Calling on the arcane powers of hell, the Dark Countess of Castlevania has created a gateway through which Lord Dracula can once again enter this world. With the help of the Countess, his longtime friend Death, and a host of undead and demonic creatures, the count plans to have his final victory over the human race and claim the world as his own. Fortunately for humanity, just as Dracula never truly perishes, neither does the legendary Belmont bloodline.
A lot of gamers were a bit disappointed in the series' translation into 3D on the N64. Will they feel any different about Castlevania: Resurrection? The hopes for another Symphony of the Night may have been dashed, but the game shows some promise in its relatively new third dimension. In Castlevania Resurrection, you assume the role of either Sonia or Victor Belmont. The twist is that these two Belmonts hail from different eras - with Sonia the ancient ancestor and Victor the hero from the future. Because Resurrection is the first Castlevania game not developed in Japan, it has fallen upon Konami's Redwood City team to deliver the first appearance of the legendary series for the Dreamcast. At first glance, this title may look like a high-resolution interpretation of the previous N64 Castlevania game, but the development team emphasizes that Resurrection focuses directly on action and keeps the puzzle-solving to an absolute minimum. From hands-on experience, we can safely say that this is the case. Since the project leader was part of the Castlevania Bloodlines team for the Genesis, one can safely assume the action will remain true to the format - with whips, candles, monsters, and hearts all hailing from the days of Belmonts past. There will also be plenty of cut-scenes using the game's graphics-engine. Voice-dubbing is also in the works for the game.
So does this mean that Resurrection is worthy of bearing the mantle of Castlevania, as Symphony of the Night was, or will it be less than stellar, much in the way the recent Contra games failed to live up to their legacy? Well, to be fair, the version we played was at no more than a 33 percent level of completion. Two out of five-plus levels were complete, and not all the gameplay had been implemented yet. Right now, instead of the lock-on system used in the N64 Castlevania, Resurrection uses a system that relies more on your aim than on anything else. While "purists" may applaud this choice, keep in mind that 3D dictates a completely different set of rules from what 2D does. The current build boasts high-resolution textures and some impressive lighting routines, but character animation is stiff and unrealistic. This game feels and looks like the games in the series during 16-bit's heyday, however, when representing the Castlevania world in 3D, it just doesn't seem right yet - especially not when motion capture and increased system memory can combine to allow some of the most responsive and realistic animations. Just look at Soul Calibur and imagine those characters set in a 3D Castlevania setting. Making the attacks in Resurrection even more difficult to land is the lack of shadows underneath your enemies. Without these shadows it's hard to judge where the enemies are in relation to your character. Perhaps the most crucial element in any 3D game - beyond attacking and shadows and whatnot - is the camera.
The success or failure of a game lies squarely on the shoulders of its camera. A poor camera practically destroyed the import version of Blue Stinger, while excellent camera work elevated Soul Reaver to the next level. Right now, Resurrection's camera is closer to Blue Stinger's than to anything else. Add some slow-paced action, and it's a good thing Resurrection isn't scheduled to ship until late spring, 2000. The development team will definitely need the time to whip this puppy into shape. The basics are there, with action-packed gameplay being the goal. Now, the team needs to do some serious fine-tuning, and it needs to take an objective look at what nail-biting action requires. If Konami manages to do this, then we'll have something to yell about. If these nibbles aren't addressed, then we may have something to forget.