A vampire, as we all know, is an undead creature that preys on the living. Until recently mankind has been saved by several holy medallions and the tireless work of Professor Van Helsing — but now the most feared vampire of all, Count Dracula, is after the medallions. And here’s the twist: in most games you play the hero, but not so here. You are Dracula, and you also have the ability to change into a bat or a werewolf. It’s as Dracula you can do the most damage though — suck the blood of Van Helsing’s minions as they chase you round your castle (slurp)!
Throughout the different levels of the game you must collect eight objects including a scroll, a bottle, a cross and five keys in order to escape. Van Helsing’s minions chase and try to kill you using a crucifix or stake, unless you’re a wolfie when they fire silver bullets. With every hit your energy bar goes down, but catching a human and biting him in the neck is very nourishing. When you’ve found all the necessary objects you come face to face with Van Helsing as a final end of level foe — and he’s difficult to kill. Seeing as how Dracula never wins in the horror movies, it’s about time you changed all that!
As a fan of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing Hammer horror films I’ve always wondered what it’s like to play the bad guy. Well, Night Hunter from Ubisoft is the perfect chance! Wander around spooky castles and bite the necks of beautiful maidens! Night Hunter is great fun to play, but only after dark.
MARK ... 90%
'Woooo! Creepy stuff this! It’s full of vampires, werewolves and witches. A bit like walking around Ludlow at midnight! I really like Night Hunter. Though the graphics are all yellow monochrome, it’s a ruddy good game and incredibly addictive! Starting off as a vampire with a quest to collect all the keys and scrolls from each level, you have the option to change into either a werewolf or bat to help you through the game. Start in the castle and progress through towns, other buildings, graveyards etc: each location is highly detailed, and the people chasing you are varied enough to keep you on your toes. Especially the blokes with stakes ready to plunge through your heart (ouch!). Night Hunter is simply a must for all fans of addiction. Miss this and you won’t sleep easy in your bed. Come to think of it, play this and you still won’t be sleeping easy!!'
NICK ... 93%
It makes some people go green, it makes some people's eyes light up. Some individuals have been known to faint at the sight of it, while others regard it as a bit of a delicacy. Its sticky and warm, goes all crusty when its dry and there are about ten pints of the stuff sloshing around inside you right now. What am I talking about? It's blood, of course! (Thank goodness for that. Ed)
And by spine-chilling coincidence, blood (or sang as they say in France) just happens to be what this latest offering from the-land-where-even-the-dogs-wear-berets-and-strings-of-onions-round-their-necks is all about.
As ghoulish Count Dracula you've only got two aims in life. One - to become Master Of The World. Two - to obtain an endless supply of blood. After years of research in your huge vampire's library you've finally worked out how to achieve number one - just collect three parchments from the 20 different castle-like levels of the game (that's 60 altogether) using the five keys you find in each. (Quite why doing all this enables you to become Master Of The World isn't quite clear.) Anyway, after that you're free to retire, sit back, relax and indulge in your favourite hobby (laughing melodramatically and shouting "I am Master Of The World", I suppose).
Objective number two comes in along the way. All this wandering through doorways, up staircases and along creepy galleries soon takes its toll and you start to feel a mite peckish. So what do you do? You stretch out your arm, grab the nearest body, and get your pearly-whites into that juicy looking jugular, of course! Yum yum.
But (but! But!) for some reason the castle inhabitants aren't what you might call chuffed about this. Some even go so far as to display their dissent by hitting you (blokes) or warding you off with their crosses (women in mini-skirts). Every now and then a wicked witch on a broomstick flies by and gives you a nasty tap on the head too. Yikes! (Dodge the old bag.)
However. Dracula's no sucker. Over the years he's learned how to transform himself into a vampire bat or werewolf if need be - and he's not afraid to do it! The wolf, a kind of hairy mutant bloodhound, packs a feisty punch but the bat is even handier - one flap of the wings and you can avoid any dangerous holes or pitfalls lurking on the ground.
So how does the game add up? Is it just a ropey old collect-'em-up spiced with a bit of spooky stuff, or is it something a bit more? Well, it depends on how generous you're feeling really. Being in a good sort of a mood, I'd say that collecting keys and throttling people isn't what you'd call a brand, spankingly new idea, but reasonable animation, natty graphics and a decidedly weird atmosphere can invest it with a certain dash of je ne sais quoi (another thing they say in France).
Actually, there's one more thing they do well in France (besides being a bit weird that is) and that's cookery. So here's the recipe for Night Hunter. Take one rather ordinary collect-'em-up, add a cuddly-looking werewolf and a sneaky Dracula, toss in a bunch of slightly craply animated victims, throw in the tongue of a ten-day-old newt and there you have it - a reasonably amusing (but by no means brilliant) vampire caper. Now, has anyone got any garlic?
Fancy going out for a bit tonight? You will once you've got your fangs into Night Hunter, the game for groovy ghoulies.
In this French horror fantasy epic, Drac's back and you're the blood-sucking beastie yourself. Everyone else is out for the Count - witches , spiders, mummies, all sorts of ghoulies. Your task is to keep your bloodcount up long enough to take over the local village. Fortunately Dracula Towers boasts an endless supply of wandering virgins (in start contrast to EMAP Towers), and once you spot one all you have to do is grab 'em, put the bit on 'em and leave a tidy pile of bones on the ancestral carpet. The animation in these sequences is great.
Drac can climb stairs and duck under attacks from broomstick-mounted witches. To add to the bloody fun, you can also transform yourself into two other forms with a twist of the joystick. As a towering werewolf you can take on the mummies and other more powerful monsters, battering them with the old one-two of your hairy fists until the collapse. As a bat, you can flutter through the air avoiding the deadly swamps and pitfalls, and make your way into otherwise inaccessible parts of the castle. Three counters at the bottom of the screen indicate how long you can remain in each form before you need a recharge of the red cells.
There are, as you would expect, keys to be found in order to open some of the doors some of these are hidden in such a way that you need to be in the correct form to find them. There are also parchments which give you clues to the location of other treasures.
Animation is good throughout, though the flipping between screens is a bit slow. The background graphics are great too - monochrome but finely detailed, showing the towers, staircases, dungeons and battlements of the castle. Flickering torches, suits of armour, manacles, cobwebs and decorated doorways add to the spooky atmosphere, and little touches like scuttling mice complete the eerie ambience.
It's a case of fangs for the memory and all the other awful puns you can think of, but I'd stake my life Night Hunter is going to be a hit.
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
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