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It was one of the earliest titles to make heavy use of full-motion video as an integral part of the gameplay. Other contemporary titles utilizing full-motion video include Night Trap, Sewer Shark and Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective.
In Dracula Unleashed, the player assumes the identity of a young Texas businessman named Alexander Morris. Morris is living in London, England during the winter of 1899 and eventually proposes marriage to an English woman named Annisette Bowen. We learn that his elder brother, Quincey, who also lived in England, died some time earlier.
As Alexander Morris, the player must travel to specific locations in London at certain times with certain items you've gathered throughout your travels in hand to gather clues about the events which occur during the game and achieve victory over Dracula.
Dracula Unleashed was a part of the new wave of video-based video games released in the early 1990s, when the gaming industry was moving toward interactive movies. This trend eventually ended because of generally poor acting and low production quality. A major reason for the latter was largely due to the technical restrictions of the hardware at the time which limited interactivity and the quality of the video. The Sega CD, for example, was limited to a palette of 512 colors and only 64 colors could appear on the screen at any one time.
In 2002, Infinite Ventures, Inc. released the game on DVD, making it accessible to a new home market. The game is identical in play, but the advantages of the new format allow for full-screen, DVD-quality video. Furthermore, the game is playable in any DVD-compatible player, to include game consoles like the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It also has a "behind the scenes" featurette, as well as some audio bloopers.
There are some minor differences between the DVD version and the Sega CD and PC versions:
- The woodblock carving-style still graphics displayed as backgrounds in many locations and during several exposition scenes in the Sega CD version are not present in the DVD version.
- The Sega CD version had several different carriage driver phrases, spoken whenever the carriage was used to change locations. These are not present in the DVD version. However, you can still hear the some of the lines being performed in the bloopers.
- In the PC and Sega CD Versions it was possible to be arrested at night when spying on a character at the bookstore. The DVD does not include this, possibly because the event happens at random in the other versions and because of the lengthy save-game procedure in the DVD version. The scene is included as an extra on the DVD.
- During the intro and ending credits as well as some climactic points in the story, the PC and Sega CD versions included Carl Orff's O Fortuna as a music cue. The DVD version has replaced these cues with a synthesized variation on the tune.
- The PC and Sega CD Versions, during some scenes in the game, would cut away to still illustrations particularly when someone is describing a past event. The DVD version does not cut away in the same scenes.
When it was released for the Sega CD, it was given an MA-13 label by the Videogame Rating Council. This would be similar to a PG-13 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America. The game has a spooky atmosphere and musical score, along with some images of blood and a very effeminate bookstore owner. However, it is not up to the level of typical R-rated horror films. It was also reviewed by BBFC and attributed a 15 rating.