I hear tell there’s a new Castlevania game out this week. This is interesting, because I think it will be the first Castlevania I won’t be buying at launch since… Bloodlines, I guess? And that was because I didn’t own a Genesis. Lords of Shadow seems like a perfectly competent game, but it’s a long way from the things I liked about the original Castlevania to the God of War-inspired stop-and-brawl combat of Lords.
Even when it’s dabbled in non-linearity, the Castlevania series has always had a powerful sense of forward momentum to it. Simon and his kin may move slowly, but they’re constantly pressing ahead. The 3D entries of the series always lose that inertial force, and Lords looks to be no different. I played through the bulk of this old, old Castlevania a few weeks ago at Muteki Mario — I made it to Death, barely lost when I chucked some triple boomerangs in the wrong direction, and thereafter decided to focus on socializing rather than gaming — and what struck me most about the game was its rhythm. Played correctly, the classic Castlevanias have an amazing rhythm to them, a graceful syncopation of marching, jumping, and attacking.
It’s been ages since anyone’s made a Castlevania game with that feel, but I think that when a developer manages to capture the walk-jump-whip flow of the NES games, I’ll take an interest in the series again. In the meantime, have a read of this here article and relive the glory days.