DYLAN DOG: THE MURDERERS

A long torrid summer, simple folk start going mad as they are transformed into ferocious killers... This is only the beginning of the blood-filled nightmare which will transpire in a London castle where Dylan Dog alone must face the threat of the "murderers".
~ from the back of the box

Dylan Dog is a vastly underrated comic book series that mostly stayed in its native Italy. It began in the 80s but it still runs off-and-on to this day. Some English translations have come about both by fans and the big boys, with Dark Horse bringing a small selection to the American market in the late 90s. Most outside of its country of origin will best know it from the movies. Dellamorte Dellamore or Cemetery Man starring Rupert Everett takes place within the universe while the underrated Dylan Dog: Dead of Night starring Brandon Routh is a more Hollywood take on the franchise. Aquaman and Saw director James Wan was even in talks to do a TV series before a certain pandemic put it on hold.

Out of all of the media surrounding the horror-infused comic, the most obscure are the computer games. Developed by Simulmondo, they were a series of episodic cinematic platformers each sold with a related issue of the comic on the news stand. They did this with quite a few IPs, including Tex and Diabolik. None of these left their native Italy, except this more substantial outing - a full stand-alone release called The Murderers.

In this cinematic platformer, you control Dylan in as he explores a dusty mansion occupied by possessed aristocrats. While the comic it is based on - which was translated as Killers - is a right old romp, the story as it's presented in game is a little slim. Dialogue-free screens dispaly out-of-context images with which to garner the plot and I couldn't for the life of me figure it out. Even the puzzles, such as they are, are a little obtuse. You can interact with some switches in the background, but not others and you find yourself unsure as to their purpose. Sevel items can be picked up, such as a random book, note or key, and while the key is obvious, I couldn't figure out a reason for the others. With no text to offer clues, it does feel like you're flying blind.
 
The mansion is quite large, and even exploring through the many screen  is quite enjoyable, even if you don't have a goal in mind. You will encounter enemies in each of them, including knife-wielding butlers, drill bearing yuppies and women dressed in sleek ballgowns. The combat is a little weird, being less of a stand off than Prince of Persia's fights while also requiring quite specific moves. Holding the attack button puts you firmly in place as a tap towards the enemy will attack and away from them will defend. I did have trouble positioning Dylan so he could get off a good punch, and the non-existent sound effects left little tactile feedback. Thankfully, Dylan is quite robust with a generous life bar and a number of equipable weapons.

Your inventory loadout is also a little cumbersome, as you pick up and select items from the main menu. If you're in a position in which you can pick something up, it will indicate this by having a bubble with the item's icon pop up next to Dylan's head. Go into the menu by pressing Space, then highlight the up arrow and press fire. It will be moved to one of the five spots on the right. To put an item down at any point, select it from the list until the background is blue, then highlight and select the down arrow. Any items at your feet will show up in the space between the arrows.

As for weapons, this is more than a little unclear. You have two with you at all times; your fists and your gun. The gun has limited ammo, but it will down many enemies from afar with one hit. If you have it selected, it will flash and pulsate - the exact same way as a highlighted item. Until you have recognised the quirks, you might waste a few precious bullets when you only wanted to use your fists. Melee weapons, such as knives, take up one of the five spots and will reduce the number of hits needed in close quarter combat. It still takes a a fair few lunges to knock them out, but with the need to study attack and defense patterns, at least they tried to add some depth to the proceedings.
 
None of the negatives are enough to turn Dylan Dog into a, well, total dog. Even though I don't think I made much progress during my time with both the Amiga and DOS versions (both are pretty similar but have different intros and slightly altered menu controls), I enjoyed Dylan Dog: The Murderers quite a bit. It's not a classic or anything; it's just an above average romp with a gothic vibe and obvious budgetary limits. Coupled with a licence that deserves more love, and that'll do for me.


To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the PC version to modern systems and FS-UAE to emulate the Amiga version. Italian Manual, Copy Protection Codes, Walkthrough and a selection of English Translated Comics included. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 357 Mb.  Install Size: 469 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download

AMIGA
 

PC-DOS
 


Dylan Dog: The Murderers is © Simulmondo
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


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2 comments:

  1. Having no familiarity with Dylan Dog or any other Italian comics, this was an interesting read! The game doesn't seem quite a successful adaptation of the source material, but sadly that's all too often true. Adaptation is hard work at the best of times, and where games are concerned, all the more so.

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    1. Thanks. I wanted to play the episodic titles too, but they have more text to them. That's propbably why this one got a wider release - less to translate. Saying that, there is an adventure game that made it too, though I've not played it yet.

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