Apple ][ - Rating: 8/10

Transylvania is a hybrid text/graphical adventure originally for the Apple ][. This was a big hit back in the day and was ported to just about every other 8-bit machine. I loved these types of adventure games but was really, really bad at them. In hindsight, most of them were brutally unfair and prone to the bad game design cliches of the era such as instant death and guess-the-verb puzzles. Still, I remember seeing screenshots of that menacing werewolf in issues of Softalk or A+ magazine and wanting to try this game.

Playing Transylvania for the first time after so many years, I was surprised by its fairness (for the most part). I played the slightly updated 1985 version which was recently clean cracked by 4am.

The first rule in attempting to beat an adventure game is to make a detailed map. This time I went all “pro-gear” by using Trizbort to digitally map the game world:

Transylvania Map

This map proved essential in evading the werewolf during the early phases of the game. Trying to escape through an exit that doesn’t exist will result in a quick death. With a basic knowledge of movie monster lore, you will eventually start to see what you need to do to get rid of this baddie. I only needed to turn to hints twice. The first time involved a darkened room. I was so preoccupied with finding a light source… must… get… lamp… I failed to try basic exploration within the darkened environment.

I required a second hint in, what I’d consider, the game’s only unfair puzzle. In order to get a crucial object you will need to perform an action that is described in one of the game’s “feelies”. So, if you plan to try to tackle this game (the 1985 version), seek out the original manual, etc. on the Web before playing.

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