Dracula's Underground Crypt

Alex Whitington (2008)

In Dracula's Underground Crypt you play Professor Von Klausberger's assistant, and even though this piece has a bit of humor running through it, the design itself is stunted since the game was never beta tested. The professor doesn't respond to reasonable things, and the daemons that control the professor still work when I'm in the crypt. There's even a learn-by-death puzzle. The warning that said this game might have bugs in it wasn't joking.

The game is littered with spelling and grammatical mistakes, and the design is weak; with a lack of testing that makes the game unplayable. The author did code a walkthrough, but it's so unclear that it becomes hard to figure out what to do. I had to give up on the guess-the-verb puzzle. There are even objects listed that you can't access, and the game doesn't have any agency either. You can put books in the fireplace and they don't burn, you can open the door to the crypt and the professor doesn't care, and you can't even open the book with the spear, like a poker, at a distance, without it killing you. All of this would have been flushed out with a little play testing.

It's a shame that the author didn't hold off on this one, and polish it for the next year, working with beta testers. The game is set in a cool place, and is small enough to work for competition like this. But the bugs are glaring, there's little agency, and it's poorly designed. I'm sure the author is going to take all of this criticism personally and never finish the game properly. It's really too bad. I gave this game a 2.