The lights are on
The struggle against Dracula is eternal, spanning console generations and crossing entire genres. MercurySteam is doing exciting new things with the Lords of Shadow trilogy, but the series has turned into something different than what we’ve come to love over the years. What if we took the best parts of the best Castlevania games and merged them into an unbeatable whole?
Progression – Dawn of Sorrow
Item drops have given vampire slayers new capabilities ever since Simon got his first lucky axe, but none have done it better than the franchise’s first Nintendo DS outing. Soma’s ability to occasionally absorb the soul of a fallen enemy opened up a whole new world of passive abilities, active attacks, summon spells, and one-off powers like a spectral vacuum cleaner that absorbs HP from opponents.
Weapons – Symphony of the Night
Magic has always been a big part of the hero’s arsenal, but super-powered fireballs can’t beat having a trusty weapon at your side. Symphony of the Night has a lot of features worth stealing, but its weapon design is particularly inspired. Daggers and fist weapons sacrifice range for speed, while two-handed swords leave Alucard vulnerable to attacks during their long animations but hit like trucks. Most importantly, though, unique weapons like the Chakram throwing rings, madly overpowered Shield Rod, and room-clearing Runesword break all the rules and let players experiment with entirely new playstyles.
No matter how crazy the selection gets, though, no Castlevania game could be considered perfect without the Vampire Killer.
Multiplayer – Harmony of Despair
The almost exclusively multiplayer downloadable title wasn’t what Castlevania fans were expecting or asking for, but the concept of letting players team up and simultaneously fight through enormous levels or even an entire castle is incredible. A separate co-op mode built for two to four players, with playable heroes taken from the series’ entire history, would be a lovely addition to the ultimate Castlevania game.
Level Design – Super Castlevania IV
You’re not drunk – the room is really spinning. This title’s use of the SNES’s Mode-7 capabilities blew away our conceptions of what a 2D platformer level could be. Castlevania has always been at its best when blending traversal with combat, and bending the rules like this 16-bit outing does is the ideal way to keep both of those elements fresh.
[Next up: Boss fights, soundtracks, and heroes.]
Email the author Adam Biessener, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
They've made the perfect Castlevania several times-there really isn't anything I need changed in Symphony, or either of the Sorrow games.
I think Ecclesia did leveling/progression better than DS. The idea of building your power based on what you use is addictive and allows for some creative combinations. That aside, I love the music, love the 2d exploration style. I don't care about the story - yes, there's a vampire. Now go kill it! Perfect. Works for me. Oh, and the bosses from Ecclesia are perfect. Some people complained they were "too hard" but I loved finally having a challenge that wasn't just ridiculous (looking at you, Creature + flea man & Death in #1.)
I loved Lords of Shadow, despite it being Castlevania MOSTLY in name. I've been hoping for years, (and have posted on here several time) about how sickeningly excited I would be for a new, 2D Castlevania on consoles. SotN is my favorite game, and I would love to see another one that blows it out of the water.
Order of Ecclesia had some amazing bosses, although Symphony of the Night's are more iconic to me based purely on nostalgia. As for music, SotN had that sweet guitar solo in The Tragic Prince!
Love to see versions of castlevania 1 thru 3 an super casltevania. Nothin crazy, jus a slight touch up. Best music too from these games
I wouldn't mind seeing a great 2D Castlevania. What with the awesome reboots of the Super Mario series, Donkey Kong Country, and Rayman, I think they could make a really spectacular 2D offering
I would agree with every aspect here except the bosses. Order of Eccelsia had awesome bosses but they were often made way too difficult by the fact that you often could only get hit twice before dying or needing to use up all your healing items. I realize that they were trying to get you to learn how to use all the abilities to dodge enemy attacks; but I hate it when I have to start a boss fight over just to learn its tells and attacks, and I REALLY hate starting the same boss fight over for hours at a time because I messed up once.
Other than that I would like to see some more interesting locations for their levels. Castles and caves are all well and good but they stop being 'scary' (horror-based themes) when you've been there and done that a hundred times before. How about a sunken ship as an entire level, how about a deserted city block, how about a sewer of blood, or how about a dream sequence where the player must fight their own fears before being able to face Dracula? I'm just saying that Castlevania in the modern age has so much potential to go anywhere and make a totally unique experience.
Castlevania....What fond memories I've had with this game.