Undead and loving it

Hey! It’s Halloween. Which means it’s traditional for nerdlings the Web over to write about Castlevania. Granted, around here that’s also true for the other 364 days of the year BUT WHATEVER

At the moment, my non-FFXII, non-Zelda, non-freaking-out-over-console-launch time is being spent replaying Portrait of Ruin for review (since the copy I blasted through last month wasn’t actually reviewable despite reassurances to the contrary. Tch). The differences between the two versions are minor, but still feel pretty significant. I don’t think I’ve ever really appreciated the fine-tuning that games go through before their final release before, but now that I’ve had a front-row seat to the process I’m surprised by what a difference little things make in the final product. You know — rebalanced difficult, repositioned enemies, not crashing randomly at the most frustrating moments. That sort of thing.

Anyway, the usual embargoes probably apply, but I should think there would be no harm in mentioning that the tweaks are entirely for the better and that several of the grievances Shane and I aired during our recent 1UP Show chat have in fact been resolved. Like the fact that Charlotte isn’t completely useless as the point character anymore, for instance.

The most important thing, of course, is that the series’ meticulous attention to completely pointless and trivial details is still in effect. That’s been one of Castlevania’s high points since the start — things like the surprisingly consistent and logical architecture in the original game show the extra touches of love that make the best games so good. I keep learning new things about Symphony of the Night, even after nine years and a dozen playthroughs; last week Sharkey told me that certain rare food items can only be obtained with Meal Tickets, and that you can use the Meal Ticket/Duplicator combo to spam the bad guys with food. Who knew? Now Persephone wields the skull-shaped vacuum cleaner, which is brilliant, and there are inscrutible secrets connected to a hidden (but functional) cash register.

Well, time to catch up on my rest so I’m all fresh-faced when I hang with the Regginator. I need to formulate some insightful questions before our interview, and I don’t think things like “If Nintendo is all about the Blue Ocean, why is the Wii white?” are going to cut it. Suggestions happily fielded!

25 thoughts on “Undead and loving it

  1. So will Nintendo demand that Konami remove all (what I assume are) Nazi references in Portrait of Ruin like they did with Wolfenstein and Bionic Commando before it?

  2. Questions for Reggie? Here’s some that I’m sure will be artfully dodged.
    1. What’s the deal with Wii-DS connectivity? And will it be more than the afterthought of previous consolehandheld integrations (ie. will it be an actual feature, rather then something left up to each individual developer to integrate [and then only really used for first and second-party games {to unlock bonus features, though that would still be preferable to having to make micropayments to unlock them}])?
    2. Are there any plans to produce a casual developer SDK for the virtual console, akin to Microsoft’s XNA progrqam?

  3. Ask Reggie when he’s finally going to be a playable character in Smash Bros. He’s easily the toughest character that Nintendo’s got available.

  4. “If Nintendo is all about the Blue Ocean, why is the Wii white?”


    Ask Reggie about the ‘secret’ that is allegedly still to be revealed about the Wii!
    And about online multiplayer with Wii games and Virtual Console games!

  5. I’m kind of curious how backwards compatible the controllers are going to be. Like: Do I have to shell out money for that wonky ass retro controller or can I play old nintendo games using the gamecube controller I have? (Or SNES games using the Hori Pad I have without the annoying joysticks)

  6. I think the reason for the lack of information on Wii-DS connectivity is simply that there is not much being done. It seems kind of a no-brainer considering the DS’s popularity in Japan, though…
    I don’t think that retro controller looks very wonky-ass at all and was planning on picking up a couple, but I forgot all about that Hori pad. I could almost forgive it for being purple.
    If I could ask Reggie one question? I have a personal theory that since the bitGeneration games were submitted for ESRB approval but never announced for release, that they would show up on the virtual console in some form. At the very least they could put Rythym Heaven out there.

  7. I’m really impressed with your description of a newly-rebalanced Castlevania. Is that a common practice, to get a basically complete preview copy and then have stuff made EVEN BETTER for the actual release?
    It seems like Konami is putting their best foot forward for PoR. Have they added…other stuff?

  8. The “last secret” was Mii Channels. He hasn’t said “there’s still a secret!” since mid Sept at least. Don’t play the fool, Parish! Don’t ask silly questions!
    Anyway… HOW many crows are in that picture? Are they Ninja Gaiden crows? I can’t play this game…

  9. Hey Jeremy, you should ask Reggie if he likes getting X-mas cards from his fans. And then get his address for me.

  10. Ask him if there will be any plans on making legacy console games released in different regions available on the Virtual Console, including versions of games we did get but were changed for varying reasons. I wouldn’t ming being able to get Hitler no Fukkatsu, for instance.

  11. Ummm, quantity over quality I guess from me. I hope maybe one of them helps.

    Q: Is Nintendo planning on making most of its first party software follow the example set in Mario Kart DS, or does it have another scheme entirely?

    Q: Does Nintendo have any plans to further refine “classic” play games? Can we expect a few new games still in the old style from Nintendo?

    Q: Given the power of the virtual console, will there be options to instantaneously save games? This could help eliminate the need for cumbersome password systems and could help make the ridiculously hard oldies a little more bearable for those users weaned on 32-and-higher bit machines.
    ASIDE: That was the most polite way of asking, “WILL YOUR EMULATOR HAVE SAVE-STATES!?” that I could think of…

    Q: Would you like to reccomend any cult classics that will be availible on the Virtual Console to our readers, and why?

    ASIDE: I guess this one goes without saying… I guess I’m pretty bad at making questions.
    Q: Any updates on the WiiConnect24 services and technologies? What kind of a timeline for giving the Wii full internet support does Nintendo have so far?

    ASIDE:I know NOA already has a whole mass of frothng at the mouth fanboys clamoring over it, but I’m one of those filthy creatures dammit!
    Q: Will Nintendo continue to pursue the localization of low-risk low-return cult franchises like the Mother series?

    Q: I’d like to ask about any plans to further the DS’s backwards compatibility with GBA software. The DS is sweet and all, but I mostly got it ’cause my GBA had a bad case of DOG and now I can’t link up with my buddies to play games like Shining Soul II. I’d seriously consider getting a GBA “wrapper” card if I thought it would let me use the wireless connection as some kind of surrogate connector cable.

    Maybe… This helped?

  12. Michael Nicolai: The Hori pad is also available in black.
    OH! Ask the Reg if a US version of Orbital would star his head and its gravitational pull!

  13. I’m far too inattentive to know if it’s been asked and answered already, but I’d like to know if there’s any plans to make any of the Virtual Console games playable on the DS.

  14. Hmm…

    Although the answer would undoubtedly be no comment, throw him a question about any future emulation/backwards compatibility for GB and GB Color games on either the Wii or DS at some point in the future. After the sweet wonder of the DS Lite, every iteration of the GBA seems absolutely barbaric.

  15. Annoyingly! The Reggie interview was today rather than tomorrow as I’d been told, so I deferred the interview to Mark MacDonald. Sorry :(

  16. Maybe you can pawn off the anticipated stick and nailbat beating to Mark too.
    Hey – when you said you swiped Elite Beat Agents, did you mean swiped like a debit card? Is the Wii’s super-secret final feature an e-Reader attachment to the remote?
    But seriously, I just remembered another question I would have loved to see asked – any chance of network multiplayer for Virtual Console games? I’m so psyched for a marathon co-op session of Toejam & Earl.

  17. Woo. Halloween. And FF12 release day, obviously. How far’d you get in this game, Parish? Or did you finish it? I don’t remember. I’m not far into it, but yeah, it’s pretty good stuff. I was kind of iffy on the battle system at first, but now I’m getting a feel for it.

  18. We wrote metroid codes on all sorts of scrap paper and books and priceless vases (in permanent marker) and we LIKED IT that way!
    Lets see, no one has made the “take names” joke yet…

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