1895 (or maybe 1897), Draxylvania. Mona de Lafitte, a young, up-and-coming Parisian opera singer, is in dire straits — specifically, the disgustingly-clingy arms of one Shrowdy von Kiefer. The vampire Baron of Castle Warg, he has kidnapped Mona and placed her under a curse which is curiously identical to vampirism, but not, Mona adamantly maintains, actually vampirism. But one night, while Shrowdy is out collecting Mona's "wine" ("a salty-tasting merlot with an iron aftertaste," remarks her pet bat Froderick), a pair of vampire hunters happen across the greasy little turd and give Mona the light of hope. Now she has to use her wits (hopelessly inadequate), Froderick's help (if he can stop cracking wise), and her environment (now we're getting somewhere) to escape Draxylvania and return to Paris.A Vampyre Story (yes, the 'y' is correct) is a point-and-click adventure game released at the end of 2008, starring Mona, an opera singer and new vampire, and Froderick, a small bat she pals around with, plus a creative cast of supernatural supporting characters (and a curious abundance of cops). Many of the employees of Autumn Moon Entertainment, the developers, used to work for Lucasarts, and some of the design sensibilities came along for the ride. Most obvious is the action coin interface-in addition to Curse of Monkey Island's Look-Talk-Touch, Mona has the option to transform into a bat to further use and abuse her environment. You can also "use" your sidekick Froderick, in the vein of a Lucasarts-era adventure gaming icon (hint: think long ears).
Butt Monkey: Rufus the gargoyle. A good rule of thumb is that if you're ever stuck, you're not pissing Rufus off enough.
Cats Are Mean: Mona persists in thinking of Pyewacket, the Baroness' old familiar, as a cute, harmless little kitten. The local rats think of her as twenty pounds of furry death. When you finally meet her, she's not actually hostile, but she's considerably less fluffy than Mona would like to believe.
Civilized Animal: Well, bird in this case. Edgar the raven reads the newspaper and does laundry.
Expospeak Gag: Mona gets a "Vampirism For Dummkopfs" book late in the game, detailing her abilities and limitations as a vampire. Froderick summarizes each page, as Mona has neither the attention span nor the intellectual capacity to read it herself, but there is actual text there and you can (with difficulty-it's a fancy typeface) read what it has to say on your own, which is often quite amusing.
Eye of Newt: The ingredients for the golem activation potion, including literal eye of newt. But it's the middle of winter so there are no newts to be found. Fortunately, lateral thinking prevails, and the eye from a picture of a newt in a coloring book makes an adequate substitute.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Draxylvania. The opening scene of the game even lampshades this, typing a few letters from the word "Transylvania", then erasing that and typing Draxylvania instead.
Gilded Cage: Although unkept and decaying, Mona's tower still bears the mark of luxury. She has her own personal room and even her very own theatre.
Froderick's is a more literal version. When he tries to play it up like he's done time on the inside, Mona takes the wind out of his sails by pointing out that he's only allowed to have street cred if the cage is unpleasant, and further opines that between the comfortable sleeping arrangements and all the fruit and nuts he wants, the fact that it's shiny and attractive is just icing on the poser cake.
Groin Attack: Shrowdy has a special device in his torture chamber specifically designed for this purpose. Mona ends up using it to crush a different kind of nuts, though...
Calling it "love" is a bit of a stretch. "Psychosis masquerading as affection," possibly.
If I Can't Have You: Shrowdy is willing to let Mona be killed by the first rays of the sun unless she agrees to return to his castle.
Info Dump: Choosing to talk to Froderick yields a flashback to an exposition-heavy conversation which is useful for getting the backstory across, but in context is kind of awkward since about half of it is stories that the characters themselves already know.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mona is usually reluctant to bite people, but when she sees how poor Mina Stoker has been run ragged, she actually goes on to great lengths to scare her lout of a husband into changing his Straw Misogynist ways.
Love at First Sight: The opening credits of the game imply that Shrowdy von Kiefer fell in love at first sight with Mona de Lafitte, the game's heroine.
They also imply that a jealous rival at the academy saw this and used it to her benefit; apparently she was aware of his habit of making off with young women in this fashion. If you try to make Mona fly to the crates behind the Vlad Landing's stadium, she mentions the last name of that rival: it's Van Helsing.
Loving a Shadow: It is implied that the main reason Shrowdy kidnapped and transformed Mona into a vampire was her uncanny resemblance to his missing mother.
Mad Love: Shrowdy's obsessive love for Mona, who (understandably) hates his guts. It gets creepier when it is revealed that Mona has an uncanny resemblance to Shrowdy's mother.
Missing Mom: The Baroness von Kiefer, Shrowdy's mother, left the castle one day and never returned. It is implied that she was tricked by a mysterious character known as the Stranger and that she fell into some kind of trap.
Noodle Incident: See Info Dump above-when Froderick startles Mona out of her flashback, she cries, "Am I dressed?!" One wonders precisely what she's been up to in the past to prompt such a response.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Shrowdy von Kiefer. As if looking like a caricature vampire, being bossed around by the woman he kidnapped and mocked by the rest of his castleís residents wasnít enough, he also loves coloring books and uses a sippy cup. However, the iron maiden describes him attacking and beheading one of his motherís prisoners with an axe and implies that he disposed of the other girls he kidnapped after he grew bored of them. He turns out to be so fixed in his obsession with Mona that he refuses to die and continues to haunt her even after he was staked by two traveling monks. He prevents her from leaving his castle despite being aware that it would mean her death, since Mona needs blood to survive.
Our Vampires Are Different: Shrowdy von Kiefer initially seems to be a run-of-the-mill (if clingy) vampire, but he turns out to be a much bigger nuisance, if not actually a credible threat, than the plot summary up above would have you believe. More obviously, the spelling of the word "Vampyre" in the title.
One minor addition to vampire lore is the rule that holy symbols can be neutralized by black cloth.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Mona's actress attempts to maintain both a French accent and a stereotypical vampire accent at the same time, with varying amounts of success.
Prequel: An episodic prequel called A Vampyre Story: Year 1 will be released in 2011. The game will consist of five episodes and will cover the first year spent by Mona in Draxylvania. Word Of God says that Mona spent many years locked up before Shrowdy finally got what was coming for him, leaving Autumn Moon open to take pot luck on exactly how long Mona's been cooped up in Castle Warg, until they get sick of making episodic prequels.
Psychopathic Manchild: Shrowdy von Kiefer. He kidnaps and obsessively courts young women who look very similar to his mother and it is hinted that he disposes of them once he grows bored of their company. When he's not pestering Mona, he occupies himself with coloring books and a visit to his dining room reveals that he still uses a sippy cup.
Ravens and Crows: One raven, anyway. Edgar isn't really a portent of doom in particular (he's actually a pretty nice guy), unless, of course, you happen to be Rufus.
Scenery Porn: Some of the backgrounds from the game are hauntingly beautiful.
Sequel Hook: The game ends halfway through the story proper, and promises more of Mona and Froderick in A Vampyre Story 2.
Shout Out: Generally to old adventure games. Pyewacket herself bears a marked resemblance to a lagomorph made famous by the bygone era of Lucasarts, and Froderick's quips about purple tentacles may also bring back memories. Other examples would be Red Bovine, a drink found in the castle which can refer to both Red Bull and Crimson Cow, the seamstress Mina Stoker, named after the author and one of the characters of Dracula, a half burnt wedding dress with the name "Miss Havisham" on its tag (a reference to Charles Dickens' Great Expectations) and the song "Who Let the Wolves Out?" just to name a few.
Right-Hand Cat: Pyewacket used to be the Baroness von Kiefer's familiar and posessed magical powers.
Too Dumb to Live: Constable, the policeman inspecting Mona's coffin that she used as a boat, talk about how this coffin belonged to a woman, with a bat pet and she wear black and purple and has black hair...while you're standing in front of him, a woman who fit the exact description.
Torture Cellar: The von Kiefer family has one (which also doubles as a bedroom for Shrowdy and a very unwilling Mona), complete with torture devices, iron maiden and a pit for the disposal of human remains.
That Cloud Looks Like: If you exit Mona's tower and go on the gargoyle bridge, you'll notice that the clouds have various shapes, ranging from spiders, witches on broomsticks and lizards.
Faces, presumably those of the dev team, can be made out in the slime dripping from the giant skull in the lab.
Unfinished Business: The ghost of the Irish woman refuses to move on to the afterlife because she is waiting for the man whom she fell in love with.
Vampires Are Sex Gods: Hilariously subverted with Shrowdy, as there is nothing even remotely attractive about him.
Dare I say, completely, absolutely accurate with Mona. Would you look at that figure!
Rufus begs to differ. Froderick starts to agree that Mona's not exactly his type, but Mona takes exception to him saying so while she's right there.
Vampire Invitation: Played straight; so straight, in fact, that Mona needs verbal invitation to enter a home whose front room doubles as a shop, even if the sign says "please come in".
Weirdness Censor: Parodied. Despite Werewolves and Vampyres being common knowledge, no one sees any link between the prevalence of unlucky pet bats, the "Anemia" epidemic, or the old folks home for people who never seem to grow old. Even Mona is in serious denial.
Wholesome Crossdresser: Froderick has to pretend to be a little girl (complete with dress!) to solve one puzzle. This completely fools the police officer you're trying to distract, even though six inches tall is rather more "little" than you usually get with little girls. Once you've accomplished your goal, he declares that he is never, ever going to crossdress for you again. Let's see a show of hands, anyone who thinks the universe will just let that comment go.