Round Table: Let's Talk About Castlevania

25 years of memories

Thomas Whitehead: Moving on from GBA, DS and Simon’s Quest remake dreams, let's look at the Wii titles. To start with Castlevania Judgement, due to this being a fighting game does it sit, in your view, within the series canon?

Damien McFerran: Judgement was a bad call by Konami, simple as that.

Christopher Ingram: I stayed far away from it.

Corbie Dillard: A cash-in title at best.

Dave Frear: Isn't that the game where the impractically dressed women stand around talking about their breasts?

Corbie Dillard: I think that's the new Pong Toss game.

Damien McFerran: It's just wrong on so many levels. The fighting isn't actually that bad, but the idea of bringing together characters from different time zones just smacks of desperation.

Corbie Dillard: I'm with Damo.

Damien McFerran: Plus, the designs were god-awful.

Dave Frear: Again, I don't think something different is necessarily bad, but not this.

Thomas Whitehead: Well, that was unanimous! Castlevania Rebirth, meanwhile, brought a retro-styled 2D game to WiiWare, what did you think of this?

Corbie Dillard: I loved it. I thought it offered up a lot of classic gameplay touches and some very nice visuals.

Damien McFerran: I'm ashamed to admit I've never played it, which is terrible when you consider it's exactly the kind of Castlevania I've been praying for Konami to make for years. Maybe one of our kind readers can gift it to me. Hint.

Corbie Dillard: Was it perfect? No. But it was solid.

Christopher Ingram: It was about time! Fantastic game and one of WiiWare’s best titles.

Dave Frear: I only purchased it quite recently but I think it’s a decent enough game. Quite newcomer-friendly too with the easier mode and adjustable life-count.

Thomas Whitehead: Indeed. Being a wimp at times, I was grateful for the option to turn off the 'classic' style of leaping backwards when hit. What a relief!

Corbie Dillard: A part of me still wishes they'd have built upon it and released it as a retail title.

Dave Frear: There's many other games from the series I'd rate higher but it's a solid entry with a variety of things for you to see. If anyone's looking to try out the series, this £7 (or regional equivalent) download would be a good starting point.

Corbie Dillard: It was a nice bone to toss us old-school Castlevania fans and we appreciate it.

Damien McFerran: Indeed.

Christopher Ingram: Exactly! Also a vast improvement on the GB original, on which it is based. A vast improvement.

Thomas Whitehead: Next up, what do you think is next for Castlevania on Nintendo, either 3DS or Wii U?

Corbie Dillard: I hope they go 3DS, because I think it's the perfect platform for a good 2D Castlevania game with the depth of 3D.

Dave Frear: Yeah a 2D style Castlevania with some fancy 3D effects could work really well.

Damien McFerran: I think Castlevania's 2D days are slowly coming to a close. Lords of Shadow has proven that there is a receptive audience for a 3D Castlevania, although ironically it's mostly people who have never played the 2D ones. I think we'll see a 3D Castlevania on the 3DS, and possibly one on the Wii U.

Christopher Ingram: 3DS please! Playing the Ambassador games just feels so right on the 3DS and I think it's a perfect fit for these types of game to transition to.

Corbie Dillard: Someone get me a petition.

Damien McFerran: With fries…

Christopher Ingram: I'll sign it!

Dave Frear: I agree, but there's no way Wii U will get a 2D Castlevania so I see 3DS as our only hope.

Damien McFerran: I wish Konami would do a proper collection of all the Castlevania games.

Dave Frear: The first three NES games were released on a PC disc with a couple of Contra games but it's strange there haven't been more collections.

Thomas Whitehead: I can see the 3DS, bizarrely, becoming a haven for 2D platformers with depth, long term. It could be a good way for Konami to produce a new Castlevania on a small budget.

Damien McFerran: True. I just think that Konami knows now that it can make a commercially and critically successful 3DS entry.

Corbie Dillard: Once I saw what Renegade Kid was doing with Mutant Mudds on 3DS, it really blew me away with the possibilities for 2D platformers in 3D depth.

Christopher Ingram: I'm actually shocked we haven't seen more 2D titles on DSiWare. I hope that the eShop fares much better in this genre as I see it as a perfect place for developers to take the risk for publishing nostalgic games — worked wonders for WayForward!

Corbie Dillard: I just think Castlevania will always work best in 2D. At least for me, personally.

Damien McFerran: Me too.

Corbie Dillard: Some games just don't translate to 3D very well (ahem, Sonic).

Damien McFerran: Indeed. I think so much of Castlevania's appeal is the detailed 2D visuals.

Thomas Whitehead: Finally, of all your Nintendo experiences with the series, which is your favourite game? You have to pick one...

Corbie Dillard: I will always love Simon's Quest the most. To me, start to finish, it's the best overall Castlevania experience out there.

Thomas Whitehead: Interesting, Corbie!

Corbie Dillard: And I apologise to our esteemed News Editor, James Newton, for the Sonic comment!

Damien McFerran: Tough one. For me, it's a close run thing between Castlevania IV and Belmont's Revenge. If I was really pushed, I'd say Castlevania IV.

Christopher Ingram: Belmont's Revenge (Game Boy).

Thomas Whitehead: Castlevania IV for me too: I've been replaying it this week, it's just epic.

Dave Frear: Well I really like both Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and Super Castlevania IV, but today I'm going to go with Rondo of Blood. It has a really impressive first level with things in flames, skeletons bursting through windows and giant rock monsters, and then it gets better.

Damien McFerran: I wish I'd played Rondo back in the day, I think I would have liked it more than I do now.

Dave Frear: I really liked the stage with the ships, and there's a great moment later on with a very long and crumbly bridge with huge bats attacking you. I love the music in it as well, the usual things like Vampire Killer. Track two sounds like it’s from a game show, but somehow it still works. Cracking game, cracking soundtrack.

Rondo of Blood — it has a really impressive first level with things in flames, skeletons bursting through windows and giant rock monsters, and then it gets better.

Christopher Ingram: Believe it or not, Aria of Sorrow follows a close second for me.

Damien McFerran: Aria is great, the best GBA one.

Corbie Dillard: I love Rondo and always will, but if I was going for second place it would be the original Casltevania on NES.

Damien McFerran: Wow, over Dracula's Curse?

Corbie Dillard: Yup.

Damien McFerran: If I could have picked any game, I think Bloodlines would have been in there with a shot. I wish Konami would release it on the Wii Virtual Console.

Corbie Dillard: I still love Bloodlines, but it has a very different feel to it. In a good way.

Christopher Ingram: Also, most people seem to not know that the original Castlevania is remade for PSone, called Castlevania Chronicles. It's fantastic! It plays exactly like the original, but the graphics have gotten an overhaul. Love it!

Damien McFerran: I'd just like to say before we finish that the Cloud Castle music in Belmont's Revenge makes me want to weep openly with joy.

Thomas Whitehead: On that point, I think we’ll bring this round table to a close.

Corbie Dillard: I'm going to go and start the "Remake Simon's Quest" petition.

So, as Corbie rushes off to begin his quest for a Castlevania II remake, the rest of us are going to enjoy some classic Castlevania gaming. We’d love to hear your memories of the series or thoughts on what’s been said in the comments below.

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