Castlevania Judgment: A Dream Realized for at least one Person

The recent E3 conference has left many video game enthusiasts disappointed by the somewhat ineffectual efforts of each major game manufacturer to allay doubt that, in the upcoming year, those who have purchased a given video game console will reflect on that investment with satisfaction. Nintendo, in particular, has been made the subject of censure for its failure to even grasp, much less fulfill, the desires of the demographic often referred to as ‘hardcore gamers’, this underscored by their professed belief that an installment in the ‘Animal Crossing’ series will appease those on whom was built the success of ‘Gears of War’. Nevertheless, though many of those who, in their childhoods, passed countless hours playing Yoshi’s Island may feel betrayed as the former kingpin of virtual entertainment gradually shifts its focus to casual players, my faith in the men and women who brought us Super Mario World remains steadfast, for their obligation to me as producers of the Wii console I own has been completely resolved by a single act, this act being the announcement that CASTLEVANIA JUDGMENT will be released sometime this fall, exclusively for the foresaid system. 

As one may be able to surmise from the fact that I have included ‘Dracula’  among the broad categories to which topics discussed in this blog can typically be attributed, others of which are ‘movies’ and ‘literature’, Castlevania is the video game franchise of which I am most fond. Although I am of the opinion that, since the 1997 release of its 13th installment, Symphony of the Night, the series has become entrenched in a swiftly staling gameplay formula derivative of Metroid and an irritating art style derivative of anime, the opportunity to conquer the sanguinary Count in a spectacular fashion, often involving the use a whip aptly named ‘Vampire Killer’, draws me back, without fail, each time a new title is released. Of late, Castlevania’s legacy has perpetuated itself primarily through side-scrollers for Nintendo’s handheld systems, all of which have been profoundly similar in execution, and 3D adventure games for the Playstation 2 and XBOX, all of which have been both profoundly similar in execution and profoundly mediocre in quality, so ergo my enthusiasm for successive iterations of this pattern has understandably waned. Though the property has certainly spawned good games in the last eight years, these games have failed to truly excite me as I’ve known precisely what to expect. Judgment promises to bring this trend, be it for better or for worse, to an end, for two primary reasons- the release is a Wii exclusive, so a unique control scheme is all but guaranteed, and it’s a fully 3D fighting game, Castlevania’s first entry in the genre. Beyond this, the most inarguably awesome element of Judgment as we now know it is DRACULA’S PLAYABILITY. The chance to play as the man himself, rather than some mopey progeny or flamboyantly-clad reincarnation thereof, is one rarely offered by video games, a first for even Castlevania if I’m not mistaken, and this irresistibly cool opportunity all but ensures that I’ll purchase the game should it prove anything but irredeemably awful, which possibility is always extant. Connectivity with the next handheld episode in the saga, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, provides me with a greater impetus to acquire that game as well. In conclusion, I applaud you, Nintendo and Konami– while my peers may turn their backs on you, and while the majority of people may think I’m demented for being pleased by the directions you pursue, you still know how to make me happy. The below awesome fucking logo may be tentative, but it’s leagues cooler than those of any other Castlevania games, as it most closely resembles Alien Sex Fiend’s. 

    Castlevania Judgment Screenshot

On the subject of playing as Dracula, I have just been stricken by a superb idea: free roaming Dracula game, a la Grand Theft Auto. As Dracula, you roam through the streets of victorian London, preying on the city’s unwitting denizens and transforming them into your Un-Dead brethren. Needless to say, each of the Count’s myriad powers are at your disposal- command of the Earth’s meaner creatures, the power to take the form of a bat, a wolf, mist, or elemental dust in the moonlight,  matchless cunning in drugging the servants of noblewomen. By strategically distributing your earth-boxes throughout the game-world, you advance your aim of extending your influence to entail the whole of the metropolis, though canny mortals may intrigue against you in hopes of thwarting your diabolical designs.  Of course, missions would be available in order to provide the game some sort of framework, though I cannot at this time cogitate any idea as to what those missions might be as, on the whole, Dracula is too cool for tasks outside of blood and conquest. Holy shit, that I am merely recording my opinions concerning video games rather than receiving limitless funding with which to engineer my own is a travesty.

– Gothicus Maximus

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4 Responses to “Castlevania Judgment: A Dream Realized for at least one Person”

  1. A video game preview! What else, aside from Alucard’s gorgeous bishounen depictions…

    Now, as for Dracula GTS (Grand Theft Sanguivorous) I’d certainly stand by such a videogame. Especially because the formula and world/mission building aspects of GTA have proven how a powerful narrative structure and a well-peopled video game city can construct an excellent game. It also provides a brilliant backdrop to tell the story from Dracula’s point-of-view, pitting villains like a Van Helsing society against the often lone-figure of the vampire in taking and developing territory. It also gives handles to introduce Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard, and other elementally English prototypical themes for outwitting authorities, expanding influence, striking down prey, controlling and mesmerizing Renfields…

    I just recently purchased a point-and-click adventure game—Dracula: Origin. I have not had the chance to play it in full, but it ranks to at least be interesting from a literary aspect.

  2. You know, I’d get behind that.

    I think he could probably do missions via journal entries and interactions with people. Obviously Drac would have to be a little more covert as to not reveal his identity to those willing to slay him. But I’m willing to bet he’s more than capable of solving the needs of the people by hunting those with the richest blood; that being the ones you must kill in the missions.

    Of course, you should always be able to do whatever the hell you’d like as well.

  3. gothicusmaximus Says:

    I need to present a formal proposal to Electronic Arts or something. I’m thinking some real time strategy elements akin to those featured in Sid Meier’s Civilization series could also be incorporated, to reflect Dracula’s administration of his Transylvanian fiefdom even as he kicks ass overseas.

  4. […] souls who actually read this blog on a consistent basis might recall that, as an addendum to the post I authored in anticipation of Castlevania Judgment, I conceptualized a video game in playing which one assumes the role of Count Dracula as he roams […]

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