ReviewA Vampyre Story

  • April 19, 2009
  • Beware the gelatinous lake monster
  • by: Omega
  • available on: PC, Macintosh

A Vampyre Story

Developer: Crimson Cow
Publisher: GamersGate

Release Date: May 2009

ESRB: T


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A Vampyre Story borrows its name from The Vampyre, a tale of vampiric love by John Polidori. A Vampyre Story extends and twists that romantic genre by introducing Mona De Lafitte, an up-and-coming French opera singer with undead denial issues, and her quarrels with Baron Shrowdy von Kiefer, the presiding lord of Castle Warg. Shrowdy is Mona's captor, who stole Mona away several nights past and made her the vampire she is today. Through wit and will, it is at your pleasure to guide Mona away from the lands of Draxsylvania to her distant home in Paris. But be warned: The journey will not be easy.

A bulbous moon hangs gently above a lake surrounding Castle Warg. Inky, a not-so-friendly gelatinous Lake Monster, dabbles in the waters, casually swallowing birds, tourists and anything else that drifts its way. If not for the curse preventing flying over the lake, Mona would have bolted ages ago. As it stands, with Inky swimming about, the only means of safely reaching or leaving the castle is by boat, a means of travel that Shrowdy diligently protects. The castle's entire dock is secured behind closed doors, leaving Mona with little to do but piddle in her room and skulk. Photoalbum

Keeping Mona company is a sharp-tongued bat named Froderick, the game's comic relief and sidekick. Froderick assists Mona throughout the game by providing hints and tips, as well as quirky and snide remarks on just about everything. Usefulness aside, I'll point out now the biggest thing that nagged me about Froderick, which is something that also might bother you: Froderick uses way too many puns! I thought I had heard every conceivable vampire-related quip one could possibly imagine, but that bloody sarcastic bat proved me wrong. Some of what he says is witty — and laughable — but give me a break! Sadly, Mona often joins in on the pun-fest, transforming already terrible jokes into some measure of worse.

Although, I suppose I should be pun-ished at least once in a while for asking Mona to "Fly" into an open fireplace, to "Touch" her hand to a pool of demonic snot, to "Examine" a reflectionless mirror or to "Speak" with an ordinary household chair. Such is the premise of the four basic actions in A Vampyre Story, and really, you should try all of them on each and every item you come across. This is where the gameplay threw me off guard: There are times when you do have to engage in conversation with inanimate objects or stick your hands into unusual places. Mona and Froderick will blatantly mock most of your stranger requests, constantly persuading you not to explore those routes. Try talking to a window; you'll see what I mean. However, if you limit your searches to merely the mundane and common tasks, you will get nowhere. Photoalbum

The game’s interface is exceptionally easy to understand and use, which allowed me to dive right in. You interact with the world by clicking locations on the ground for Mona to move to and by pointing at a piece of scenery and selecting the wings, eye, mouth or hand icon. You also may perform these actions on objects, and having objects selected from your inventory while attempting an action will affect the outcome.

Shortly into the game, Shrowdy is slain by vampire hunters. Her kidnapper destroyed, Mona pounces on the opportunity to flee. To do so, she must first gain access to the castle's dock. This is accomplished by completing a series of puzzles, such as figuring out how to be diplomatic with rats and how to employ an oversized raven to your advantage. Think of it as problem solving. Each puzzle typically requires the use of one or more of the items scattered throughout the game. Finding the items is simple enough, but discerning how to put them to use is adorably tricky.

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About the Author, Chase Dickerson (A.K.A Omega)

I am an English and Computer Science double major and Japanese minor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. I work as a Java Programmer for Dr. Thomas Malloy in the field of discrete dynamic systems theory. Presently, I am pursuing additional research in natural language processing under the direction of Ellen Riloff, associate professor at the university. In my free time, I enjoy sports, martial arts and writing, as well as any and all forms of games. I have not worked professionally for the gaming industry, but my passion for games is strong.