Castlevania: Portrait of Type-A Personalities

With the release of all kinds of Konami-created Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin bonus art on the Japanese site, it becomes clear that the horribly-rendered official packaging and promotional illustrations (which made the hero look like some sort of amateurish Full Metal Alchemist reject battling a pimptacular Gollum) were a carefully-calculated plan to make the game fail. And that’s just not cool. It’s a fine game, even if the second half is a bit of a mess, but why would they possibly use horrible kids-anime art to sell the game when someone on staff is capable of rendering work like this?

Honestly, Konami. Sometimes you bewilder me.

Speaking of Portrait, I’m replaying the game in fits and starts, which I think may be the best approach for this particular chapter of the series. It all turns into a big homogenous blur when I play for more than 30 minutes at a time, but the “train ride home” approach makes it downright effervescent. I’m taking the most obsessive-compulsive approach possible, backtracking constantly, warping out of levels as soon as I acquire a skill that unlocks sections of other stages, grinding foes until I get their drops, that sort of thing. Currently my clock is at ten hours and I still have three more portraits to clear, if that tells you anything.

I’ve also been doing pretty much the same thing with everything I play in my spare time. I finished up FFV Advance over the weekend — well, “finished” in the sense that I walloped the final boss, not that I’ve completed the bonus content. I had 40 hours on the clock when I finally faced off against Neo Exdeath, which I think may in fact have been too much. I managed to crush him with a party that included no Freelancer-class fighters but did contain a Ranger, of all things. That’s probably a sign that my party was a bit overleveled.

I’m not the sort of person who does hyper-obsessive things, like “complete Final Fantasy Tactics with a party of all white mages” or “beat all the dungeons for every piece of gear in Disgaea 2” or whatever. I blame my steady diet of reviews, which forces me to rush through things at breakneck speed. I guess I’m exerting my free will be taking way too much time and being way too fixated on the mundane. Lord help me, I just know I’m gonna go after Yiazmat once I get to the end of FFXII. And the only way to go after that is downward into a never-ending spiral of lifeless fixation.

(In other words: MMOs, here I come.)

P.S., I’ve reviewed Twilight Princess for GameCube. I don’t want to give anything away, but I hear it’s pretty good.

20 thoughts on “Castlevania: Portrait of Type-A Personalities

  1. I’ll probably smack my forehead in recognition when you tell me, but who’s the artist on that wonderful picture?

    I keep trying to do absolutely everything in the games I own, but after enough item dungeons, continuing to use Disgaea 2 as an example, I burn out and often end up not finishing the main game, stupidly enough. I’m reaching that point with FFXII, so I’m planning on taking a break, rejoining the actual plot, and then worrying about rare items and marks and all that after I’ve won.

  2. That picture is positively sexy. Who did it? I can’t say that it looks typical of Kojima’s art work. It’s too clever and has a distinct lack of gothic/frilly clothing.

  3. The Dungeon… of course! Why didn’t I think of that? It’s been so long since I last checked it.

  4. I don’t have component cables for Wii, but I do have the option to turn widescreen support on and I did. I think I’m supposed to set my screen to Stretch mode to get the proper widescreen picture ala PS2. Am I not actually getting it?

    On that note, I haven’t had any problem resizing my TV from stretch-wide to Normal for VC and that kind of thing either, so composite has it’s advantages for us CRT people who don’t have to worry about interlacing.

  5. Did you mean to give it a “10” or were you still mirrored and meant to give it an “01”?

    Nice green, BTW.

  6. Re: Wii widescreen settings, I had no trouble running Zelda in widescreen before I got my component cables. The picture looked a bit blurry, but it was definitely widescreen, not just stretched.

  7. That Persephone picture is totally going to be my wallpaper when I get my new computer next week. I don’t know who that artist is, but that art is hotttttt.

    I’ve felt bad about how slowly my FF XII progress is going. I’ll play it obsessively for weeks, get distracted by something else for a few more weeks, procrastinate getting started again, then actually get started and remember how awesome it is, repeat. My characters have been leveling up nicely, though. I may be able to beat the game shortly before Christmas.

  8. So… In Wii, will I be able to make Link & his world proper if I am, in fact, a lefty? Or will I be punished for being left-handed?

  9. Come to the dark side. Come to Azeroth. Seriously, its a lovely lovely game and so much fun. I held off playing it for a long time as I thought it would consume my life. And it has, sort of. But its much easier to dip in and out of than it seems.

  10. A friend of mine is fighting Yizamat right now.

    He’s on his second day now.

    After 50 %, Yizamat’s defense and attack rises. At 20 %, his level doubles. And he can heal himself.

  11. Yeah, I’m about 55 hours into FFXII now I think, and I still haven’t made it to Archades for the first time. The world’s just so big with so much exploring to do. And with the plot growing so… I dunno, sort of slowly and organically, I don’t get the same “OMG must get to next cut scene as soon as possible” drive I’ve had with previous FFs. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all, it’s just a very different experience. It’s nice to have real meaty optional stuff integrated all throughout, rather than just being tacked on near end-game.

    And thanks for the direct link to PoR image goodies. Mmmm, pretty.

  12. I’m on the last million HPs on Yiazmat…took me 21 hours to get that far…and I keep failing to get away at the right time. On one hand, I’m proud of myself for toughing through at level 65/66 (I’ve gained a level because I’ve run back and forth 41 times) without Reverse, but…man, I just want to hurt something at this point.

    in other words: you might try that cheap auto-leveling trick.

  13. I forget where I read it, but I think Konami is aiming for the kids with the Castlevania art. Nice art is only for adults, apparently.

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