Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon Hands-On

You think becoming a vampire is easy? Don't count on it.

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Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon
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Just as more and more companies look for college degrees from employees, vampires too are becoming increasingly choosy in their selection process. No longer can a victim simply be bitten and expect to transform into a garlic-hating, heliophobic prince of darkness overnight. Instead, aspiring bloodsuckers must follow the path of the dragon, a series of unholy challenges and obstacles that will eventually lead to immortality, provided those blasted heroes Simon Belmont or Van Helsing don't burst on the scene armed with holy water and oak stakes.

Simon Belmont. Van Helsing. And now Father Arno will do battle against Dracula.
Simon Belmont. Van Helsing. And now Father Arno will do battle against Dracula.

In Dracula 3, you'll follow the path of the dragon as Father Arno Moriani, a mild-mannered catholic priest dispatched to Transylvania by the Vatican to investigate a candidate for sainthood. This point-and-click adventure game from developer Kheops Studio adopts the universe envisioned by Bram Stoker, and you'll travel to Rome, Budapest, and Turkey tracking down the evil Count Dracula.

The year is 1920. You begin your investigation of Dr. Martha Calugarul in the village of Vladoviste, half-destroyed in World War I. On the hillside sits the Castle of Twilight, the famed home of Vlad the Impaler. Your opening objectives are simple: Visit Martha's grave, contact her parish priest, and visit the dispensary where she worked. As you run into different characters, such as the local innkeeper, a grave digger, and a nurse, you'll have different conversation choices to follow, although it's not a branching tree, by any means. Instead, you simply check your questions off the list in any order you choose, learning more about the brave and courageous work of Martha, who helped soldiers on both sides during the war.

It's her research into blood, however, that is probably more important than her good deeds. Many locals were stricken by an anomaly Martha knows little about and refers to as, simply, the P anomaly. Aside from strange characteristics in the blood stream, those who suffer from the anomaly tend to have strange hematomas on the neck. See where we're going here? Most victims were also found dead--drained of their blood.

As expected, there are many pleasant environments in Dracula 3.
As expected, there are many pleasant environments in Dracula 3.

Father Arno--not being knowledgeable of the ways of the vampire--begins to track a mysterious figure he believes is responsible for these deaths. He realizes later, as he follows this person from bloody crime scene to bloody crime scene, that he is inadvertently walking the path of the dragon. Later on, as you solve puzzles based on medicine, history, and the occult, you'll also use the famed Enigma machine. This was the cipher used to encrypt and decrypt secret messages that was later a hit in Nazi Germany.

The mechanics in Dracula are simple: point and then click. You can also right-click to open a series of menus that handily point out your objectives, inventory, recent conversations, and documents recovered. And when in doubt, consult the bible. A bible written in Latin is included, and you can open it to random pages for verses that act as clues for what to do next.

We'll let you walk the path of the dragon yourself when Dracula 3 is released this fall.

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