Ill get the most important points out of the way quick.
Is this game older? Yes. 2003 to be precise.
Does its age show in graphics? Yes, despite being around the same time as games like Unreal Tournament 2003/4, its still a very old and barebones game, visually.
But is it fun? Quite so.
The very first time you go through this game, you will be slow, unsure and downright inefficient. Youll use your precious ammo in far too high a quantity on enemies that you could slap down with ease. Youll walk into easily avoidable traps... and.. oh yeah, some of the people you are there to save WILL DIE.
The very first time i went through this game, despite all the difficulties i had due to various members of the group dying (and hence i dont get the items they give you) it was one of the most enjoyable times of gaming.
I recently bought it when i saw it was on steam (it actually disappeared from most locations you could get it for a few years, basically requiring a torrent to acquire), and played through it again. Despite finishing it easily in less than a couple of hours, it still remained just as enjoyable from the very start to end.
You are given multiple weapons, with varying uses and effectiveness of each one. You start with just a cane sword and stakes to begin with, but then acquire the flintlock pistol (and a short time later the rifle too, but its basically just a slightly more powerful and ranged flintlock pistol). Then if you do well enough youll find the revolver, grail and machine gun.
But funnily enough, the pistol and rifle are actually powerful enough to get you through the majority of the game, so it still remains playable no matter how badly you are doing.
Now, the focus of this game is to save your family members and kill the big boss vampire and his minions. Typical story, but useful enough in this situation.
There are two ways your family members get killed in this:
1. You take too long to find them. Every few in game hours one of your family members dies off in order, assuming you havent saved that one already. Meaning if you take too long to find someone, they get killed and you cant open their suitcase to get their item (some of which are VERY useful).
2. They get killed when youre bringing them back to the entrance. THIS PROBABLY WILL HAPPEN. Just saying this right now. Theres a good chance that the unfortunately terrible AI that control your family will get them killed more than once. When enemies attack they immediately either fart themselves into a corner in panic, or run a short distance away like an idiot. And once youve gone forward and cleared the enemies, you have to go back and tell the morons to start following you again. The fun part is when theyve followed you, but you still have to stop and walk back to them every 20ft because theyve gotten stuck on a box, or wall, or door that closed in their face and they somehow lack the ability to open it now. And if youre lucky, the MIGHT not lose half their health as they sprint down stairs and take fall damage. (your own character can do this quite frequently too.).
Now, That might make the game sound frustrating at best, but as long as you save your game frequently its not the biggest issue.
Also, unfortunately due to the simplicity of this game, i cant really describe much more without giving out spoilers or ruining parts of the game, but lets just say that the map is quite brilliantly designed. It weaves in and around itself, giving you more shortcuts and back paths as you acquire more keys and access the doors between rooms and floors. There are many hidden caches of items that are sometimes a savior, and other times a nasty trap to lure you into rooms.
Unfortunately the whole "Enemy hiding above doorway" idea is overused to all hell and becomes trivial when you hear the audio cue upon opening a door. Or just looking up and seeing the extended lintel.
But anyway, This is a real gem of a game, and despite its flaws and pains its a enjoyable experience. Truly one of the games of the last many years which really grasped the idea of how to make progressive and atmostpheric gameplay. A game which truly didnt rely on its graphics to sell it.
Twilight Stress Relief Simulator/10. Recommended.