News Article

Lords of Shadow to Feature Classic Nintendo Castlevania Music

Posted by Damien McFerran

Super Castlevania IV's brilliant soundtrack is coming back from the dead

Castlevania producer David Cox has tweeted that the upcoming PS3/360 title Lords of Shadow is to feature classic tunes from older instalments of the series - more specifically the fourth title, which appeared on the SNES in 1991.

Here's the tweet:

Today I heard the waterfall music from Super Castlevania 4 fully orchestrated and it made me cry.

When asked if this meant that old tunes were getting dusted off for the new game, Cox said "Yep some here and there."

While Nintendo owners are obviously missing out on this next-gen reboot of the vampire-hunting series it's heart-warming to know that Konami is still keen to at least make some connection with the past; Lords of Shadow is lookging great but some fans have expressed concern that it will deviate a little too harshly from the usual Castlevania blueprint.

Just in case you need reminding how amazing Super Castlevania IV's music is, here's a sample:

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User Comments (22)

JamieOStaff

#2

JamieO said:

Still this is good new for everyone looking forward to playing Lords of Shadow, because if they are taking care and attention to get the retro tunes right, then they may be able to re-create aspects of the classic gameplay.

However, as Damo says, it is still up in the air about how true this iteration will be to the 'real deal' Castlevania titles. From my understanding, the series has simply not been effectively represented from a 3D perspective, when compared to the 2D classics. It is just a case of wait and see, I think the word that I'm looking for is, "hmmmmmm".

DamoAdmin

#3

Damo said:

Jamie - it's also rather worrying that Konami has stated that this episode takes place outside of the official canon.

JamieOStaff

#4

JamieO said:

@Damo I know mate, remember ages ago when I tweeted you with my excitement about Kojima's role in Lords of Shadow, when really I was being a bit naive by overstating the depth of his involvement.

I think we are justified in being quietly apprehensive about this one. That way if it turns out to be a blinder we can all buzz off it and celebrate its greatness. However, if it sucks then at least we will have not built it up to be a monumental progression for the series, on the level of Metroid Prime's transition from 2D to 3D.

**** edit: Although I remember in the early preview days of GCN Metroid Prime, there were magazines who were nervous that Retro Studios would not be able to represent 2D Metroid from a first person perspective. They were unsure if Retro would still create Metroid's progressive gameplay, in which new areas were uncovered by earning power-ups, using what looked like a FPS engine. Their concerns were unnecessary, now that we have the gift of hindsight. ****

Caliko

#6

Caliko said:

I dont like the idea. Why can't they just orchestrate original music for this original game. Borrowing from a classic like castlevania will make it lose a lot of its individuality and luster.

To be fair the first song in that video originated from Castlevania II.

P.S. I'm currently playing Castlevania IV and the game is really good and not punishingly difficult(yet). I'm on stage A-1. The stage after stage IX.

EDIT: I didn't know this "Lords of Shadow" was actually a Castlevania game, the article assumes you know. So I wouldn't mind the series' music recreated. I still would like to see less recycled songs and more originality, leaving the classic songs behind with the classic games, and the new music in the new games creating more individuality and new classics.

Pegasus

#7

Pegasus said:

I find Damo's comment about it being non-canon quite amusing. From all the various Castlevania games I've played, I found that their stories are laughable at best. So to worry about that aspect seems rather silly to me. You want me to kill Dracula yet again? Why didn't you say so? =P

I'm definitely curious in seeing how this one will turn out. Just because it may not be that Metroidvania so many people have become comfortable with doesn't mean it's going to be bad game. Hell, take the Castlevania backdrop with its werewolfs, ghouls, ghosts, and other assortments of beasties and it could end up quite a fun action romp.

darklinkinfinite

#8

darklinkinfinite said:

I've honestly never been on board with the whole "there's never been a good 3D Castlevania" game. I loved the N64 games and if you read the game's initial reviews, they were pretty positive at the time, mostly around 8's out of 10 and many publications proclaiming that it was a good start for the series in 3D. Even looking at the user reviews for the game, both games' reception was overwhelmingly positive. Hell, Legacy of Darkness is my personal favorite game in the series for several reasons.

Then who knows what happened but the entire world seemed to turn on the two N64 games and suddenly what was considered a good start for the series in 3D became Castlevania's shame, leaving the door open for Igarashi's lame attempt at 3D Castlevania where platforming gave way to incredibly repetitive level design and derivative combat.

Digiki

#9

Digiki said:

The new Castlevania will feature new versions of old songs?

Wow, I never would've guessed they've only been recycling the music forever. (Which is great since the recycled songs are always the phenomenal ones)

WildPidgeyAppears

#10

WildPidgeyAppears said:

@Pegasus: the story in Castlevania is convoluted at best. It's ridiculous because Igarashi thinks his story is hot excrement...I'm glad he's not involved because he strikes me as being extremely arrogant, acting as though Castlevania is his "baby", even though he only signed on as a producer midway through the series' lifespan and didn't create it originally.

He probably doesn't want them muddling with his precious "timeline" which contradicts itself and makes no sense as-is. Not only that, he eliminated that GBC Legends game from the canon just because the main character was a girl...

Sorry, I love the guy's games but I do not like Igarashi himself. But I'm all for classic songs, the original soundtracks in the PS2 games were all right but few tracks were memorable.

Sorry for the ranting, I get very irate when it comes to Koji and his precious "story".

Mike1

#11

Mike1 said:

@8. darklinkinfinite
I agree the N64 Castlevania games were great. I also enjoyed the PS2 games as well.

opeter

#12

opeter said:

Wow, a Castlevania game not for a Nintendo console? Anyway, I did got my PS3 this week, so no problem with that.

JamieOStaff

#14

JamieO said:

Fair play, there is lots of food for thought in the above comments. @darklinkinfinite and @Mike are right the reviews I have read reviews for the 3D N64 titles have generally been in the 7's and 8's, and to a point these generalised scores also apply to the PS2 games. Therefore, they are still decent games.

However, I would still argue that there had not been a 3D Castlevania which has been as majestic as Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night, but I put my hands up and admit that I have not actually played any of the 3D Castlevanias. I have based my opinion on what other people say and what I've read, which completely diminishes my argument really. If other gamers have played the 3D titles lots, then that holds more weight in my opinion.

I am also a bit biased, because I love 2D sprite games so much. Also, Symphony of the Night was released on PlayStation in 1997 and Konami's devs were dab hands at 2D game design by that point. The first N64 game was released in 1999, so loads of improvements have been made in third person 3D game design since then, over the last 11 years. I have both a N64 and PS2, so there is no reason why I can't do a bit of background research on the joys of 3D Castlevanias. I could go on the hunt for N64 Castlevania and Legacy of Darkness, as well as PS2 Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness.

Fact is I would be much happier if Lords of Shadow is amazing and I hope that it exceeds people's expectations. Fingers crossed, then.

Smileoscar

#15

Smileoscar said:

@Egg meister
I guess you've played it, becuase how else would you know that it will suck? Wait, you haven't? Then how do you know the game's not good?

ShadowFlame76

#16

ShadowFlame76 said:

He knows because.. ummmmmm..hmmmmmmmmm, wait. he has NO way of knowing, probably just upset it won't be on the Wii..

Wii & 360 = :-)

darklinkinfinite

#17

darklinkinfinite said:

@JamieO The N64 Castlevania games don't have the same feel to them as Rondo/Symphony, not because they're not great games, but its just a different artistic direction that the designers wanted to take with the game. I think one reason the N64 games are so looked down upon is that they were the first console Castlevania games released after Symphony of the Night had brought the new gameplay style to the series. People, I guess, were expecting that gameplay and art direction but in 3D.

I've personally always felt that the N64 games had more in common with the "classic" Castlevania games, like 1-4, than the modern, post-SotN, games had. The character archetypes are similar and I think especially the gameplay. The N64 games aren't really about combat, which if you think about it, the old games weren't either. Instead, the biggest enemy in the N64 games was the environment themselves, punctuated with a few battles here and there.

Another reason the N64 games may be looked down on is that they're a bit more atmoshpheric and ambient than prior game. As beautiful as Symphony of the Night was, I never really felt like I was in the castle, so much as I was watching a sprite move through, admittedly beautiful environments. The N64 games definitely work towards putting you in the environment, often by using music that is much more subdued than what Castlevania players were expecting. To this day, the Villa is an incredible location, and I have never been more frightened in a Castlevania game than I was wandering the hedge maze at [the game's] night, nor have I ever felt the immensity of the Castle as I did standing on the clockface and looking down. This is one of the major things the latter 3D Castlevania games were missing. Though made a generation later the games show that Igarashi really doesn't understand the finer points of designing a game in 3D since the levels, though beautifully decorated, were monotonous and boring to play through since they were basically just squares and hallways for you to fight enemies in (epitomized by the Tower of Eternity in CoD, 50 identical floors/rooms of enemies) instead of giving the environment a presence all its own.

Lament of Innocence may have received similar reviews to Castlevania 64, but I honestly feel that those scores are mostly slanted upwards because the feel of the game is closer in line to what they want post-SotN, despite the mediocre combat system and repetitive level design. By Curse of Darkness, the honeymoon period had worn off and they were much more critical of Curse of Darkness' defficiencies, which were all present in Lament of Innocence to begin with.

Anyways, if you plan on picking up one of the N64 games, skip the original "Castlevania" and just buy "Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness." The latter is something of a director's cut that includes four playable characters: the two from the original N64 game plus two additional ones. There are very minor differences between the levels in CV64 and their equivalents in Legacy of Darkness. There's also some very brief voice acting in the original that was removed from LoD.

What I love about LoD is that, unlike the additional playable characters in the SotN style games that are basically thrown in without a story and are "just for fun," all the characters in LoD have their own well written and well presented stories with an interesting cast of characters that take them through different parts of the Castle. Cornell's tale takes place prior to all of them and the ending directly links to Reinhardt, and Carrie's story. Henry's game is more of a sidequest and while it doesn't have the narrative the other characters do, his story is nonetheless related to the other characters.

JamieOStaff

#18

JamieO said:

Wow! That is the second time in about a week that a sound Nlife member has given me a detailed synopsis of a retro game, to help me decide on a purchase. @Starboy91 did exactly the same thing when he recommended SNES Super E.D.F to me in the U.N. Squadron review. I love the way in which Nlifers share knowledge, I can't get enough of learning more about retro.

Therefore, thanks lots @darklinkinfinite and apologies that it has taken me so long to reply. You have saved me time and money, by ultimately recommending N64 Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness.
I really like the classic pre-Symphony of the Night Castlevania games, too. Your description of the atmosphere and ambiance built in Legacy of Darkness, including it music and character story arcs, is a definite plus point for me. Fair play to your knowledge on 3D Castlevanias mate, including the PS2 games.

It was very kind of you to take the time to write this analysis. The only dilemma I have, is that I have been spending far too much money on games recently. I checked ebay and they have PAL LoD, but it is 'Buy it Now' £60!
Is LoD quite an expensive retro game then?

Nice one @darklinkinfinite :)

darklinkinfinite

#19

darklinkinfinite said:

@JamieO Wow that is quite expensive. Even the prices in the US have gone up significantly, now that I look at it. I bought my copy when the N64 was still current for $30 brand new. A few years ago I was trying to pick up the PAL versions of the two N64 games because I loved the box art so much. They both retain the feeling of the classic CV games.

I hope you can find a copy within your budget (I too know the what its like to spend too much on games) and thanks for the compliments. The N64 games are something of a passion of mine since I feel they've been unfairly treated as the black sheep in the series. I've been a huge Castlevania fan until recently as I've become more and more disillusioned with the direction Igarashi's taken the series, but that's a whole other can of worms that I won't get into right now.

Good luck finding a copy of the game though, most people that have played it really liked it. There's only one thing you're really missing out on by getting LoD over CV64 and I'll give it to you here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00lvWL0TCGc

...man I love that intro

JamieOStaff

#20

JamieO said:

@darklinkinfinite Spot on mate, the cover art for Legacy of Darkness is wonderful (nt. The version I have seen has skulls in the bottom left corner, the castle on the left with an orange sunset, bats flying past a huge half moon on the right and a ship sailing away on the bottom right).

The music on N64's Castlevania intro, which you posted is pretty darn gorgeous, as its tune glides between instruments. Is the 3D model of the castle from its intro the same one you explore in the game? Retro Gamer Issue 77 is out in the UK very soon and it has a double page screenshot spread on the N64's Castlevania (see 1:40 into youtube video).

As soon as I get a copy of that issue, I will let you know what they wrote about it. Cheers! :)

WanderFan91

#21

WanderFan91 said:

While I may not be a fan of Super Castlevania IV as many others are, I am a fan of the game's soundtrack. :)

darklinkinfinite

#22

darklinkinfinite said:

@JamieO You see that version of the castle (inspired by Mont St. Michel) in things like blurry 2D images on the horizon as you're working your way towards the Castle, but the game itself doesn't conform to that shape. The game world is just far, far larger than the model of the Castle would suggest. Also, the classic stairway from the clocktower to the Castle Keep returns beautifuly, but isn't represented in that depiction of the Castle. Its best not to think about it too much.

The NTSC covers for both games use CG renders while the PAL versions used traditional illustrations. The Japanese version of LoD also isn't very special, but its cover for Castlevania 64 is fairly nice.

And thanks, I'm looking forward to hear what they say. I'm hoping the reason the game's so expensive nowadays is because people are realizing it was never as bad as they were lead to believe (maybe the build up to Lords of Shadow has something to do with it as well. Backloggery.com had a live stream of Cornell's game not too long ago and the person playing it admitted that it wasn't as bad as the grapevine would have you believe.

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