A Vampyre Story

aka: A Vampyre Story: Chapter One
Moby ID: 37758

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 77% (based on 56 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 30 ratings with 4 reviews)

Draxsylvania's Demise

The Good
What is presented in the game really shines out. Backgrounds have the right colours and tones, foregrounds make good use of shadows and lighting as well as weather effects and the character animations are very fluid, making them seem more like living (or should I say unliving?) beings. And the music does have some Whipstaff Manor and Casper feels to it.

Gameplay is easy to get the hang of. You have only four actions selected from a medallion: Handling, Talking, Looking and Flying. That's all you're going to need. The inventory system is quite unique, in that you don't carry many items with you, but remember them. That's realistic I guess.

Characters are humorous and exactly what you would expect in a game that has some comedy like the 1979 movie "The Halloween That Almost Wasn't" and the graphic style not unlike a Tim Burton stop-motion movie. Imagine if Kath Soucie voiced Mona de Laffite. Every other voice talent fits perfectly.

The Bad
Colourful and brilliant as the graphics are, the game doesn't really give you the opportunity to explore the scenes thoroughly. While it's cool to turn into a bat and fly, this ability cannot be used to full extent like trying to interact, look and talk in bat-form to make things more interesting. Other content lacking is that there's not enough vampire or monster lore, even with some parody elements.

Puzzles are pretty straightforward and not very clever, shortening the game to some extent. There's no randomisation in any puzzles from game to game, like a lot of older adventure titles. Most of the time you just talk to characters to progress. In most adventure games, dialogue is supposed to clue you in on puzzles. And speaking of dialogue, there are no English subtitles for those who have trouble following what characters are saying.

The Bottom Line
This game manages to be its own adventure but also look something like a Broken Sword and Monkey Island game in one fun package. We've all seen tame spooky stuff like Dreamworks' Hotel Transylvania, but it's not every day you get to play the role of a "vampyre", let alone a pretty charming lady one. But with puzzles being not-so-puzzling, you may as well be watching a DVD movie of the game interacting with the remote control. Overall the developers seemed so busy trying to wow us with the graphics, they didn't invest enough to give this the old classic adventuring treatment like so many LucasArts games. This is not an award-winning title like Toonstruck, but you might enjoy this once in your own sweet time. It's a shame the sequel never saw the light of day (which probably killed the Vampyre series).

Windows · by Kayburt (29561) · 2022

Stay away from it as far as possible

The Good
Not much, but a distinctive visual style, an admittedly admirable job by Bill Tiller. If you haven't heard it already: the guy behind "A Vampyre Story" actually is a former LucasArts employee and worked as graphic artist on such games as "The Dig" and "The Curse of Monkey Island". His style is instantly recognizable, especially when you've played the latter one. Even though "A Vampyre Story" has 3D-rendered characters and a much darker palette of colours, it still features the wacky comic style that was seen in Guybrush Threepwood's third adventure. Of course, the setting has changed from sunny Caribbean isles to the barren land of "Draxsylvania" at the end of the 19th century.

Yeah, the graphics are really fine. As opposed to some other recent adventures, this includes smooth character movements and many special animations for all kinds of actions. The backdrops speak for themselves: the game features lots of stylish and beautiful locations. There's the old Castle Warg, from which heroine Mona de Lafitte has to escape Jonathan Harker style, and later the town Vlads Landing and its surroundings. Every scene is indeed quite wonderful, but that's about all of the nice stuff I can say about this game.

The Bad
The idea behind this game apparently was to do a parody, i.e. something that pokes fun of vampire and horror stories the same way "Monkey Island" did it with its Caribbean buccaneer setting. Problem is, that "A Vampyre Story" isn't even remotely funny. And when this happens with a game that tries so hard to be funny, in almost every second of its annoying existence, then something clearly went wrong.

Being held captive and being turned into a vampire should be quite enough, but Mona has a much more serious problem, that doesn't seem to worry her at all: through the entire game there's an annoying little bat sitting on her shoulder. Said bat answers to the name Froderick and is honestly the worst sidekick I ever saw; a miserable clown and a constant pain in the neck. But Mona is hardly any better. She is arrogant, self-absorbed and stupid beyond belief. There's a difference between the idiocy of Homer Simpson and the pointless and disgusting idiocy of Mona and Froderick. The game actually wants to identify with them, but I never found out, how I should care about these two failed comedians.

Another thing I didn't get is, where the story in "A Vampyre Story" is supposed to be. I have to admit, I didn't finish the game (I simply couldn't stomach its "humor" anymore), but I wasted enough time with it to write a review and I didn't see any substantial plot development. Mona's motivation for getting away from Draxsylvania is explained in the very beginning. Then the game throws some obstacles in her way and lets her meet with a pathetic cast of caricatures, leading to numerous conversations, all tedious and boring. Apart from stupid jokes and farting ravens (the climax of the game's dullness), nothing happens in this so-called "Vampyre Story". The people at Autumn Moon aren't able to tell a story. All they have is their "humor", which lets every third-class television sitcom appear remarkably funny and full of wit in comparison.

How about the puzzle design? Well, at their very best the puzzles are just boring. At their worst, they're senseless and illogical in addition. I still ask myself, how I should have got the idea of pouring Mona's perfume into the lake, that's surrounding the castle. I needed a walkthrough for this, since the game hasn't given me the slightest hint to such a strange behaviour.

To be fair: senseless puzzles like this occur not all that often. Unfortunately that doesn't mean, the other puzzles were interesting, though. First: those much vaunted "ideas" make absolutely no difference for the gameplay. Basically they just represent objects, that Mona can for various reasons not carry around (because they're too heavy or whatever). In the end, you use them just like any other thing placed in your inventory. Second: the vampire abilities aren't breaking new ground as well. Whether it's transforming into a bat or sucking blood from human arteries: Mona's special powers are seldom actively used and then only in very obvious manners. Result: most of the time you still have to deal with conventional object combinations, which are neither creative nor entertaining in this case. Most of them can be solved relatively easy, but you shouldn't expect any fun of it.

Some minor things: the music isn't good, but at least a not utterly annoying aspect of the game. The voice actors aren't bad either, but show a tendency to overdo their characters (which might have even worked, if their lines weren't so crappy). The best example is Mona's terrible French accent. If someone considers it funny to have the leading character permanently speak that way, it really tells its own tale...

The Bottom Line
There's no doubt, that Bill Tiller is a talented graphic artist, but when it comes to other elements of game development (especially the writing part), my advice is: next time hire some people, who know what they're doing. Don't let the graphics fool you. This is garbage.

Windows · by micnictic (387) · 2009

A Ghoulishly Fun Adventure Game

The Good
Mona de Laffite is a talented opera singer in Paris who has it all; beauty, popularity and talent. Alas, her career is cut short when he is kidnapped by a vampire named, Baron Shrowdy von Kiefer. Now our heroine is imprisoned in a castle and having to face a mysterious curse.

A Vampyre Story (2008) is a beautiful point and click adventure game. The animation quality and style will reminder you of the Secret Of Monkey Island 3 (aka Curse of Monkey Island). It is refreshing to play an adventure game that looks lovely,

"OK, but how does the play?" You may be asking.

Again the influence of Monkey Island 3, with user-friendly, point and click commands that are responsive and easy to understand. Generally speaking, you can talk to characters, examine everything, pick up numerous objects and even fly (via a cool bat transformation).

The puzzles themselves are, for the most part, not to difficult to figure out with some good, old-fashion adventure gaming logic. I can think of only one or two puzzles that I required a walk through guide to solve.

If you like adventure games, especially in the vein of LucasArts adventure games, then this game's graphics and its game play mechanics will be a most enjoyable ride.

The Bad
I had zero luck getting the game to run under Windows 10, even with the compatibility option. Alas, this is a common problem with adventure games and Windows operating systems.

Luckily, I also have an older laptop computer, which my runs Windows 7, which seemed to work smoothly, mostly. The game is also suppose to run under Windows XP/Vista, but I can only confirm that it will run under Windows 7.

I say, "mostly" because sometimes the game did glitch, i.e. an important item would not be clickable, or certain cut scenes would repeat themselves several times.

These problems were fixed by SAVING THE GAME OFTEN and just reloading the game when it glitched up. Pressing the space bar key lets you skip cut sequences (and makes your character walk faster). So, the glitches are minor, but need to be noted.

When i beat the game, the cliff-hanger ending was certainly a let down. This game is actually the first part in a series of games that were never developed.

I want more chapters of this game! Alas, it does not look like that is going to happen. Pity. Last, but not least, let us talk a bit about comedy or what this game thinks is comedy.

Much of the dialogue in the game is meant to be funny. I do not think that it is as bad as some critics have said, but the quality of the jokes is very much a case of "hit and miss".

It is not consistently as funny as say, the Secret Of Monkey Island, but it is trying to be funny, with mixed results.

The Bottom Line
A Vampyre Story is a ghoulishly fun adventure game that borrows many of the best elements from LucasArts adventure games. If the designers of this game happen to read this; please make a sequel or a prequel.

Windows · by Edward TJ Brown (118) · 2019

Good game, give it a try!

The Good
It's got a distinct art style and great voice acting (either you'll love it or hate it - no middle ground). Great story and quirky characters.

The Bad
It is short and ends with a cliffhanger that never got a proper conclusion. Fingers crossed for a sequel.

The Bottom Line
Try it. It is worth the trouble and runs fine on modern systems.

Windows · by Lal Fam · 2024

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Riemann80, Wizo, Venator, Jeanne, EonFear, Picard, Tim Janssen, katarn_88, Alaedrain, Ascovel, Cantillon, Gonchi, Samuel Smith, adrian_biz, Patrick Bregger, Evgenii Andzhe, Zeppin, Sciere, jaXen, Karsa Orlong, Arejarn, John Cheney.