Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Something to cheer about.
I've been a long-time fan of the Castlevania series. From the humble days of Simon's first hunt to the slew of sequels today, Konami's vampire-slaying series has done 2-D sidescrollers right. Recently, a petite collection of screenshots for Castlevania's newest iteration, Order of Ecclesia, was released unto the masses along with a few juicy tidbits regarding the game's plot and gameplay.
What primarily caught my eye is OoE's protagonist. Our vampire hunter this time around doesn't just look like a woman, folks -- Castlevania finally has its very first bona fide lady lead.
Meet Shanoa, the champion of the Order of Ecclesia. She's sent to clean up the bloodsucking mess left by Richter Belmont after he goes missing from the vampire-hunting scene. Little beyond that is known about the story at the moment, but I imagine that there will be a host of supporting characters that will help out our heroine as well.
There have been, oh, about a million Castlevania games since the series's birth in the late eighties, and if there's anything a fan can depend on Konami's franchise it's repetition. Castlevania struck gold with Symphony of the Night for the original Playstation: rich, detailed locations, lavish music, a cast of interesting characters, and innovative RPG elements combined with real-time sidescrolling combat. The series experienced a revival with the Gameboy Advance's Circle of the Moon, and that game plus every one after it has stuck fast to SotN's formula.
Typically, we've had a rather rigid scenario: protagonist seeks revenge on Dracula / person trying to revive Dracula / other Dracula stand-in for the kidnapping of his lady love. The whole damsel-in-distress angle is pretty much a cornerstone of the Castlevania experience, but after twenty-four dame-rescuing titles to date, it's enough to make even the most loyal fan feel like she's been playing the same game over and over.
I'm pretty excited about Order of Ecclesia. Portrait of Ruin changed things up a little with a duo of protagonists, but OoE's Shanoa will be the very first woman ever to take the starring role of a Castlevania game. I'll be sure to snap up this title as soon as it's released, and I'll give my impressions then. In the meanwhile, I'm going to hope for the best that this is a trend that will continue to change one of my favorite game series for the better.
Labels: Action Adventure, BomberGirl, Castlevania, Getting it Right