A Call to Action
By Squalid Pumpkin - 7/12/09
Anyone who's been keeping up with the Castlevania series is aware of the split fanbase - veteran gamers or honorary veterans who value the originality and freshness of early installments vs. newbies used to Symphony of the Night clones. (So maybe you've noticed my bias already ;) ) Koji Igarashi has a very firm grip on the series, though the veterans generally agree he should allow others to contribute.
Like the fans. This is as good a time as ever to offer ideas for the series, like the following...
1.) Castlevania Beginnings Chronicles - Contains original and updated versions of Castlevanias I, II, III and IV as well as Vampire Killer and Haunted Castle.
2.) Castlevania Gameboy Chronicles - Contains original and updated versions of Castlevania Adventure, Castlevania 2: Belmont's Revenge, Castlevania Legends, Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, and Aria of Sorrow.
All Castlevania Chronicles games are to include the following extras: Updated versions of each game featuring updated graphics and music (of course), A save function and/or a level select function where you can go back and play any level after completing it without having to play the whole game over, Sound Modes, Boss Rush Modes for each game, Debug Modes, fun new multiplayer modes, new sidequests alongside the main games, the ability to play as previously unplayable characters and enemies in the games (Hugh Grant in Circle of the Moon, skeletons, mermen, etc.), the ability to play as characters across games (ex: Sypha Belnades in Vampire Killer, Christopher Belmont in Castlevania Legends), the ability to view official artwork, the ability to listen to one's own personal library of music in-game, and the ability to use points from completed levels to buy things like level maps and alternate costumes for characters.
For simplicity's sake, though, the extras will all be optional, the main game completable without taking advantage of them.
But all these extras and updates are nothing if Castlevania never does anything simply new, so here are ideas beyond re-releasing old games...
3.) Castlevania the MMORPG - Playing online in the Nintendo DS titles is awesome. So imagine a whole castle with players wandering around and talking via keyboard, even arranging battles in the coliseum and teaming up against bosses. Designers will update it as time goes on.
4.) Sim Castlevania - Will Wright has had enough success with the Sim series, but teaming up with Konami for a Sim Castlevania could be the beginning of a whole new phase of success. Rather than making one's way through Dracula's castle as a hero - like Simon Belmont - in Sim Castlevania you will play as Dracula, creating a castle and setting up monsters and traps to keep Simon Belmont from reaching the castle keep and defeating you. This could also launch a whole new line of Sim titles based on popular series - Sim Super Mario Bros., where you're Bowser trying to keep Mario from finding and defeating you, Sim Sonic the Hedgehog, where you're Robotnik, etc.
5.) Castlevania Fighter - This game, possibly a sequel to Judgment, will be instead a 2-D fighter (since that's where the series is proven to excel). It'd be a shame to let all those smooth battle physics from the DS titles go to waste - this will take two-player further than just racing and beating team courses. Considering Solid Snake was included in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Castlevania could always make its way in that direction as well with characters like Simon Belmont, Alucard and Dracula himself.
It will have an online mode where people can fight from around the world and team battles in addition to standard one-on-one. It'll include as many good characters (Simon, Sonia and Richter Belmonts, Alucard, Sypha Belnades, Grant Danasty, Maria Renard, Eric Lecarde, Cornell, Soma Cruz, Shanoa, Aeon and Kid Dracula) as bad (Dracula, Death, Frankenstein, Slogra, Gaibon, Axe Armor, the Devil, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a Skeleton, a Merman, a Succubus, and a Witch). It will also feature such staple Castlevania locations to fight in as the Castle Entrance, Main Hall, Bridge, Chapel, Clock Tower, Coliseum, Courtyard, Dungeon, Library, Castle Keep, Transylanian Woods, Transylvanian Village and the Chaotic Realm. Save for the fancy Wii controls, I also don't see why it would be such a crime to take advantage of some of the elements from Castlevania Judgment, like changing a character's palette color, using different weapons of one's own character's or that offered by the stage, and using monsters and traps against one another.
6.) The final defeat of Dracula in 1999 - Come on! Why hasn't this one been made yet? Everything's been established - the characters, the story - someone just needs to execute it in a captivating way and design the game to break barriers for platformers everywhere... Okay, maybe not so simple.
Finally - and as a necessary step should these ideas reach fruition - I hold that Konami should not do any more Symphony-like titles. The formula's been explored and they've had a good run, but if they can't do anything more original than copying a game from over ten years ago, I'd personally much rather they put the series on hold for a while - especially if it means they come out of the reprieve with fresh ideas.
If you care enough about the series and have ideas of your own, the following is a link of Konami's various addresses where you can voice your opinions:
I'd like Konami to explore genres with Castlevania, and who knows? Maybe playing the field will lead to something entirely new.