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The Last Sanctuary
Dracula 2:
The Last Sanctuary
Developer:Wanadoo Edition,
Canal+ Multimedia
Publisher:Cryo Interactive
Release Date:2000
Article Posted:September 2011*
*Originally appeared at Jonathon's blog

Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary is a point-and-click, node based, graphical adventure game. It is quite long and filled with tons of content, Including a long interesting story containing many interesting characters showcased with numerous graphically impressive cutscenes, and gameplay comprised of many different puzzles types and quite a few action sequences.

The graphics, while always setting a great horrific atmosphere, are all over the spectrum in terms of both technical merit and stylish good looks. While the cinematics always look great, with a few small technical glitches being the only problem, the in-game graphics vary quite a lot. These graphics go from moderately low resolution, but still great looking to extremely grainy looking and everything in between. For the most part the visuals are quite good, sometimes great, and only once or twice did I ever notice a location that truly looked bad.

The one thing that I found moderately distracting about the whole presentation was the conversation script, particularly Dracula’s. It was often somewhat corny and always executed with far too many and too dramatic hand gestures. I do not know what the animators were thinking, sometimes it was almost funny with the otherwise serious characters waving their arms around like lunatics. [Editorial note: It is possible that the animation issue Jonathon is describing was exacerbated because he played the game on a modern PC. Atlantis: The Lost Tales from Cryo Interactive has a similar issue, where character animations become erratic and overly rapid unless you run the game on a PC from the Windows 95/98 era. I was unable to confirm this with my copy of The Last Sanctuary since I do not currently have a Windows 98 system in working condition. -Ugur]

I also found the item interface very unpolished. In the inventory all you are given is a picture of the item, which more often then you would like, leaves you with no idea of what you actually have. And in game the item you are currently holding does not even show up unless you are looking at something it can be used with. I found this very unintuitive, and was quite confused about how the game worked for quite awhile because of this. But other then that, the presentation is fantastic. The OST is enjoyable and only adds to the scary atmosphere, and at times was very well done.

Now to get to the real meat of it: the gameplay. And there is a huge range of puzzles types and challenges to talk about. There are the action sequences that for the most part give you a limited amount of time to deal with an imminent and deadly challenge. These serve to advance the story and add a sense of excitement to the game overall. While that much is good, the action sequences are not done all that well. So do not expect any interesting gameplay or cinematics out of them. Other then that, there are tons of logic and inventory puzzles. The biggest difference between The Last Sanctuary and many other games is that the information and items used to solve some of these puzzles are often found far away from the spot where you need to use them.

The one noteworthy issue I had was with the vampire glasses, which are used to see magic. These glasses are used like any other item, but since they are utilized to see something that is otherwise invisible, you have no idea where you are supposed to aim them, or that you are even supposed to use them. I often found it hard to figure out where to point the glasses even after looking up the solution from a walkthrough. This ambiguity is seen throughout the entire game in different guises, but never as bad as it is with the glasses.

Probably the only real drawback of the entire experience is the extreme linearity of the adventure. Individual locations are quite small and very linear themselves and the player cannot go between these locations at will. You can only follow a strict story progression through them. Thankfully, this does not seem to exist in any of the other games in the series. Dracula 3 has a moderately open-world and not excessively linear. And Dracula 1 is very non-linear, starting off in a huge open town.

One benefit The Last Sanctuary does have over the entire series and many other adventure games in general is its length. It is simply a huge game, all of it is fun and interesting. You visit and travel through many locations, some of them multiple times and others you would have seen before in Dracula Resurrection. You solve interesting and unique puzzle after puzzle. And you interact with interesting people and fight off or escape from Dracula’s minions over and over again. And it does not feel drawn out at all, it is what you would expect from a grand adventure that spans continents.

The Last Sanctuary is a truly great adventure. An adventure that has its annoying eccentricities, which would be a whole lot worse if you did not have time to get used to them. But when analyzing the finished whole, these issues appear quite insignificant.


PC System Requirements:
OS: Windows 98 or newer
Processor: Pentium III 500 MHz
RAM: 128MB (256MB for Windows XP or later)
Video: 8MB, Direct X Compatible