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So Bad It’s Good – Dracula Unleashed Redeems Sega CD Full Motion Video

Okay, full motion video games seem to get a bad rap by the majority of gamers.  No matter what it is, when it was released or who starred in it, gamers like trash talking full motion video (FMV).  It is one of those weird quirks of gaming.  Back on the Sega CD, and on Macintosh/PC’s of the time, there was a game called Dracula Unleashed released.  The difference between this game and 99% of the rest of FMV games is the setting.  Horror.

Full Motion Video games have one thing in common, no matter the setting or actors involved.  Repetition.  I am not sure why this was such a big deal, and for many still is, because ‘fans’ of movies and television shows watch them multiple times with absolutely no change in the story or action.  At least with FMV games, there was a bit of interaction- do you save the girl, shoot that bad guy or not?  There were generally consequences for any choice you made- most effecting the plot later.

Dracula Unleashed though was different than other FMV games.  Here you are tasked as the vampire hunter himself.  Not just some random guy running a surveillance system (Night Trap) but an actual vampire hunter.  The setting was even in Victorian times like Bram Stoker’s original novel.  This all goes very far in helping put across the feel the developers wanted.

Sure, the visuals are limited by the colors on screen lacking hardware of the Sega CD.  That doesn’t stop Dracula Unleashed from telling a great story with well above average acting, for Full Motion Video games anyhow.  I think full motion video in the early days was TOO experimental- they were trying things that worked in other mediums.  Had they done stuff like Dracula Unleashed, even if they had done it in black and white like the original Day of the Dead and the really great boxing FMV game, Prize Fighter, I think the genre could have moved forward.

Full Motion Video and horror themes just go together so well.  Too bad so many missed out on Dracula Unleashed on Sega CD, Macintosh, DOS computers and even the DVD release in 2002.  There really is a good story here for the price of entry.  I wonder if anyone will ever continue the idea of full motion video horror games?  I would love to see more like this.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below. https://www.paypal.me/WCW

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