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[Castlevania: Resurrection] [Castlevania: The Bloodletting] [Game.com - Symphony of the Night]

 

Castlevania: Resurrection

. . .
General Information
Was to Be Released: 2000
Heroes: Victor Belmont & Sonia Belmont
System For: Sega Dreamcast
Alternate Names: None
Title - Logo
. . .

The Lowdown

In the late 90's, it fell upon Konami Computer Entertainment of Kobe (KCEK) to continue work on one of its parent company's main cash cows, the Castlevania series. Their creation would perhaps be the biggest, most risky leap--the series' first foray into the world of 3D. Thus Castlevania 64, to be played exclusively on Nintendo's N64, was on its way. And everything seemed to be rolling along well until word spread that due to a quickly-approaching deadline, KCEK's vision and scope would have to be downsized; as such, many of the company's promises, which entailed a large stage selection and the ability to play as four different characters, would undoubtedly be broken. By the time the finished project reached reviewers, it was clear that the game was anything but the creators' ideal, and the package amounted to only average for an entry into a series defined by greatness. Castlevania 64 was a critical disappointment, and it didn't fare much better commercially. But Konami thought it had the answer: KCEK would appease the audience by creating and releasing Castlevania: Special Edition, which was a more complete iteration of its original vision, and the game would be in our hands later that year. It arrived as Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness with the hope that all would be forgiven. However, due to Castlevania 64's lukewarm reception plus general disinterest, not to mention rumors of another project, Legacy was instead largely ignored. While more complete, the update was only better to a point, and it was by this juncture clear that the whole project was a miserable failure. This, unfortunately, accomplished two things: It further soiled the series' reputation, and it cast a shadow of doubt in regard to Castlevania's formula working in 3D.

However, Konami was not quite ready to quit on the concept of Castlevania in 3D. We know this because Konami of America had announced that the group was hard at work with Castlevania: Resurrection--slated for the upcoming Sega Dreamcast, the first 128-bit next-generation console to hit the market--even as the N64 games were in production. (Konami loves new hardware, so this wasn't that much of a shock.) It became official sometime after Castlevania 64's release in 1999, and its prognosis was clear: It would be met with immediate skepticism. Questions arose, like "Why would they try that again?" and "Are they crazy?" But in the following months, especially at that year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Konami seemed to wash away some of the doubt by releasing a batch of very impressive screenshots and movies of the highly detailed game in action. Surely this was going to be a winner and clear away all of the bad will residual from the two N64 disasters.

But then things started to go wrong. In June of 1999, it was announced that Resurrection had been delayed. This wasn't a big deal, since a lot of games are usually delayed for the products' betterment. The problem is that delays became a theme: First it was delayed until 2000. Then we heard that the project was dead in the water, which Konami denied only to delay it again until September of 2000. Something was not right. Finally, in March of 2001, Resurrection was put on "indefinite hold." Though many optimists would try to humor us, they couldn't hide the true meaning of those words: Cancellation. Only a month or two later, Konami announced that the project was officially canned.

We can only speculate as to why this happened based off of the two reasons that we know contributed to the game's demise: (1) Since the project was being handled largely by Konami of America, there was trouble in gathering up and maintaining a workforce. Because of a difference in organization of their American headquarters--as opposed to Japan, where the company has separate divisions--it seemed to be another case of a group taking on too much at once. As reported, Konami wasn't happy with the game's progress, which was likely the cause of the delays. Constant reshuffling led to a workforce so scarce that many inside began to jokingly label the project "Canceledvania." Also, (2) the specter of a little thing called the PS2 loomed large. The anticipation for Sony's new console was so great that many deemed the Dreamcast to be a simple holdover. As it had happened with the Saturn, developers were inclined to drop their support for Sega and dive into the waiting arms of Sony. And because the Dreamcast had become lameduck before there was ever any semblance of control taken upon Resurrection's direction, it was for Konami by then not worth it (read: viable). Many speculated that Konami would move the title over to the PS2, but such theories had no merit.

 

The Game Explained

The story: In the 19th century, after the exploits of Reinhardt Schneider, the forces of Dracula wasted no time in planning his next resurrection. The head of this operation was a vampire Countess who wanted nothing more than to gain revenge on the Belmonts who had repeatedly sealed away her master, and in time--with the help of his spirit's keymaster, Death--she would do just that. "No problem," you say. "A steadfast Belmont was there to willingly meet the challenge, right?" Well, no, unfortunately: It seemed that the heir to the family's throne, Victor Belmont (who they for some reason modeled after Tim Curry), was a bit of a coward. At an early age, with the burden overwhelming, he chose not to accept his destiny as a vampire hunter and ran away from home. During his years spent traveling the lonely, unforgiving road, he became a wandering gambler and a soldier of fortune. But as Oedipus taught us, you can't alter your destiny by running away from it; if all would remain equal, he would not be able to run forever. Even so, the balance felt somewhat threatened. Thus, the forces of nature--as they had done with Alucard in the case of Richter--struggled to maintain the order, and they had no other choice but to summon Sonia Belmont, who they would rip right out of the 15th century and warp into the 19th. If Victor were to disappear, surely Sonia, a heroin of time, would instead meet the challenge.

Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

So, as publications learned, Resurrection was to feature two selectable characters: Sonia Belmont and Victor Belmont. There's no word on how their adventures would tie together or if there was some kind of ulterior purpose for Sonia being there. I assume that her side objective, ultimately, would be to whip Victor into shape (oh, for fun) and set him on the right path, to maintain the balance. I say this because I study the screenshots and sense that the overall concentration seems to be focused mainly on Sonia rather than Victor--as if Konami had yet to do much with him. It makes me think that her adventures were meant to lead into his, as Cornell's did to Reinhardt and Carrie's.

As for the gameplay: The increasingly atmospheric adventure was said to be heavy on both puzzle-solving and boss battles, with the strongest creatures assigned to classes, such as low-level bosses, sub-bosses, and major bosses. The heroes would battle creatures old and new, like axe knights and fishmen, who would be given new life thanks to the Dreamcast's powerful hardware. Sonia and Victor would deal with the threat using their respective versions of the Vampire Killer whip and the mystic sub-weapons: A true boomerang (as seen in the top-left portions of screenshots), holy water, a dagger and an axe; apparently, the heroes would be able to charge up both the whip and the sub-weapons at any time, which would no doubt drain their blue magic meters. I wish I could say more about the game and how it was meant to play, but the information above is all we know.

Personally, I don't want to say that I'm "glad" that Resurrection never saw the light of day. From the later screenshots, it looked absolutely amazing, but I'm well past the point where I'd ever give a game a chance based only on its looks (that is, I'm not ten years old). And after Legacy of Darkness, even though I enjoyed it somewhat, I wasn't quite ready to give Konami another chance. I'd like to think that the American headquarters, which I'm sure encompassed many of those who grew up as die-hard fans of the series, would "get it" and know how to bring it into the realm of 3D based on their love of its working formulas. They couldn't have done any worse than Lament of Innocence. It just didn't work out for them. Still, if it's Castlevania's fate to one day swim solely in the waters of 3D, I wouldn't mind if Konami of America was one day tasked in "resurrecting" its project, to maybe show them how it's done. Just rethink that dopey storyline first, will you, fellas?

 

Concept Art

Along with the screenshots came character art, builds and advanced models--some with their own descriptions superimposed. These files are shown here. To see an image in its rightful size, simply click on the smaller versions listed below. (Credit goes to www.2dand3d.com for the character builds.)

Artwork

Victor Belmont
Sonia Belmont

Character Builds

Sonia Belmont
Female Dracula
Aristocrat Ghosts
Ware Wolves
Count Dracula
Dracula Transform

Character Models

Ware Wolf
Zombie
Fishman
Mummy Man
Pirate Skeleton
Axe Knight
Death

 

All Screenshots

In a way, these shots are our only proof that Castlevania: Resurrection actually existed. Below are samples of screenshots; to see the full-sized versions, simply click on the smaller ones seen below. For some reason, IGN.com and its ilk brand screenshots with their respective logos. I don't know why they do that--I mean, these are publicly released ("not captured by you") screenshots, guys. They're as much ours as they are yours. I don't own anything here, and neither do you.

Sonia battles some four-headed bone pillars
Sonia tangles with a flame-based robed demon
Sonia swipes at a large bone-throwing skeleton
Victor runs from a portal-spawned specter
Zombies emerge as Sonia enters the castle
Even more zombies clog up the castle entrance
A warewolf guards another entrance
Sonia tries to figure out a way around a hydra
Sonia uses an axe item-crash to stifle a bone pillar
Two dark wizards are about to meet their maker
On a cliff, Sonia is surrounded by skeletons
Medusa strikes in the chapel
A short profile of Victor Belmont
A close-up of Sonia Belmont brandishing the whip
In an Egyptian-themed cavern, a mummy man lurks
The murky abyss is home to many phantasms
More phantasms attack in the dimly-lit caverns
The horse-riding Grim Reaper reveals itself
Sonia versus the staff-wielding monk, tonight at 8.
A close-up of Victor "Wadsworth" Belmont
Dracula's transparent mug foreshadows a war
You lost. Your punishment: A 6-minute loading time

Additionally, you can find video files of the game in action on this site. It's also here where one of the game's artists confirms that the game ultimately succumbed to the Dreamcast's slow death. (Thanks to Morgoth for some of this information.)

 

Official Site Updates

1/1/07: The site is offline as of this date.

8/15/05: As of this last notification, the site has seen an update in the form of three short videos for the enemy "Arisocratic Ghost." Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3

 

Legacy Media

Youtube Video: Castlevania Resurrection Intro - contributed by Akumajou Otaku

Castlevania: Resurrection Soundtrack: Though its soundtrack is expectedly incomplete, some people were able rip a number of tunes from a prototype that was briefly released after the title's cancellation; these files number 17. Click the link to zip over to my MP3 page and listen to Resurrection's soundtrack.

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