Review: Dracula: Undead Awakening (DSiWare)

Pretty much exactly the same, but cheaper

Seeing the same game released on both WiiWare and DSiWare is pretty strange. Both being released in the same week is even more strange. But the fact that both games are also nigh-on identical just tops the weirdness scale.

Again, you play as a Van Helsing look-a-like running around a large arena of sorts, blowing up enemies that come at you from all directions using a large arsenal of weapons. It's an endless game, and as such, it will keep going until you mess up (or it just gets too hard) and your character dies.

About 99% of the WiiWare version is intact here — the only thing that has been removed, for some odd reason, is the game's WiFi leaderboards, meaning you can no longer compare your scores to those of others around the globe. The graphics and music have made the jump nicely and are fairly decent for a DSiWare release.

As on WiiWare and the App Store original, you've got four game modes. Survival and Super Survival are simply endless killing fests. After every fifty or so kills, you'll level up and get to pick a new "perk," which can range from increasing your firing speed or making you temporary invincible to one quick health refill. The game is paused while you pick, so make a wise choice! The only difference in Super Survival is that ammo pickups are more sparse — instead, you'll be able to occassionally find powerups, which temporarily stop time or make you shoot faster, for example.

Rush mode is practically the same, but you only get to pick one of three weapons. It'll have unlimited ammo, but you won't get any other help! As we mentioned in our WiiWare review said, Wave Attack is by far the most interesting game mode - The monsters are split up into waves, each one being harder than the last. After each cleared wave, a shopkeeper appears on the battlefield with a wide selection of items. You can use gold collected from enemies (which only appears in this mode) to carefully make a selection of what to buy, be it ammo, health, or new weapons. No pickups appear in this mode other than gold, so you'll have to buy everything.

If the gameplay doesn't immediately make you think of Robotron and Smash TV, the controls certainly will. The D-Pad moves your character around while the face buttons change the direction he aims. Holding one of the face buttons for longer than a split second will make your character begin to endlessly fire in that direction. There are also touch-screen controls, if you feel like making use of the DSi's special abilities, although they're not really a necessity. They work very smoothly, and actually seem like a slightly better pick than button controls.

Obviously, being exactly the same as the WiiWare version, the same problems are still here. While it's a nice throwback to the old days, the game just isn't that interesting because you'll constantly be playing on the same exact stage you picked at the start - it doesn't periodically change or toss in boss fights like in Smash TV. Only one mode, Wave Attack, is likely to hold your attention for more than one session as it at least has you make some strategic choices as far as your loadout goes, rather than just mindlessly running around until you die.

Conclusion

Aside from the lack of WiFi leaderboards, Dracula: Undead Awakening on DSiWare is exactly the same as the WiiWare version. For some reason it's half the price at 500 points, plus, of course, it has the advantage of being portable — it's a no-brainer that this version of the game has the upper hand. Still, the core gameplay just isn't really that interesting, with only one mode truly worth bothering with. If you've got both a Wii and a DSi and are interested in the game, get this version, but otherwise, don't bother, as it'll get boring rather fast.

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