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"Random Castlevania thread" , posted Thu 16 Aug 13:25post reply

With the recent Super Smash Bros. Direct featuring Simon, Richter, Alucard Assist Trophy, 34 Castlevania tracks that Sakurai's staff "were very eager to work on" (compared to Square-Enix's measley 2 tracks from FFVII), and a Dracula stage, the upcoming Season 2 of Netflix's Castlevania animated series coming this October, along with those previous rumors of Konami releasing a new Castlevania compilation/new game, I thought much like Dracula himself every 100 years, it would be appropriate to ressurect some form of discussion regarding Castlevania games...

As a person having not played Symphony of the Night, the prospect of a compilation does sound tantalizing, though it does beg question how the quality of the ports will turn out. (I do not mind these so-called changes made to Symphony of the Night in the Dracula X Chronicles compilation, for instance. All I care is that those pixels scale correctly and we don't run into emulation issues. Please give us Hexadrive/M2 staff!) Konami's development staff these days haven't been terribly bad... outside of Bomberman, though, it remains questionable. Here's hoping though that these compilations will finally get a much deserved PC port to be preserved for prosperity...

Speaking of which, I wonder what Cafe'ers think of post-SoTN-vanias. It seems we're all looking forward to Bloodstained, yet it still seems so far away. Meanwhile, it's nice to see more people give appreciation to the DS Castlevania's such as Dawn of Sorrow and Order of Ecclesia (and some who like Portrait of Ruin too). I was thinking into dabbling into Aria of Sorrow as I hear it constantly being praised as the best Castlevania since Symphony. It's a shame I have been burned so badly by Harmony of Despair that I ended up returning the game when I was a kid.

Since then, I've come to appreciate the art of discecting Metroidvanias, the latest of which I've played was Hollow Knight...But I felt there was something distinct about Castlevania's character movement that made it distinctly Castlevania. Maybe it's the Belmont strut, Shanoa's stride, or Alucards moonwalk? There was always something about those jumps (which I'm so thankful is recreated in Smash, at least aesthetically) that made the games kind of made the games feel commital, especially when it came to the appearance of goddamn bats and Medusa heads where you were either required to perform a jump followed by a midair whip, or an all-in-one jumpwhip.

There was just something I miss about those clanky mechanics..that I think have translated very well into modern day Metroidvanias such as...gasp...Dark Souls (which could be considered the Castlevania of Metroid Prime)!






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"Re(1):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Thu 16 Aug 15:01post reply

quote:
I thought much like Dracula himself every 100 years, it would be appropriate to ressurect some form of discussion regarding Castlevania games...

WHO HAS AWAKENED ME FROM MY DEEP SLUMBER

Are you the dark priest Shaft? Truly, this is the thread that must stay open or at least be revived periodically. And itís not even Halloween yet!
quote:
As a person having not played Symphony of the Night
?!?!

This must have been a typo, unless youíve been surviving on fast food burgers for all these years without tasting filet mignon (I have resolved to increase food metaphors at the Cafe).

The reality meanwhile is that even when it still understood video games, Konami sat on Vampire Killer/Bloodlines and other rare gems for years rather than making any money off of compilations (maybe due to the fact that the later Metroidvanias sold like one copy apiece in Japan, but still), so why now? M2 ports would be hot hot hot but we must sacrifice more virgins than normal this Halloween if thatís to happen.
quote:
I wonder what Cafe'ers think of post-SoTN-vanias.
While continuously trying to recreate Nocturne/Symphony on weaker systems with smaller budgets was an exercise in futility, I must admit that Minuet/Aria was quite good for what it was, and certainly better than the poorly designed and unplayably unbalanced Circle or the unlistenably bad Concerto/Harmony. Iíd had my fill after that, though Stolen Seal/Ecclesia looked very appealing, possibly due to the fact that it was no longer drawn by the rejected Shounen Jump artists theyíd resorted to after even Kojima Ayamiís glorious art didnít convince a single Gackt-loving DS owner in Japan to buy these things.
quote:
something distinct about Castlevania's character movement that made it distinctly Castlevania.
I completely agree that in addition to the atmosphere and music that all undead denizens of the Cafe love, all good games in the series have marvelously thoughtful movement and physics. Tim called it ďfrictionĒ in an excellent short piece on the mini-duels of precise movement that comprise Rondo, and I think it applies to the entire series. The Belmonts move like oafs compared with Mario, but both have focused on clearly defined physics with a sense of great impact to all moves (aided by perfect sound design) since the beginning. You know how good that whip feels when it hits a Medusa head with a crisp crunching sound during that perfect jump (during which it feels good to pull back even in games where the jump arc is not adjustable), whether youíre hapless Simon in the original or super Simon or (slightly) evolved Richter.
quote:
the appearance of goddamn bats

I believe you meant to type ďYou Goddamned Bathead!Ē





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"Re(1):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Thu 16 Aug 18:56post reply

Is there anything LESS random than a Castlevania thread on this BBS?

While Symphony is one of these holy white elephant nobody is allowed to speak ill of (as everyone who recognize Hollow Knight as a superior game knows by now), the fact most Castlevania follow-ups were chasing its tail hurt the series in the end. These aside...
Post Symphony, there was an original (remake of Castlevania 1?) game that was released on WiiWare and nowhere else (around the time of Rockman 9, and before Contra?) that was a very interesting study of "how do we iterate on the very first game while trying to forget all the other ones, while trying to make a modern game out of it?".
Ecclesia was a good game because it was trying to do the impossible split between the classic arcade structure of linear stages and the open labyrinth gradually opening as you get richer traversal options of Symphony. As it looked like it would be the last semi-ambitious Castlevania game at the time, it felt satisfying in its tentative to embrace the whole series one last time (in a weird game without a single Belmont. Was there even a whip in this game? I can't remember).







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"Re(2):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Thu 16 Aug 22:44post reply

quote:
there was an original (remake of Castlevania 1?) game that was released on WiiWare and nowhere else


The WiiWare game wasn't a remake of NES Castlevania 1, it was a remake of the first Gameboy Castlevania, Castlevania: The Adventure.

I've mostly heard positive things about it, from the few people that played it.





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"Re(1):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Thu 16 Aug 23:04post reply

quote:
With the recent Super Smash Bros. Direct featuring Simon, Richter, Alucard Assist Trophy, 34 Castlevania tracks that Sakurai's staff "were very eager to work on" (compared to Square-Enix's measley 2 tracks from FFVII), and a Dracula stage, the upcoming Season 2 of Netflix's Castlevania animated series coming this October, along with those previous rumors of Konami releasing a new Castlevania compilation/new game, I thought much like Dracula himself every 100 years, it would be appropriate to ressurect some form of discussion regarding Castlevania games...

As a person having not played Symphony of the Night, the prospect of a compilation does sound tantalizing, though it does beg question how the quality of the ports will turn out. (I do not mind these so-called changes made to Symphony of the Night in the Dracula X Chronicles compilation, for instance. All I care is that those pixels scale correctly and we don't run into emulation issues. Please give us Hexadrive/M2 staff!) Konami's development staff these days haven't been terribly bad... outside of Bomberman, though, it remains questionable. Here's hoping though that these compilations will finally get a much deserved PC port to be preserved for prosperity...

Speaking of which, I wonder what Cafe'ers think of post-SoTN-vanias. It seems we're all looking forward to Bloodstained, yet it still seems so far away

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


I did not play SOTN until late 2004. Looking for a good copy on Ebay was hard to come by for a good price. Because of all the hype and positive reviews, I had to buy one. Once I played the game, it felt as though it was nice but not all cracked up to be. This was after I played all the Post-SOTN games minus Aria. Same with Aria, did not play until 2013 I think and was less impressed. With that said, maybe not playing those games at the time of its release i wws not able to experience how well advanced it was presented.

With that said, Castlevania 64 and Circle are one of my favorites. Sounds weird yes. C64 just had that horror mysterious creepy vibe as you progress in that game. Yes I did broke three controllers in the process thanks to its wanky difficultly throughout, but I continued. The music was amazing also. It just gives a little chill in the spine and some goosebumps, I was young then.

Circle Moon felt to me more like.....really it's hard to say. I just felt that although presentation wise was not appaling, the gameplay and progression seemed stable and not up and down like others. Maybe it was a perfect SNES type Castlevania game. Harmony was so painful to play in was just forcing myself to complete the game.

However, no doubt that Ecclesia is by far the best and one of my favorites aside from Bloodlines. Dawn of Sorrow was awesome at the time but Ecclesia was amazing.

I agree with good ports in the compilation. Wonder what games will they add. I don't think we have had a Castlevania compilation consisting of more then three games. They can make three volumes just for the money. One for Nes,Snes, Genesis, and GB games. Other with Dracula X, DS, PS1, and GBA ones.





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"Re(3):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Fri 17 Aug 06:41post reply

quote:
The WiiWare game wasn't a remake of NES Castlevania 1, it was a remake of the first Gameboy Castlevania, Castlevania: The Adventure. I've mostly heard positive things about it, from the few people that played it.



It actually wasn't a remake at all, but an new game that took Adventure's place in the timeline and wore a few of it's aesthetics as window dressing (such as the giant eyeballs and being able to fling a fireball from the whip). Rebirth is one of my favorite Classicvanias, mostly because it dared to be different. As others have said, by that point it had been a neverending procession of Metroidvanias that tended to recycle (however creatively) the graphical style of the Rondo/Symphony era (or just outright rip it's sprites). If I recall correctly Rebirth only had 1 or 2 recycled sprites in the entire game. The soundtrack was a fantastic tribute to the series that really had that FM synth Genesis style "twang". The bosses were fun, the alternate paths gave a ton of replay value... the whole thing was just packed with love, I think moreso even than the other 2 Rebirth games (Contra and Gradius).





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"Re(4):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 18 Aug 04:11post reply

quote:
The WiiWare game wasn't a remake of NES Castlevania 1, it was a remake of the first Gameboy Castlevania, Castlevania: The Adventure. I've mostly heard positive things about it, from the few people that played it.

Speaking of (non-)remakes, wasn't Super Castlevania IV canonically just a retelling of the first game, but but with different core gameplay mechanics and different levels? It seems to be the first in the franchise to establish the free-whip flailing which can also be seen in future games.







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"Re(5):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 18 Aug 04:26post reply

I am enjoying this slightly different set of perspectives from previous Cafe assessments! Very interesting to hear Neo0r0chiaku's take on Nocturne/Symphony long after the fact. While I really can't support Circle for reasons that would take several paragraphs, I sure remember the excitement of "it's portable Metroidvania, dude!!" Also a daring choice with the unloved N64 editions. While it was the butt of a lot of jokes with its motorcycle-riding skeletons, I recall hearing high praise for its music and creepy atmosphere.
quote:
Speaking of (non-)remakes, wasn't Super Castlevania IV canonically just a retelling of the first game, but but with different core gameplay mechanics and different levels?
Indeed, there is no "IV," just another "Akumajou Dracula," one of many retellings of Simon's first adventure. See also: the X68000, Chronicle, arcade, and MSX versions. This is probably as good a spot as any to link the venerable Castlevania Dungeon for reference. While it's currently joined Drac in his 100 year sleep cycle, who knows what might awaken it?! Of particular interest to the Cafe is its music collection.





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"Re(5):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 18 Aug 04:28post reply

quote:
Speaking of (non-)remakes, wasn't Super Castlevania IV canonically just a retelling of the first game, but but with different core gameplay mechanics and different levels? It seems to be the first in the franchise to establish the free-whip flailing which can also be seen in future games.



Super Castlevania IV was a retelling of Castlevania 1. So was Castlevania Chronicles. As was the arcade game Haunted Castle.

I've no idea if it was ever an "official" replacement, or if it was just an alternate reality/continuity version, or indeed if its status changed over time.







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"Re(1):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sun 19 Aug 11:16post reply

quote:
As a person having not played Symphony of the Night


I think in the interest of reviving the trapped undead, a sub-topic of this thread should be what Castlevania games people have not played and who is missing out the most. You're definitely missing out on quite a bit with SotN. Just don't be tricked into thinking the Saturn port was the best version. I believe the PSP port had all the extra stuff in the Saturn version but fixed the framerate, visual effects and sound quality.

quote:
I wonder what Cafe'ers think of post-SoTN-vanias


I too would like to know what Cafe'ers think of Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. Or if anyone here has even played them, because no, neither have I. I have a friend that insists they're good proper Castlevania games though, which intrigued me but not enough to make me pick them up.





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"Re(2):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sun 19 Aug 12:33post reply

quote:
As a person having not played Symphony of the Night

I think in the interest of reviving the trapped undead, a sub-topic of this thread should be what Castlevania games people have not played and who is missing out the most. You're definitely missing out on quite a bit with SotN. Just don't be tricked into thinking the Saturn port was the best version. I believe the PSP port had all the extra stuff in the Saturn version but fixed the framerate, visual effects and sound quality.

I wonder what Cafe'ers think of post-SoTN-vanias

I too would like to know what Cafe'ers think of Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. Or if anyone here has even played them, because no, neither have I. I have a friend that insists they're good proper Castlevania games though, which intrigued me but not enough to make me pick them up.



I have not played all of the Lord of the Shadows games, Order of Shadow, Judgement, all the regular Gameboy games, and the kid Dracula one for NES. Have I really missed anything from those games?

I played and like Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. I think they were OK games. Innocence felt repetitive at times and felt more repetitive with each section you go through looks the same as the ones you came from in the stages. But my oh my the soundtrack is phenomenal, playing these repetitiveness felt non existent when I really was tuning out to the music. Is that really bad for a game though?

Curse of Darkness was alright I guess. I just wanted to beat the game for what it was worth but could not beat the final boss for quite some time. Just gave up after that. I didn't really miss much or have great memories like other Castlevania games.

quote:
While it was the butt of a lot of jokes with its motorcycle-riding skeletons,


Geeeez, I laugh so hard at this, I completely forget those guys were in there. It gave me a burst of memory of my days playing it and that funky "shudder" theme that comes on when fighting that big skeleton. Can't stop laughing.





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"Re(2):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sun 19 Aug 14:03post reply

quote:
I think in the interest of reviving the trapped undead, a sub-topic of this thread should be what Castlevania games people have not played and who is missing out the most.
Even though it's allegedly a huge pain in the ass, I've always felt like a bit of a lamer for never having played Dracula II/Simon's Quest. After all, it did give us Bloody Tears, and the mysterious graveyard duck (in both languages!). I Am Kid Dracula always looked adorable, as well.

Just kidding. The game whose legendary brilliance I'm most ashamed of not having ever played, is, uh, Judgment, of course. Yeah, that's it, or something...

I would also like to remind everyone that the best Dracula game you've never played is actually Rusty! And that you can quite easily rig your computer to play it today!





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"Re(3):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 25 Aug 03:00post reply

Ugh, I can't believe a week has gone by since Maou tipped me off about our Castlevania thread has returned to Earth again, without having to be summoned by Shaft. I think I'll mix game metaphors and say 'wise from your grabe'.
quote:
I think in the interest of reviving the trapped undead, a sub-topic of this thread should be what Castlevania games people have not played and who is missing out the most.

Well, it got a sequel, but a direct port or even a virtual console version has been mysteriously absent since it was first released, so I'd suggest Castlevania Bloodlines. It always had this odd feel of a Treasure game or a first-party Sega game, but I feel like it is an unappreciated gem of the series, what with beefy old Jonathan Morris and all. I know where you're coming from about Simon's Quest Maou, but playing it on virtual console recently was just about the most frustrating Castlevania experience I've ever had (and I played Castlevania: the Adventure on GB to completion).

I'll mention again my perverse love for Vampire: Master of Darkness on the Game Gear and add to it a mention of Nosferatu on SNES as weird alternate universe takes on the general Castlevania style game. Neither is all that close to what makes Castlevania Castlevania, but they both are odd versions of 'guy in a castle' games in general and deserve more love than they get.

I also wanted to see what the Cafe thinks about why so many Castleroid games but almost no modern takes on the style of Castlevania game up to and including Rondo of Blood. I can't really think of any examples other than Bloodstained: Cure of the Moon, and that doesn't count since it's literally Castlevania in all but name.

Okay that's all I've got.





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"Re(4):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 25 Aug 03:45post reply

quote:
Ugh, I can't believe a week has gone by since Maou tipped me off about our Castlevania thread has returned to Earth again, without having to be summoned by Shaft. I think I'll mix game metaphors and say 'wise from your grabe'.
I think in the interest of reviving the trapped undead, a sub-topic of this thread should be what Castlevania games people have not played and who is missing out the most.
Well, it got a sequel, but a direct port or even a virtual console version has been mysteriously absent since it was first released, so I'd suggest Castlevania Bloodlines. It always had this odd feel of a Treasure game or a first-party Sega game, but I feel like it is an unappreciated gem of the series, what with beefy old Jonathan Morris and all. I know where you're coming from about Simon's Quest Maou, but playing it on virtual console recently was just about the most frustrating Castlevania experience I've ever had (and I played Castlevania: the Adventure on GB to completion).

I'll mention again my perverse love for Vampire: Master of Darkness on the Game Gear and add to it a mention of Nosferatu on SNES as weird alternate universe takes on the general Castlevania style game. Neither is all that close to what makes Castlevania Castlevania, but they both are odd versions of 'guy in a castle' games in general and deserve more love than they get.

I also wanted to see what the Cafe thinks about why so ma

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


I think that for most people, games in the image of SotN CV are richer experiences player-wise that are also less dependent on highly precise level design developer-wise. The myriad of progression systems, the experience of backtracking/accessing, the looser difficulty because of the greater variety of mechanics and movement options, the longer campaign length... all of these come across as being "more" than the strict linear levels defined by mastery of a small set of rigidly defined mechanics that have no numerical progression systems. If you aren't a fan of that highly linear gameplay, those classic games feel more limited and simple, even though they have tremendous elegance. And it's totally true that exploration as a game feature is much more limited in those games, even taking into account route options.

The ongoing roguelike zeitgeist along with meta progression also encourages games that are generally less like classic CV. There are some exceptions to progression systems which are not based on stat/numerical changes: Spelunky for instance is very much not about stat upgrades and unlocking things that give better stats. However, with all this random zone generation and all of these mechanics and items and whatever else that players will get randomly, it very much encourages a looser style of game than the rigid and precise one of classic CV. From a developer standpoint, I think making a really good classic style CV can be actually harder, since you don't have the benefits of stats and random zones and varied mechanics. Classic style CV is easier engineering-wise, though.

In the case of both of the above, a linear game is probably also a harder sell. There are exceptions to this, like with Shovel Knight, and it may be that with the ongoing popularity of Souls-esque games and the glut of roguelikes, highly linear hand-designed experiences may soon be in vogue again.







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"Re(5):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 25 Aug 05:26post reply

It's true that other 8bit classics have had indie homages in recent years, and even small studios dedicated to this kind of homages (Not-G&G, Not-Ninja-Gaiden, Not-Strider), but there's surprisingly few that try to emulate the first Castlevania.
Odallus and Issyos are kinda there.... but not really.
I'm not sure what they lack.
Maybe the atmosphere of the first game is so unmistakable that you cannot do a pastiche without a castle, Hammer monsters, chandeliers, Death coming at some point, and if you're already there why not call it Castlevania since you're already here?





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"Re(6):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 25 Aug 06:20post reply

quote:

Odallus and Issyos are kinda there.... but not really.
I'm not sure what they lack.
Maybe the atmosphere of the first game is so unmistakable that you cannot do a pastiche without a castle, Hammer monsters, chandeliers, Death coming at some point, and if you're already there why not call it Castlevania since you're already here?


Don't underestimate the suggestive power of a whip ;-)







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"Re(6):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 25 Aug 08:02post reply

quote:
What Spoon said


I understand your point, but honestly I would agree more if not for part of the point that Iggy has made about G&G-- there have been not one but two not so subtle homages to Ghouls N Ghosts, Malta Castilla and Battle Princess Madeline (not out yet, but the developer posts lots of gameplay videos). And G&G as a series is probably even more notorious for its punishing gameplay, its linear nature, and its crushing difficulty.

I also think SOTN-likes are super cool and still trendy to indie devs, so they get made. In fact, I was at a small conference a few years back where a game was being shown that was so close to SOTN in look and feel (think Alucard, but with black hair, but otherwise nearly identical) I worried it might have been some sort of sprite rip fan projects.

quote:
It's true that other 8bit classics have had indie homages in recent years, and even small studios dedicated to this kind of homages (Not-G&G, Not-Ninja-Gaiden, Not-Strider), but there's surprisingly few that try to emulate the first Castlevania.
Odallus and Issyos are kinda there.... but not really.
I'm not sure what they lack.
Maybe the atmosphere of the first game is so unmistakable that you cannot do a pastiche without a castle, Hammer monsters, chandeliers, Death coming at some point, and if you're already there why not call it Castlevania since you're already here?



My actual suspicion is that Castlevania 1 both feels too iconic and too basic in a lot of ways. Plus in all seriousness I think the whip is the thing that separates it from the others, as a weapon that doesn't really work like a real whip but that's so specific to the franchise. Honestly, there are a fair number of games for the NES/Famicom that feel a little like Castlevania but never quite enough to make the comparison stick, like 8 Eyes.





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"Re(7):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Tue 28 Aug 10:18:post reply

I'll second what Spoon and Karasu said here. I think the persistence of Metroidvania clones over platformer Dracula clones reflects the fact that a good platformer is much harder to design. Anyone can make a complicated puzzle-map requiring backtracking and searching for keys, but making a character who controls as perfectly as Mario or as imperfectly but satisfyingly as a Belmont is hard work, let alone putting them in interesting environments. If your game focuses on the former, the "game" of following a treasure map and finding a way around locked doors and inaccessible heights can obscure lackluster room design, character physics, or enemies.

You can even see this phenomenon in the reverse castle in the second half of Nocturne/Symphony, which I still love anyway. Unlike the tense and grueling first half of the game, the bosses here are all weaklings or tiresome hit-absorbers like Galamoth, and the weapons you'll inevitably find will dispatch Shaft and Dracula so quickly that you'll barely notice that their crappy one-screen room contains one of the sloppiest final boss sequences in the series. At least Alucard still controls well, but you can see how much less is required of a Metroidvania. If the reverse castle segment were a straight platformer, we'd be cursing its much more visible design mistakes like we rightly do for Dracula XX on SFC.

The other reason I think the thirst for Metroidvania persists is that there's still only ever been one properly budgeted entry with lavish music, voice acting, and visual effects. Some of the DS games look pretty sharp, but there's no use kidding ourselves into thinking that these are even remotely approaching the same majestic scale.





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[this message was edited by Maou on Tue 28 Aug 14:40]

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"Re(8):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Wed 29 Aug 00:18:post reply

quote:
The other reason I think the thirst for Metroidvania persists is that there's still only ever been one properly budgeted entry with lavish music, voice acting,


voice acting,

no matter how many remakes, they'll never get it perfectly grindhouse as the original.


The last of the CastleMetrovanias (Order of Ecclesia) was released a decade ago though.
I do miss them even if they weren't up to SOTN's standards.


Totally offtopic, we had a thunderstorm last night which ended up looking like this at Tokyo Disneyland.





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"Re(9):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Wed 29 Aug 02:21post reply

quote:
Totally offtopic, we had a thunderstorm last night which ended up looking like this at Tokyo Disneyland.


Riiiiight, completely off topic, hahaha!

All great points from everyone-- and Maou, I've had that same thought about the inverted castle but I'd never previously been able to articulate it! So, thanks!

Something else I'd like to mention is not that I think Simon's clunky movement only feels perfect now because it was a really formative game where the control and physics didn't have any weird tics or bugs, and then was subsequently copied by a thousand later games. Likewise Mario. If you go back to earlier platform games, they were either hampered by a miserably bad controller or by control schemes and physics that feel like they were never properly bug tested. I'm at a loss to give examples but I'm thinking games for Atari 8 bit computers. Mario and Simon feel right now because they were made lovingly exact. But for every one or two of those, there were a hundred games where odd design decisions were made, like not letting the player attack while jumping, or letting the player instantly turn around and travel in the opposite direction with no lag. Maou, I'd argue that player control is a place where your beloved, Rusty, doesn't quite measure up!

Anyway! This is all very interesting stuff!





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"Re(10):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Wed 29 Aug 06:21post reply

quote:
voice acting,
Ahahaha, I didn't even have the US version in my mind. The original of course is mostly really good (Maria's lines and acting are far too modern), right down to some stellar incidental text, as Iggy reminded us. (Like with FFVII, it's always a surprise to me that people playing the botched English versions can feel as warmly towards these characters as they do, given that they have literally never experienced the characters in intelligible form! I guess with Nocturne/Symphony, the English version unintentionally brought the series back to its B-horror movie roots, at least. Anyhow!)
quote:
looking like this at Tokyo Disneyland.
I've forgotten the actual European castle that is the model for Cagliostro and/or Dracula's castle, but Akumajou Madman X is surely the new model for any future series.

I am still certain that there must be a Kid Dracula fan or two here, returning to the topic of underappreciated entries. Karasu is right about Rusty, meanwhile: its critical weakness is that it's really really hard to get Rusty to grab onto ropes while jumping, which is brutal in the last level. At least she can redirect mid-air, unlike the hapless Belmonts, but I have no idea how people survived it on keyboards without the benefit of a modern USB controller. It's still a fantastic Dracula game, though, unofficial nor not.





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"Re(2):Re(10):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Wed 29 Aug 07:26post reply

quote:
I've forgotten the actual European castle that is the model for Cagliostro and/or Dracula's castle, but Akumajou Madman X is surely the new model for any future series.

Ah, I'm sure it's either Neuschwanstein Castle, which was also the inspiration for Cinderella's Castle at Disneyland, or Mont-Saint-Michel, which was used very directly (and tackily) in the US box art for SOTN.

quote:
I am still certain that there must be a Kid Dracula fan or two here, returning to the topic of underappreciated entries. Karasu is right about Rusty, meanwhile: its critical weakness is that it's really really hard to get Rusty to grab onto ropes while jumping, which is brutal in the last level. At least she can redirect mid-air, unlike the hapless Belmonts, but I have no idea how people survived it on keyboards without the benefit of a modern USB controller. It's still a fantastic Dracula game, though, unofficial nor not.

I am 100% a fan of Kid Dracula, although I have to confess I come to the character via him being playable in the SFC version of Parodius Da! It wasn't until recently that I found out the Gameboy version of KD was released in the States.
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"Re(3):Re(10):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Thu 30 Aug 04:12post reply

quote:

I am 100% a fan of Kid Dracula, although I have to confess I come to the character via him being playable in the SFC version of Parodius Da! It wasn't until recently that I found out the Gameboy version of KD was released in the States.



Kid Dracula looked so cool! I distinctly remember being at a department store in Thailand as a kid and it was on display on a TV. I must have been 7. I wanted the game so badly. The characters were SO RAD and the sprites did such a wonderful job of conveying the appeal of fully fleshed out Toriyama Akira style cartoon drawings.

I actually vividly remember being so impressed with the game, then noticing 3 farang adults also watching and commenting in English on how stupid the game looked and how lame the graphics were and how could anyone possibly like cartoons and that's when I realized that there were people in this world that hate my way of life. It's weird which memories stick with you!

The Gameboy game was also unbelievably great looking!






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"The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Thu 30 Aug 08:12post reply

I perpetually have Kid Dracula confused in my head with this game:
I remember reading about it in Nintendo Power and thinking it looked hella cool!







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"Re(1):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Thu 30 Aug 09:00post reply

quote:
I perpetually have Kid Dracula confused in my head with this game:
I remember reading about it in Nintendo Power and thinking it looked hella cool!

Ha! Your association makes even more sense in the original, 超魔界大戦どらぼっちゃん (Chou Makai Taisen Dorabocchan), which not only references Chou Makai Mura in its title but also has a protagonist whose name means kid Dracula: Dorabbocchan, or "Young Drac." Never played it, though.

I like to think that Kid Dracula got more attention after its last boss, Galamoth, appeared in Nocturne/Symphony, though I'm not sure anyone (including me) remembered at the time.





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"Re(1):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Thu 30 Aug 12:58post reply

quote:
I perpetually have Kid Dracula confused in my head with this game:
I remember reading about it in Nintendo Power and thinking it looked hella cool!



"Spike McFarang" lololol.

Ah man that's another series I really wanted to play as a kid, but never did! The original PC-Engine game looked so fun! I could swear there was a Mega Drive game as well, with a top down view? I believe it was a straightup action game. I only ever saw some small screens of it in a magazine. Maybe it was another series. For some reason I just thought young magic users with wide brimmed hats were THE COOLEST.






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"Re(2):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Thu 30 Aug 13:04post reply

quote:
I perpetually have Kid Dracula confused in my head with this game:
I remember reading about it in Nintendo Power and thinking it looked hella cool!
Ha! Your association makes even more sense in the original, 超魔界大戦どらぼっちゃん (Chou Makai Taisen Dorabocchan), which not only references Chou Makai Mura in its title but also has a protagonist whose name means kid Dracula: Dorabbocchan, or "Young Drac." Never played it, though.

I like to think that Kid Dracula got more attention after its last boss, Galamoth, appeared in Nocturne/Symphony, though I'm not sure anyone (including me) remembered at the time.



Oh dang! I had no idea the games were connected in that way! I recall Galamoth being the strongest boss in the game by far. I didn't beat him until I had nearly cleared the castle 200%. Remember how you could get potions that when you toss them they summon an enemy? I'd been hoarding them the entire game. I beat Galamoth by throwing every single enemy summon potion I had, along with any other offensive potions. I hit him with everything but the kitchen sink. The game slowed to maybe 1fps as I joined in the fray by turning into a poison cloud. The ceaseless barrage was too much for him and he quickly fell. That's been one of my fav gaming memories! Sums up the appeal of Symphony of the Night for me. It's not necessarily balanced or whatever they teach you at game school, but man was it FUN.






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"Re(1):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Fri 31 Aug 06:13post reply

quote:
I perpetually have Kid Dracula confused in my head with this game:
I remember reading about it in Nintendo Power and thinking it looked hella cool!



I had that issue as a kid, and completely forgot about this game. Thanks for the reminder!





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"Re(2):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Sat 1 Sep 00:27post reply

I actually think that the humour in The Messenger makes the game worse!

I know it just wants to have some fun, and possibly be in direct contrast to the no-jokes always-serious Ninja Gaiden, but it seems so bent on belittling itself and the subjects that the visuals and gameplay lovingly reference that it doesn't make the game feel better for it.

The music is decidedly more like what you'd expect from the European demoscene that what you'd recognize as Japanese 8-bit melodies. There are a few "instruments" and motifs that I wish I could describe better that make me think that way!







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"Re(3):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Sat 1 Sep 03:49post reply

quote:
I actually think that the humour in The Messenger makes the game worse!

I haven't touched The Messenger yet, but that reminds me: the writing in Dead Cells is ABYSMAL.
In early access already, the description of the items were full of unfunny tongue-in-cheek jokes that distracted from the atmosphere of the game, but the final release added much more new text, and it's all terrible.
I understand in the case of Dead Cells that they were making a game for streamers and Youtubers and that's the kind of writing that works on these platforms (I suppose), but... really... I'm too old for this shit.

On a different topic, Yoku's Island Express is an adorable Metroidvania-Pinball with a cute dung beetle as a main character. I think that alone should tick most of the boxes of the MMC crowd.
After Hollow Knight last year, I'd be very happy if that new trend of yearly-quality-2D-Metroidvania-with-a-bug-protagonist could go on.





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"Re(3):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Sat 1 Sep 04:49post reply

quote:
I actually think that the humour in The Messenger makes the game worse!


The Ninja Gaiden devs seemed to enjoy it - I'll reserve judgement til I get my hands on it after work





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"Re(4):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Sat 1 Sep 05:25post reply

quote:
I actually think that the humour in The Messenger makes the game worse!

The Ninja Gaiden devs seemed to enjoy it - I'll reserve judgement til I get my hands on it after work



Haha, I did see that video!

I think I'm specifically referring to the writing's humor, and not the visual humor.

I think that the humor in the sprites works a lot better and feels a lot more natural because demons being boorish and goofy doesn't feel weird, but the writing insistently calls out to the player and draws attention to itself and so it makes its presence felt too pointedly.







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"Re(4):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Sat 1 Sep 06:16post reply

quote:
I actually think that the humour in The Messenger makes the game worse!
I haven't touched The Messenger yet, but that reminds me: the writing in Dead Cells is ABYSMAL.


Huh, I thought complaints about Dead Cells would come from frustration with its randomly generated portions, not its writing. Then again, since the protagonist looks like the mascot for Bic pens I guess I wasnít expecting there to be any writing in the game.







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"Re(5):The Twisted Tales of Spike McFarang" , posted Sat 1 Sep 07:16post reply

quote:
Huh, I thought complaints about Dead Cells would come from frustration with its randomly generated portions, not its writing. Then again, since the protagonist looks like the mascot for Bic pens I guess I wasnít expecting there to be any writing in the game.

That's the worst thing: there was almost none in Early Access, and it was already enough.
But each update added gradually more, while it should have strived to remove as much as what was left.

I don't understand that, actually: indies face a big challenge with localization, since entitled assholes trash the Steam reviews of any random game that dares not to be translated in their language, so the developer has to outsource to cheap localization companies. The more text your game has, the more expensive this becomes, multiplied by the number of languages they want to sell to. In that context, the verbosity of some indies makes little financial sense on top of being a fault in the artistic sense.







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"Re(2):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 1 Sep 11:25post reply

quote:
I think in the interest of reviving the trapped undead, a sub-topic of this thread should be what Castlevania games people have not played and who is missing out the most. You're definitely missing out on quite a bit with SotN. Just don't be tricked into thinking the Saturn port was the best version. I believe the PSP port had all the extra stuff in the Saturn version but fixed the framerate, visual effects and sound quality.

I'm still hoping those rumors of a Castlevnaia compilation are true. SoTN on Switch would be a godsend! Not to mention Rondo of Blood on that screen.
quote:
Dead Cells and The Messenger stuff

You see, here's the problem I have with the Metroidvania genre: They're a dime a dozen of them nowadays, to the point I actually crave for more games like Shovel Knight and Bloodstained: Curese of the Moon. I don't know if it was Guacamelee that ruined my love of them, but certainly after having played Hollow Knight, I feel I've had my fill for non-linear interconnected level design.

I enjoyed Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight for its more combat-oriented focus, while managing to grab those bits of the genre like backtracking in a manner befitting Dark Souls (where you don't really break open shortcuts a la Samus, but rather stumble into secret rooms using your new abilities). Momo4 also captures that same dynamic that Castlevania had lost (till Order of Ecclessia) of using a designated backdash button.

Axiom Verge capturesd that feeling of the strange/unknown in both a narrative and gameplay sense where it requires a level of experimentation to access diffrent secret areas and even traverse certain segments with well-times swings/warps (hope I'm not giving ability spoilers here). The author really set out to convey the feelings of how it was to have played the first Metroid (not Super), and I think he succeeded. There's a lot of sense of mystery to the world and with how to progress that the genuine moments of feeling lost don't feel like a detriment to the overall enjoyment (Hollow Knight almost suffered from this for a bit).

I definitely want to try out Iconoclast, but from what I'm hearing, it's just another story-driven OwlBoy, which was a linear story with the trappings of a Metroidvania without getting what makes Metroidvanias click in the first place.
And yeah, Guacamelee's writing was also cringe worthy.







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"Re(3):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 1 Sep 12:14post reply

Yeah, I really enjoyed Bloodstained Curse of the Moon, and I actually don't think Bloodstained proper is that appealing! The movement looks mushy and the graphics in Bloodstained are in that uncomfortable spot where it's detailed enough that you can feel bothered by its aesthetic. For the gnashing of teeth about how Curse of the Moon doesn't execute "8-bit plus" as well as Shovel Knight, Curse of the Moon feels like it has a more stable and better-executed aesthetic.

I didn't like that Momodora game as much as I expected mainly for two reasons:
- in spite of happily cribbing from Dark Souls in both progression structure, dodge-roll, and being fairly difficult, it somehow did not take Dark Souls immediate continuing. It feels like a pointless nuisance to show you the "continue" option.

- unlike Dark Souls, items you've picked up / environment things you've interacted with have their state reset when you die. Since you die a fair amount in the game, needing to go through the motions of picking them all up again feels like another nuisance.

- in spite of the animations being good, I didn't really like how moving my character around felt.

I think that many of the Metroidvania games have very good feeling mechanics, which definitely goes a long way towards making the game enjoyable to play. I think that the roguelike mechanics and progression systems often poison the games. I do think that the zone difficulty necessarily has to be tuned differently for games where you will backtrack often, because difficult zones that you need to re-tread become annoying very quickly, whereas in the purely linear style of classic CV, the difficulty can be sharpened since you only need to make it through once. Shovel Knight doesn't exactly have route choice in the manner of Rondo or CV3 in that you eventually have to hit all the levels anyway.

I guess what I'm saying is I want another Bionic Commando!







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"Re(4):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 1 Sep 13:26post reply

quote:
I guess what I'm saying is I want another Bionic Commando!


But which Bionic Commando? The obvious answer is NES Bionic Commando, but maybe someone out there wants arcade Bionic Commando, or maybe you really liked Elite Forces, or maybe you are in love with your arm and thus feel an affinity for the 2009 reboot...

There was Rearmed (remaking the NES game), and then Rearmed 2.

I didn't really like Rearmed. I played it, but it just felt off. I got so annoyed bumping against rocks and falling down a lift shaft that I went back and played the NES version, and noticed that there really were differences. (The prime example being that I had no trouble at the lift shaft in the NES version, while that area in Rearmed continued to be finicky.) I have no idea if it got better later.







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"Re(5):Random Castlevania thread" , posted Sat 1 Sep 21:34post reply

quote:
I guess what I'm saying is I want another Bionic Commando!

But which Bionic Commando? The obvious answer is NES Bionic Commando, but maybe someone out there wants arcade Bionic Commando, or maybe you really liked Elite Forces, or maybe you are in love with your arm and thus feel an affinity for the 2009 reboot...

There was Rearmed (remaking the NES game), and then Rearmed 2.

I didn't really like Rearmed. I played it, but it just felt off. I got so annoyed bumping against rocks and falling down a lift shaft that I went back and played the NES version, and noticed that there really were differences. (The prime example being that I had no trouble at the lift shaft in the NES version, while that area in Rearmed continued to be finicky.) I have no idea if it got better later.



I LOVED REARMED!
I don't love Rearmed 2.

I spent a lot of time playing the original Bionic Commando on the Famicom, and I didn't feel that there were big issues with the controls... if anything, they added an issue with the game in a later patch because the way in which you'd go into a sort of hitstun reaction if you swung into certain surfaces a lot of people complained about, even though that mechanic was in the 8-bit one. If the character feels a little... fatter, I wouldn't totally disagree. Still, I liked pretty much everything about the game!

The bosses dynamically switch to different attack patterns based on whether or not you have two players (e.g. if one player game overs part way through)! There is dynamic split screening! The deathmatch mode is INCREDIBLY fun! The challenge rooms are super precise and show that they understand the idiosyncrasies of their implementation of the characters movement quite exactly, and the new takes on the old weapons are overall good. I even like the music, which some people said injected too much noise into the originally clear melodies!

I think aside from EDF 2017, it's my favourite game that I own the Xbox 360!







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"Rearmed" , posted Sun 2 Sep 00:11post reply

quote:
if anything, they added an issue with the game in a later patch because the way in which you'd go into a sort of hitstun reaction if you swung into certain surfaces a lot of people complained about, even though that mechanic was in the 8-bit one.


That kind of sounds like the issue I had. (I didn't played single player Rearmed until well after any patching was finished.)

Except I didn't have the same issue in the NES version. I'm not saying the mechanic wassn't present in the NES version, but rather that it wasn't the same issue in the NES version. Where Rearmed would repeatedly bounce me into the lift shaft, NES BC wouldn't.

It has been quite a while since I've played the game, so I cannot remember exactly the differences I found. I want to recall that I felt the mechanics were slightly off (for the worse) as well as there being minor layout changes that bugged me. I guess one possibility is that they made a minor decorative change to make the area look a little more interesting, which worked fine only before the stun patch was added in?





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"Re(1):Rearmed" , posted Sun 2 Sep 07:06post reply

Spoon: You're right, this script is downright silly. It's fun in it's own little way, but with the gameplay so tight-knit and "serious", I wish they'd gone for a (slightly!) darker and mature angle on the story. They seemed to nail it with the setting (last dregs of humanity fighting for survival etc etc), but the banter between the hero and shopkeeper just feels really out of place, right along with the "oh no, my bad bro" attitude bosses the 2 bosses i've beat so far have had.

I dig Rearmed but never played 2 (they'll port it to Steam eventually ... right?). Any particular differences that turned you off? How could it lose? It's got a bionic arm!





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"RE: foul" , posted Mon 3 Sep 03:40post reply

WAIT WAIT WAIT, Iím calling foul on the offsides... err... moving violation... uh... holding the man violation for threading a non-Castlevania game in thread thatís explicitly for Castlevania

The penalty is that you have to go play Haunted Castle for half an hour and think about what youíve done.





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"Re(1):RE: Grimore of fouls" , posted Mon 3 Sep 05:16:post reply

Turning the topic back to Castlevania, I didn't realize until now that there was actually a new title in development for Smartphones. Classic sidescroller type of gameplay with 4P multiplay.

The story takes place after Dracula is sealed into the solar eclipse of 1999, meaning the DS spinoffs with Soma Cruz are canon as far as this new game goes. Then again the game apparently has a bunch of characters from the other DS releases too, but with upgraded graphics.

If you die, you come back as a bone-throwing weakling skeleton that can be revived by other players. Wicked idea!

https://www.konami.com/games/castlevania/gos/

sample footage


Simon still walks like a Gorilla





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"Re(1):RE: fould" , posted Mon 3 Sep 05:52post reply

quote:
WAIT WAIT WAIT, Iím calling foul on the offsides... err... moving violation... uh... holding the man violation for threading a non-Castlevania game in thread thatís explicitly for Castlevania

The penalty is that you have to go play Haunted Castle for half an hour and think about what youíve done.



Alas!

To quickly steer the topic back to Castlevania:
The whip gimmick of latching onto certain points and swinging or just hanging there was never really brought back in later CV games. I wish it did! In Bionic Commando you could only kill enemies with your whip by shoving them into pits Though a lot of movement gimmicks/mechanics would continue to be added with each successive SotN-esque game, the grapple movement was one thing that they never really decided to re-integrate. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the reason is that the later protagonists are not tied to the whip as a distinctive weapon, but it's an avenue of gameplay that I always really enjoy when it's executed well.

One example of a major difference in grappling mechanic execution is actually across the three Bionic Commando games, Rearmed, Rearmed 2, and Wife-Armed. I don't think that CV4's grappling and swinging was done as well as Bionic Commando's, even though it gave you leeway in how long your swing radius was (BC only let you pull yourself up all the way, or not at all). The speed at which Simon swung and the physics-y quality of release is somewhat incongruous with the fixed-jump arc nature of classic CV, which I would somewhat peg as a reason to not have that mechanic featured prominently in a classic-style CV today: it's too big and too weird of a contrast. But in a game where jumping is already looser, like in SotN-style CV, such a movement style could fit fairly naturally. Shanoa could use a magnetic thing to launch herself in particular directions like a slingshot, which isn't actually so far removed from it, but still not the same.







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"Re(2):RE: fould" , posted Mon 3 Sep 05:59post reply

quote:

Alas!

To quickly steer the topic back to Castlevania:
The whip gimmick of latching onto certain points and swinging or just hanging there was never really brought back in later CV games. I wish it did! In Bionic Commando you could only kill enemies with your whip by shoving them into pits

Youíre on thin ice Mr. Spoon... keep it up and Iíll find you in contempt!

Thanks for pointing out the new mobile game Professor. I signed up to beta test it but I never heard anything back. Hopefully itís good?





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"Re(3):RE: fould" , posted Mon 3 Sep 06:08post reply

quote:
Alas!
Alas! Poor Yorick! Renaming the dully titled "Soccer Boy" skeleton chasing his skull in the US version was pretty clever. I recall hearing that even with the bizarre translation and clumsy writing, there's quite a few clever references added in the US version of Nocturne/Symphony, even if plenty more were lost.

As for the grappling hook thing! It's worth remembering that the SFC version ("IV") was actually one of the last platforming Dracula games, period, so there weren't many chances to even consider developing what Simon had learned. Richter didn't need it in Rondo because he was more about backflips, Simon in X68000/Chronicles didn't have it because the layout was meant to be verrry close to the original game, and I'm pretty sure John Morris had it in Vampire Killer/Bloodlines, though only a madman (hmmmm) would choose him over Eric anyway. Uh, I think that's the end after that!

Thereafter, people either didn't have whips or were so acrobatic they didn't need the grappling hook! Nocturne/Symphony Richter can of course fly around the room with his super-jump, none of the vampire type heroes needed it, and even hapless Nathan from Circle of the Moon had some serious Alucard-style jumping.

I would like to remind people that my girl RUSTY could use her whip (badly) as a grappling hook aaaaaand ran with bunshin shadows behind her before Alucard or anyone else did~~~





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"Re(2):RE: fould" , posted Mon 3 Sep 06:18post reply

quote:
Though a lot of movement gimmicks/mechanics would continue to be added with each successive SotN-esque game, the grapple movement was one thing that they never really decided to re-integrate. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the reason is that the later protagonists are not tied to the whip as a distinctive weapon, but it's an avenue of gameplay that I always really enjoy when it's executed well.
The problem with grapple movement with a whip is that it requires the levels to be designed precisely with this option in mind, and post-SOTN games didn't really have the most interesting or forward-thinking level design.
Amusingly, the Spanish GOWvania did try to use the whip in more interesting ways than just hitting stuff until their life bar is depleted. I think it was the first game to at least try since... 4?







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"Re(3):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Fri 7 Sep 12:58:post reply

quote:
use the whip in more interesting ways than just hitting stuff until their life bar is depleted.
Years after the monumental achievement of beating X68000 Akumajou Dracula (non-arrange version! I place this alongside somehow managing to beat Alien Soldier), I've yet to figure out an intelligent way to use the down-left and down-right whip motion while jumping. In an unforgiving game, that seemed like a surefire way to get killed.

Let's see, wasn't one of the sub-topics of this thread praise for overlooked entries? Let's go bold: Dracula XX, a miserable little pile of game that becomes more obscure with every re-release of the glorious Dracula X instead. The received wisdom, chronicled most amusingly in this classic set of two images, is correct by any reasonable evaluation, but there must be someone big-hearted enough (not me) to cherish Dracula XX. Yeah yeah, Karasu makes a good-natured effort to at least praise the music during the semi-annual-ish Undead Threads, but I've never seen anything resembling genuine love for a game that's not only worse than its source, but worse than the other SFC Dracula, too.

BUT BUT BUT maybe its increasing obscurity (due to sucking) gives it a certain mystique, sort of like Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon?! Is Dracula XX the new counter-cultural Dracula of choice for the Madman's Contrarian Cafe?!!?!





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[this message was edited by Maou on Fri 7 Sep 13:05]



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"Re(4):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Fri 7 Sep 13:30post reply

quote:
use the whip in more interesting ways than just hitting stuff until their life bar is depleted. Years after the monumental achievement of beating X68000 Akumajou Dracula (non-arrange version! I place this alongside somehow managing to beat Alien Soldier), I've yet to figure out an intelligent way to use the down-left and down-right whip motion while jumping. In an unforgiving game, that seemed like a surefire way to get killed.

Let's see, wasn't one of the sub-topics of this thread praise for overlooked entries? Let's go bold: Dracula XX, a miserable little pile of game that becomes more obscure with every re-release of the glorious Dracula X instead. The received wisdom, chronicled most amusingly in this classic set of two images, is correct by any reasonable evaluation, but there must be someone big-hearted enough (not me) to cherish Dracula XX. Yeah yeah, Karasu makes a good-natured effort to at least praise the music during the semi-annual-ish Undead Threads, but I've never seen anything resembling genuine love for a game that's not only worse than its source, but worse than the other SFC Dracula, too.

BUT BUT BUT maybe its increasing obscurity (due to sucking) gives it a certain mystique, sort of like Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon?! Is Dracula XX the new counter-cultural Dracula of choic

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Dracula X/XX contains the hardest Castlevania final boss I have ever fought against. It is so difficult that it borders on comical.

The opening moments of SFC Dracula X, with the red-hot guitar riffs, I thought were AMAZING... but then when I finally got to play the game, I recall being deeply disappointed by it. Super Castlevania 4 felt like a next-generation Castlevania, with its amazing audio and whip gimmicks and graphics gimmicks... Dracula X, though possessing lovely sprites, felt more like a mere sequel to Castlevania 1. I still found a good time with it, but in my heart there was a constant murmur about how I wish it was Castlevania 4. Ah~

I don't think it's a terrible game at all, because its music and graphics and controls are all fine, and certainly better than plenty of other platforming action games on the SNES. Indeed, plenty of its sprites could be pointed to as being better than those in Super Castlevania 4! But it felt like a step backwards, and at a time when stepping backwards was not greeted so warmly as now, what with Curse of the Moon.

I wouldn't call it a bad game, but I agree that trying to appreciate its qualities as time passes will only grow harder given the ever-greater availability of Rondo of Blood. It will be regarded by most as a merely competent genre title, but not one which made a significant contribution to the oeuvre.







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"Re(5):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Fri 7 Sep 13:44:post reply

quote:
a merely competent genre title, but not one which made a significant contribution to the oeuvre.

Ah, the faint praise continues! Still, if there is love for the N64 games in this thread, surely Dracula XX has hope! As the impossible final fight reminds us, there is a difference between difficult challenges which test your mastery of a game's controls and design, and willfully unfair challenges wherein the requirements outpace your character's abilities. In conclusion: Dracula XX is the Mario 2 ("Lost Levels") of Dracula games. But we still have nearly two months till Halloween and our fated annual discussion, so I hope someone will make a case for it! Maybe someone will tell me how much fun they had holding onto a key for like two levels without dying just to save Annette. At the very least, yes, this game's guitar version of the first level theme is HOT HOT HOT





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[this message was edited by Maou on Fri 7 Sep 13:47]

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"Re(6):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Sat 8 Sep 02:19post reply

In a vacuum, I don't think XX is a bad game ... just outshined by it's big brothers. But I'd be happier playing that then Lords of Shadow, for instance.





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"Re(7):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Sat 8 Sep 03:12post reply

quote:
In a vacuum, I don't think XX is a bad game ...


quote:
But I'd be happier playing that then Lords of Shadow, for instance.


My faint praise was a little more bluntly clinical, which arguably makes it seem less biting!







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"Re(8):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Sat 8 Sep 12:06post reply

quote:
But I'd be happier playing that then Lords of Shadow
FATALITY

Dracula XX: "It's better than GBA's Concerto/Harmony."

Undead legions: there are 53 days left till Halloween to find something nice to say about Dracula XX. I know one of you loves it!

Speaking of under-loved games, right on cue, here we have Igarashi praising Dracula II/Simon's Quest as an enabler of Nocturne/Symphony's exploratory approach. While I think that Rondo and Akumajou Densetsu/"III" were already halfway there with their branching routes and secret levels, there's a fair point to be made.





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"Re(9):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Sun 9 Sep 09:39post reply

quote:
Undead legions: there are 53 days left till Halloween to find something nice to say about Dracula XX. I know one of you loves it!


This is the hardest challenge of Dracula XX since the last boss of Dracula XX.

quote:
Speaking of under-loved games, right on cue, here we have Igarashi praising Dracula II/Simon's Quest as an enabler of Nocturne/Symphony's exploratory approach. While I think that Rondo and Akumajou Densetsu/"III" were already halfway there with their branching routes and secret levels, there's a fair point to be made.


I haven't read that article yet, but my take is:

Simon's Quest is a much more open and free-to-explore game than CV3, and CV3 I see as a game developed in response to Simon's Quest. Simon's Quest entirely discarded the idea of progressing through levels, introduced backtracking in addition to being able to freely scroll left/right to CV, had areas that were much much lower in difficulty for a Castlevania area, had XP point levelling, towns with NPCs to talk to, an all-new aesthetic to the backgrounds... it was a really huge departure from CV1!

While it wasn't as refined in its action as CV1, it definitely felt like a huge increase in ambition compared to CV1, trying to marry the precisely designed action of CV1 with a huge sprawling RPG adventure. CV3 in comparison is much less ambitious, returning to not only the overall level structure of CV1 but also the aesthetics of CV1. While there was the addition of branching in the levels, there was no backtracking, and levels were still very much about "start" and "finish" in a linear fashion. All of the RPG trappings were discarded. Even Curse of the Moon, which is very deliberately an expansion of CV3's ideas with the addition of various collectible upgrades and special routes, feels more like CV1 than CV2.

SotN feels like an attempt to realize the ambition of CV2 rather than expand upon CV3, whereas Rondo feels like an expansion of CV3 what with its demarcated stages. Rondo allowed backtracking with a given stage, but once you cleared a stage, you were warped into the next stage and no return to the previous stage was possible.







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"Re(9):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Fri 14 Sep 06:15post reply

quote:
Dracula XX: "It's better than GBA's Concerto/Harmony."

Undead legions: there are 53 days left till Halloween to find something nice to say about Dracula XX. I know one of you loves it!


Unless there's another, it's me, I confess to the heresy! I'm the sort of semi-human ghoul who was saddened when its US 3DS release was delayed and who gleefully signed in to the store to buy it once it was actually released!

And I like plenty about it, from the excellent (but not necessarily better) arrangement of the music from Rondo, to the great looking burning town stage, to the way the Rondo sprites look as reinterpreted for the SNES. I've mentioned it on a similar thread for every year since time immemorial that I think we'd have nowhere near the hate we have in general for XX if it hadn't been for its superior-but-inaccesible-to-westerners-in-the-90's PC Engine version, AKA many peoples' best Castlevania.

Anyway, it's far from the best Castlevania (I'm not the kind of monster who would make such a claim) in that it's punishingly, unreasonably hard, it removed the branching elements of Rondo, and it suffers from some lousy boss designs, but it's undeserving of much of the hate it gets.





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"Re(10):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Fri 14 Sep 11:36post reply

quote:
Dracula XX: "It's better than GBA's Concerto/Harmony."

Undead legions: there are 53 days left till Halloween to find something nice to say about Dracula XX. I know one of you loves it!

Unless there's another, it's me, I confess to the heresy! I'm the sort of semi-human ghoul who was saddened when its US 3DS release was delayed and who gleefully signed in to the store to buy it once it was actually released!

And I like plenty about it, from the excellent (but not necessarily better) arrangement of the music from Rondo, to the great looking burning town stage, to the way the Rondo sprites look as reinterpreted for the SNES. I've mentioned it on a similar thread for every year since time immemorial that I think we'd have nowhere near the hate we have in general for XX if it hadn't been for its superior-but-inaccesible-to-westerners-in-the-90's PC Engine version, AKA many peoples' best Castlevania.

Anyway, it's far from the best Castlevania (I'm not the kind of monster who would make such a claim) in that it's punishingly, unreasonably hard, it removed the branching elements of Rondo, and it suffers from some lousy boss designs, but it's undeserving of much of the hate it gets.



"It's not TERRIBLE, it's just not as bad as anybody says it is" as the prevailing sentiment we have for it still feels like damning it (UNTO HELL!) with faint praise, though!

It's like when I see this one game that is often on sale in the 3ds/switch eshop that proudly displays "7.5/10" on its product page!







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"Re(2):Re(10):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Sat 15 Sep 01:05post reply

quote:
"It's not TERRIBLE, it's just not as bad as anybody says it is" as the prevailing sentiment we have for it still feels like damning it (UNTO HELL!) with faint praise, though!


I don't know, I thought I was giving it pretty decent praise! I'll be more clear: I love it, not quite as much as other entries (although MUCH more than the 3D entries, which I find to be mediocre at best). Honestly, I prefer it to Maou's beloved Rusty in terms of gameplay (sorry Maou).





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"Re(10):RE: Dracula XX super-gauntlet" , posted Sat 15 Sep 02:29:post reply

quote:
I think we'd have nowhere near the hate we have in general for XX if it hadn't been for its superior-but-inaccesible-to-westerners-in-the-90's PC Engine version, AKA many peoples' best Castlevania.
Have at you! Actually, I'm really glad to see some kind (but reasonable) words with which we can consider poor Dracula XX. The big question, like with all those terrible Square ports of its 16-bit RPGs, is whether the game is any good when you ignore Rondo. Karasu reminds us that it is, at least musically.

On the other hand, I can offer an alternate experience as someone who played the series completely out of order (Nocturne/Symphony, "IV," Dracula XX, Vampire Killer/Bloodlines, X68000 Chronicles, Rondo, GBA series, I, "III") because I didn't get the American B-movies aesthetic of the original entries and required Nocturne's gothic elegance to draw me in. I didn't have Rondo to compare Dracula XX to at the time, but I do remember being disappointed by how poorly Richter controlled compared to 16-bit Simon and how infuriating I found his lack of an invincibility window after getting hit, leading to another hit (invariably into a pit).

Maybe Dracula XX's biggest misfortune was that it had the same Rondo Richter physics for the wrong game! In Rondo, Richter's limited moveset is carefully arranged to allow him to interact precisely with his enemies and environment: the backflip actually will save you, and the ability to moonwalk backwards after holding the attack button makes it easier to fight Axe Knights, as I recall. I don't recall any of this working with Dracula XX's cruel enemy placement, again bringing me back to the Mario 2/USA comparison (spaces rearranged to be harder, but not in a good or thoughtful way).





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[this message was edited by Maou on Sat 15 Sep 04:16]



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"Re(2):Re(10):RE: Dracula 2x post-gauntlet" , posted Sat 15 Sep 11:25post reply

quote:

Maybe Dracula XX's biggest misfortune was that it had the same Rondo Richter physics for the wrong game! In Rondo, Richter's limited moveset is carefully arranged to allow him to interact precisely with his enemies and environment: the backflip actually will save you, and the ability to moonwalk backwards after holding the



Hahaha, now I am remembering all the times I was experimenting with the backflip wondering "maybe this is where I'm supposed to use it?"

Aside from some fun with certain enemies, there's almost never an actually good time to use the backflip in the SNES Dracula X!

I think the moonwalking mechanic could've been useful, but my memory of trying to make use of it was that the motion/grip it required was very awkward.







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"Re(10):RE: Dracula X re-release gauntlet" , posted Tue 25 Sep 07:31post reply

Just as my purchase of an immaculate used copy of the Street Fighter 25th anniversary artbook guarnanteed the near-immediate release of the 30th anniversary artbook, I am pleased to have helped with the re-release of Rondo of Blood on PS4 by finally buying a legit copy of PCE Rondo last week by auction. In both cases, I regret nothing!





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"Re(2):Re(10):RE: Dracula X re-release gauntle" , posted Tue 25 Sep 07:48post reply

quote:
Just as my purchase of an immaculate used copy of the Street Fighter 25th anniversary artbook guarnanteed the near-immediate release of the 30th anniversary artbook, I am pleased to have helped with the re-release of Rondo of Blood on PS4 by finally buying a legit copy of PCE Rondo last week by auction. In both cases, I regret nothing!



I was coming here to post this very bit of news, only to read this (sorry Maou) hilarious bit of info! Thank you, my friend, for your noble sacrifice! I regret to inform everyone that I'm not buying a $200 copy of Dracula XX to make sure it gets included in the collection, no matter how much I love it!





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"Re(2):Re(10):RE: Dracula X re-release gauntle" , posted Tue 25 Sep 16:51post reply

quote:
Just as my purchase of an immaculate used copy of the Street Fighter 25th anniversary artbook guarnanteed the near-immediate release of the 30th anniversary artbook, I am pleased to have helped with the re-release of Rondo of Blood on PS4 by finally buying a legit copy of PCE Rondo last week by auction. In both cases, I regret nothing!

So...where's the Switch version? I've always wanted to play SOTN, but never found the opportunity to.