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Dracula's Return (Clara, masha & Sponge)
A Special Preview
by Jürgen aka Lara for Ever - May 2013
 




Introduction

Dracula's Return Title


Before talking about this new level set, a collaborative project from masha, Clara and Sponge, let me first ask you some questions. Do you like Vampires in movies? And if so, do you prefer them in real horror movies, not in such kitschy movies like "Twilight"? Well, I do, I love horror movies with vampires. There is only one exception, the wonderful classic movie from Roman Polanski, called "The Fearless Vampire Killers", a great Vampire parody from 1967, when subtle horror met humour. And I remember the wonderful actress Sharon Tate, the wife of roman Polanski, who died much too soon by murder, only two years after this movie. She only was 26 years old then...

Movie Poster


From a classic movie to Tomb Raider

So, what a great idea to take this classic movie as a basis for a new Tomb Raider project, putting Lara into a whole new and unusual world, the world of vampires generally and count Dracula especially. As I heard about this new level set the first time, I was very excited indeed. It sounded fascinating, but also incredible at the same time - Lara Croft, a fearless action heroine, in a game with horror and humour? Could this really be possible for a Customlevel? First I could not really imagine, but the more I learn about the project, the more I am excited looking forward to it. And I do believe this team can handle it, I believe thy can arouse this great vision...


Screenshots from Clara:

Transylvania

Clara - Transylvania


The Castle

Clara - The Castle


The Castle 2

Clara - The Castle 2


Horror

Clara - Horror


The Creation of Transylvania

Clara - The Creation of Transylvania



About the details

Let me first tell something about the story and background of this level set. The story, as I learned it from the team in broad outline:

The Story

"Lara is on her way through the mysterious country of Transylvania, driving with her jeep through snow-covered woods. Stopping at a graveyard Lara discovers the fresh grave of Abraham Van Helsing, the Vampire Hunter. With this exciting discovery Lara even finds more, an old diary - the personal diary of Van Helsing. Reading it Lara finds out that the events from the story of "The Fearless Vampire Killers" not only were true, but also some different as we all believed to know them. Van Helsing couldn't defeat Dracula in the end forever, so the evil Vampire master could escape with his prey - Sarah Chagal, the daughter of the Yoyneh Chagal, the host of Chagal Inn.
At once Lara decides to finish what Van Helsing started, to save Sarah and finally defeat Dracula. She follows the traces, which lead her to the castle of Dracula, the town Whitby in England, a Sanitary there, and finally back to the castle of Dracula again. Can Lara face and defeat the prince of darkness and still save Sarah?"

A wonderful story and continuation of the original movie, and I like this thought very much, to imagine, that I can get a part of this exciting world of Vampires myself, where Lara takes the role of Van Helsing to finish his lifework. And so let us take a look into the background of this story and level set, to see what we can expect in there...


Screenshots from masha:

Sanitary 1

Masha - Sanitary 1


Sanitary 2

Masha - Sanitary 2


Sanitary 3

Masha - Sanitary 3


The creation of the Sanitary 1

Masha - The creation of the Sanitary 1


The creation of the Sanitary 2

Masha - The creation of the Sanitary 2



The Background

As I was told by the team this new level set will be a mixture, a mixture from the original story from Bram Stoker "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and the classic movie "The Fearless Vampire Killers". There will also be elements not included in the original movie, as the town Whitby and the sanitary of Dr Sewards - you can really find those elements in the original story of Bram Stoker. This is very interesting, and I am sure it will make this level set still much more intense.
But there was another thought I wanted to learn about, as the limits of Customlevels and the possibilities of Lara make some things very difficult. The problem I think of is about how can Lara fight with her enemies. Because what would be the use of her weapons, if they - normally - can not kill Vampires, but Lara can (technically) not use other weapons? How would the team solve this problem, or will this be changed for the level set, so Vampires can be killed by normal guns?
I am very relieved that there is a solution for this problem. I do not want to reveal too much yet, but I can say this much at least, there will not be a battle between Lara and Dracula with her simply shooting him down. The team has found other solutions and different ways to show us an exciting gameplay, and I am looking forward very much playing this in the level set. You can really be curious about, as the team puts much emphasis on a story always staying logical...

What else will we find in this level set?

Further the team told me, this game will include innovative puzzles, moderate timeruns and interesting jump combinations. But this is not all, of course, as we also will meet a range of droll persons, there are a lot of cut scenes and an exciting and humorous background story, which will lead us through the whole story. The makers will link own ideas with elements from Bram Stoker‘s novel and scenes from the classic movie "The fearless Vampire Killers". Wouldn't that sound exciting?


Screenshots from Sponge:

Whitby 1

Sponge - Whitby 1


Whitby 2

Sponge - Whitby 2


Whitby 3

Sponge - Whitby 3


Whitby 4

Sponge - Whitby 4



What tools does the team use to create this level set?

As I was told the team of course use the TRNG-Leveleditor, and they use it with TREP and Larsons extentions of TREP. For objects - and I was told there will also be new objects again for this project - there will also be used Metasequoia. For more details know then, that Sponge builds all objects on his own for his level, and also masha has yet build a lot of own objects for her part of this game. For Clara this is the first try at all with Metasequoia, and the result, a round table, can be seen in the castle of Dracula. Further new objects in Claras level are from masha and Sponge. As the team told me all those new objects had simply been needed for such an unusual project as "Dracula returns"...

How much levels do we get in this game?

Here also still a view onto the levels of this game. There will be five of them, with the following names:

1. Transylvania (Clara)
2. Dracula's Castle (Clara)
3. Whitby (Sponge)
4. Dr. Seward's Sanatorium (Masha)
5. Dracula's Castle (Clara)
6. Dracula's Castle (Clara)

Conclusion

This first preview, with all the elements I could learn from the team, only shows one thing to us. We can expect a great new level series from this innovative team, which yet brought us another wonderful project, called "The Jerusalem Project". Now they rejoined again for this new project, and we can expect nothing less than another big and great level set. And about a release date, as I was told we will be able to play this project in June - not so long to still wait any more then...



(Addition: older screenshots, released at laraslevelbase.org)
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