|System: DSi (DSiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: MoreGames Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Chillingo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 8, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
With the additions of internal storage space and an online store in which to buy games and applications, there is little doubt that Nintendo made the DSi as a response to the wildly successful iPhone. It should then come as no surprise when some software winds up finding its way onto both platforms. In the case of Dracula: Undead Awakening, it started its life a little over a year ago on the iPhone as iDracula and after a name change, became available as DSiWare.
Although it may cost a bit more on the DSi, after factoring in the potential costs of the hardware, monthly service charges, and the fact that you'll actually have a real D-pad and buttons with which to play the game, the slightly larger price point of the DSiWare version begins to look like a value.
As you'd probably expect from a fairly cheap, arcade action game there isn't much of a storyline to drive the Dracula: Undead Awakening experience. Basically, you are a nameless vampire hunter doing what you do best. Dracula is out to get you and your only option is to try to kill every vampire, werewolf, or ghoul that comes after you. Unfortunately for the unnamed vampire hunter, escape really isn't ever an option because he always winds up dying in the end. While the end result may make the constant struggle to survive seem almost futile, taking hundreds, perhaps thousands of your enemies down with you sounds like a better option than just simply accepting the inevitable.
For anyone familiar with older games, Undead Awakening's gameplay can easily be likened to classic shooters such as Robotron 2084 and Smash TV. However, for those newer to the hobby, think of it like Geometry Wars if they swapped all of the neon and flash for a more Halloween styled setting. Undead Awakening is essentially a top-down, right stick arena shooter but without the aid of sticks. Players will maneuver their nameless protagonist about using the D-pad and are given a few options for how to shoot.
The most logical and straightforward of the options is, of course, using the face buttons in the absence of a second D-pad or stick. Pressing any of the four buttons will cause your character to aim in the appropriate direction while holding the button down will make him fire until it is released. It is also possible to hold down two buttons at a time, allowing for diagonal shots as well as simply firing in the four cardinal directions. This functions well enough most of the time but it is certainly not the most precise way of playing the title.
With undead hordes constantly chasing you down, accuracy can be very proportional to how long you last. As such, Undead Awakening's second control option is a much better choice when trying to reach high scores. This option allows you to maneuver your character with the D-pad, leaving your right hand free to use the stylus to aim your shots. Again, you'll need to hold down with the stylus to fire instead of simply tapping it to fire, but it still functions rather well and increases your potential aiming abilities quite a bit. You can switch between these two options at any point during play by simply utilizing whichever you wish, with no need to go to a menu to make the change. There's even an option (this one is in a menu) for southpaws as well, allowing you to maneuver with the face buttons and fire with the D-pad or left-handed stylus presses.
It's nice to see so many options for controls since you'll definitely need to be comfortable with them in order to do well in any of the game's four modes. Survival mode starts you off with nothing but a pistol and a ton of ammunition for it. Slower enemies begin making their way towards you and are pretty easy to stay on top of. Whenever you kill a foe, there is a chance that they'll drop some sort of new weapon, ammunition, or health item to help better equip you for your continued fight. As the flood of enemies continue to get stronger and quicker, you'll also have the ability to activate some extremely useful power-ups to help out as well.