaming. When I’m at home, I have plenty to do with my consoles, so I rarely pick up my handhelds. With that said, I have to give the team at MoreGames credit, they’ve manage to put together a title that’s fits my handheld gaming style to a ‘T’…
Initially, I had set aside all my other stuff just so I can give Dracula Undead Awakening an uninterrupted spin for this review. I had no idea what it was about so I wanted to make sure I had some quality time available. As soon as I fired up the 13 MB download, I found out that it wasn’t necessary. Dracula is a pick-up-and-play, top-down shooter that needs nothing from you but a few minutes & two good thumbs. There’s no story to be found. No characters to create. No save games to manage. Just you (a Van Helsing-esq vampire hunter) battling hoards of various baddies like werewolves, zombies, ghouls, etc… If you’ve played James Silva’s Xbox LIVE Indie hit I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1, then you know exactly what kind of gameplay Dracula Undead Awakening offers.
Undead Awakening has “classic arcade shooter” written all over it. It’s got the top-down perspective, multiple weapons (like a flamethrower, grenade launcher, & rifle), many different baddies swarming you in never-ending waves, etc… There’s four different play modes including Survival, Rush, Wave Attack & Super Survival. All play pretty much the same with the biggest difference being how you acquire your loot. For example, in Survival, you’ll find everything is pretty much dropped by the baddies you kill. But, in Wave Attack, you’ll only find money dropped & have to purchase your weapons & ammo in between each wave. To add a nifty little twist to it, there’s an RPG-lite upgrade system in place. As you kill enemies, you’ll gain experience. Get enough & you can upgrade your skills like health or reload time plus there are perks available too like Bloodlust or Telekinesis.
Where they did pretty good with the variety of weapons & enemies, the levels seem to have been neglected a bit. You only have 3 different stages to play in which follow the typical standard: Grave Park (forest), Frozen Earth (snow/ice), & Castle Hall (fire/lava) . Combine that with the four similar play modes & you have a game that’s pigeon-holed for a very specific need: The quick arcade shooter fix in the vein of Smash TV or Zombie Apocalypse. If you want a game with a storyline to progress through or a character to develop, this isn’t it. Now, all that’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Sure, there’s no multiplayer. The visuals are okay, considering the hardware & the soundtrack is appropriately rockin. Controls are simple & intuitive with the D-Pad or thumb nub handling the movement & the X,/Square/ Triangle/Circle buttons picking up the shooting & aiming duties. For what it is, it’s fun. A good time-killer when you don’t have a lot of time to invest. And at $5, you could do a lot worse.
UPDATE: While this review covers the PSP release, the game should be arriving on WiiWare & DSiWare around the time this gets posted. So you Nintendo gamers can give it a go as well. Check below for the WiiWare trailer…