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Just a Peek

iDracula

Do you remember Robotron? There were several versions of the game, but that didn't matter.

I sucked at the game, but loved playing it.

I've seen guys who could somehow last ten minutes or more, dispatching swarm after mechanical swarm of robotic terror while having that little robot shooting guy dance around the screen as if it were wearing a tutu.

Me? If I lasted a minute I was lucky. Those damned robots ran over my little guy as if he was shooting at them with a BB gun. And I maneuvered him like I was driving a tank. No finesse whatsoever.

And still, I played. I saw it as a challenge. Less tank, more tutu = win!!!

I tried, and died. Quickly.

I finally gave up on Robotorn. After all, there was no way to ultimately win, the object of the game was to survive as long as possible, and I did just that. However, my "possible" just wasn't very long.

Any how, who cares? It was just a stupid game, right? It wasn't like I was REALLY saving lives from robots gone amok.

It took a while, but I managed to forget about Robotron and how badly I sucked at playing it, that is until today.

See, last night I bought iDracula from the iTunes App Store. Silly name, but it looked pretty interesting for an iPhone/iPod Touch game, and, at US$0.99, the price was right.

I fired up iDracula and lo and behold, I was looking at a Transylvanian version of Robotron, and I developed a facial tick.

OK, it's not Robotron exactly. The guy on the screen is a Vampire Hunter and you help him take out swam after bloodthirsty swam of werewolves, witches and other evil beings while grabbing power-ups and trying to stay alive as long as you can.

Even Chief Bloodsucker himself, Dracula, makes an appearance. Get too close to him and he sucks your life-juice. Not a good thing.

The controls are very Robotron-esque; you move the Hunter around the screen with one controller and aim and shoot with the other. There are always more bad guys, so staying alive for minutes is the best you can hope for.

When I showed to the game to my friend, Jeff -- a younger and far better gamer than I -- he immediately proceeded to get the highest score, lasting more than 12 minutes. He then bought the game himself.

I now wash my hands obsessively, and I am reliving my failure at Robotron. I can't put this darn game down.

It isn't because of the graphics, which are stellar, or the game music, which fit the game perfectly. No, I play because I must defeat Jeff's score. Once I beat his score I can forget iDracula. Wipe it from my mind and go back to living some semblance of a normal life.

Maybe.

Are there flaws? Only minor ones. The controls are tough to get use to, especially when you've maneuvered the Hunter under one of them. The Options Menu lets you reverse or remove the control dials, and that can help, but you wind up longing for a decent game controller. Still, given the limitations of the iPhone and iPod touch, the controls are about as good as it gets.

There's only one level and it gets old after a while. It would be nice if there was deeper gameplay which involved defeating a level boss, then moving on to a tougher setting. Chillingo promises some interesting changes in the coming updates, so this complaint will may be moot.

I also found myself wishing there was a means for cooperative network play. Having someone else to help you blast the baddies and share my mania is a great way to past the time.

As I said, minor complaints. iDracula is a must have for any iPhone/iPod Touch gamer and I *Highly Recommend it. It's fast, frantic, and fun. And it can be beaten. It can, I know it can.

Review Item iDracula
Manufacturer Chillingo
List Price
Street Price
US$0.99
Minimum Requirements iPod Touch, or iPhone

* Note: My rating system goes like this;

  • Get it Now! - Highest rating and an absolute must-have
  • Highly recommend - Minor flaws, but a great product
  • Recommend - Flawed, but still a solid product
  • So-so - Problem product that may find a niche market
  • Avoid - Why did they bother making it? A money waster.

Vern Seward is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He’s been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

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