Brides Of Dracula

Gonzo Games

Status: No Download, Findability: 3/5

Brides Of Dracula was a strange game from a relatively unknown company on the C64, Gonzo Games. However, Paul Smith and Steve Howard were known from their days at Viz Design, where they had created Werewolves of London and Brides of Frankenstein. This new game would be an unofficial sequel to that latter game.

The game would feature a split screen huge smooth scrolling game area with nice GFX. You could enter various rooms or go outside picking up various weapons and solving puzzles with either 1 or 2 players controlling either Dracula or Van Helsing.

Encountered each other, you then would have the chance to hinder the other players progress. Similar in most ways to the Spy VS Spy trilogy with more to do etc.

Alan Botwright, the game’s creator, spoke to GTW and informed that the reason this game was never released, was due to the fact that Gonzo did not pay Alan or any of the team for their work and Gonzo Games subsequently disappeared. It is most likely that Gonzo Games went under before the C64 version could be finished and the team paid.

When asked about the game’s existence now, Alan replied.. “It was 98% finished! I Might have an old version in a floppy disk somewhere. Unfortunately I now longer own a 64 or disk drive!”

With some more contacting to do with Alan, and possibly the off chance of him allowing GTW to find the game, we may see the game one day soon in the archives. A competition was ran in Zzap 64 (87), as with Daffy Duck, and the following people were promised a copy of the game with a leather jacket with the game’s artwork.

Mr M Yeoman, Kenton, Middlesex wins game plus leather jacket with game artwork on back. Runners-up are; Mr A Fraser, Moy, Inverness-shire; Master E Frawley, St Pauls, Glos; Chris Pearce, Meole Village, Shropshire; Steve Bromfield, Ashton-under-Hill, Evesham; David Madon, Hemsworth, W Yorks)

Did any of these people get a full game? It is very unlikely, as Alan confirmed that the game wasn’t actually finished. In 2014, we got in touch again and the news wasn’t great. Alan has many disks, but it is unknown what is on them – most will be just random code from his demo coding days.

There could well be Brides work on some of the disks, but they will likely be in PC format – as the game was developed on a PDS based system. Alan offers hope that some day it could be dug out, but with family commitments – it may never happen. GTW has offered its assistance with checking out any disks and preserving though, so you never know.

Paul Smith of Gonzo Games could now be the last remaining hope, but with a name so common on the internet – we may never find him. Alan suggests he was the last person to have the game for certain and the development system itself. Could Paul be found some day to shed some light?

Contributions: Alan Botwright, Peter Weighill, John Christian Lønningdal, Fabrizio Bartoloni

Supporting content

Creator speaks

Jason Green speaks about work on Brides Of Dracula…

“I was doing the artwork for Alan’s C64 version. The Amiga and ST versions were completed at which point the company owner, Paul Smith, skipped out of the country with our money. The C64 version wasn’t completed at this point, so its progress was halted.

I don’t know about the C64 music, the audio bloke for all versions was George Wilkons. It played okay, pretty much like the other versions but less complete.

I don’t have anything on disk of the C64 version.

Ah well.”

Jason Green .

Update history

  • 13/12/19 – Added scan thanks to Fabrizio Bartoloni
  • 20/12/16 – Updates with links to Viz design established.
  • 20/07/14 – Alan Botwright confirms that the game could be lost, but offers hope that the disks will be somewhere.

7 Responses to Brides Of Dracula

  1. I was dating Paul Smith for three or four years ( whilst he was also dating a nice lady in St Ives) during this development period and that of Werewolves etc.
    I funded programmers out of my benefit money whilst they pretty much lived & worked in our Crouch End home before relocating to St Ives.
    Steve Howard was enormously talented. Unfortunately Paul scammed us all.

    • Hi Katharine I remember you :)
      Been over a year since you posted.

      I escaped at the start of Brides so no discs here I’m afraid, but I do remember the initial work on the amiga and st.

      I remember getting a phone call one day at my new place of work.
      ‘You owe use £40,000 what are you going to do about it’

      despite that I do have a certain amount of nostalga for that period of my life, and I remember the crouch end flat too.. and waking up one morning there, having a glass of water, and then loosing the contents of my stomach which included a quantity of whisky… I hate whisky.

  2. I did my secondary school work experience at “The Software Business” in St. Ives and was fortunate to pretty much spend my entire time hanging around with the guys as they developed this game!

    From memory this company was the distributor for Gonzo Games, the dev guys literally lived in the back office of the building and I watched in awe as they developed the game, I remember Alan as I spent quite a bit of time watching and talking (distracting? annoying?!) him, I was in awe of the cross development system he was using…it was like black magic.

    Every morning I’d walk into that office, to the left was C64, straight ahead was the Amiga, right corner was the graphics and just to the right of the door was the ST version.

    • Thanks for sharing that Adrian! I don’t suppose you nabbed a preview copy of the game did you? ;)
      Joking aside, its good to hear a bit more detail about the game’s development – and especially the Software Business link, which I wasn’t aware of until now.

      • No problem, I have some strange affinity with this game as it was the first time I encountered real programmers – plus it was super cool that I’d actually met real games programmers!

        This is really bizarre, as I literally just did a search for “Bridges of Dracula” to see if I could have a play of it and I found this page which had just been updated!

        These guys also got mentioned in the “School Assembly” speech one day by the headmaster as he’d come to do my visit and was amused to find one of the guys asleep on the seats in the reception area!

        Unfortunately I didn’t grab a copy, but they did have a disk box full of master disks (mostly of gonzo games) which I used to play on! Nobody seemed to mind. I guess it’s a (very tiny) remote possibility that the director of the software business might have a copy, but I can’t remember his name and it was only him and the secretary in the office, they seemed to be a two man band!

        I hope you manage to get a copy of the C64 version as I’d love to have a play with it too! I remember alan asking which colour schemes I preferred on various bits and bobs – what a cool thing to do for a (probably annoying) work experience kid!

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