Review by Arkrex

"He sucks. So does his game."

Would you like to hear yet another one of my signature, scene-setting introductions? Well, too bad. Although the game's official synopsis reads that Dracula is out to unite the entire vampire clan to bring down the nefarious Great Inquisitor, Torquemada, I'm sure they just made that up in all of five minutes - right after production of the cartridge had begun and they realised "damn, we forgot to add in a storyline!"

Dracula: Crazy Vampire sounds very promising: Dracula is the pimp of all vampires, crazy sounds cool, and vampires love to suck blood - kinky. Unfortunately, this top-down exploration shoot 'em up (think Pocky & Rocky, but dumbed down and beaten to a pulp) does not live up to its wicked name. The aim of game is to pass through eight labyrinthine levels of mayhem and beat up each of the freakishly big-headed bosses along the way. Frakenstein's creature and a Mummy (not his, unfortunately) make an appearance, and they look just as adorable as big-head Dracula does. Colourful too - hence the Game Boy Color (GBC) platform.

But, despite how pretty it looks for a GBC game, it can't save the repetitiveness of monster blasting. Dracula has an infinite supply of bats with which he can toss out at a blinding rate in all eight directions. As he wipes the floor with the undead canines, ogres and armoured acolytes that haunt his castle (care of that Great Inquisitor who - a friendly witch all too briefly explains - caused a ruckus while old Dracula was fast asleep), he'll have to indulge in a spot of block-pushing and path-finding to track down the big bad at the end of each level. Easier said than done. Killing stuff is a simple button-mash fest, and you top up your health with each early death you cause. Navigating, on the other hand, is just a pain in the butt. Nevermind the jerky point-of-view, which relocates to view what is immediately in front of Dracula as soon as you turn him to face in a particular direction, the levels are all crazy if only for the fact that the rooms are all near exact replicas of one another making it extremely confusing to get around, and the lack of a map doesn't help either.

So, for the bulk of your time spent traversing the various regions dotted about his humble abode, it's just mindless shooting whilst searching for level anomalies which may very well lead to a stairwell that brings you across to the next section of repetitive interior design. At least the boss fights make for a nice change of pace since the focus is on dishing out hurt rather than finding something important to hurt. Crazy Vampire is neat in that it manages to return a wonderful kiddie-vibe from its more sinister source material, but Konami's Kid Dracula does it a whole lot better, and that game is actually fun to play. If looks could kill, then maybe Dracula would be a happy chap here. But this is style-over-substance in every sense of those words and as a result, I'd leave it in its coffin where it belongs.

VERDICT – 2.5/10 I'm not that crazy to settle for a repetitive dungeon-crawling shmup.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 10/08/07

Game Release: Dracula: Crazy Vampire (US, 10/09/01)

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