E3 2008: Castlevania Judgment Hands-On

We avoid passing Judgment on Castlevania's new fighting game at Konami's E3 2008 booth.

Castlevania has a long history as a successful action adventure franchise, dating back to the glory days of the NES original. With over 22 years of heroes and villains to draw from, creating a fighting game based on the action-heavy universe isn't as far-fetched as it seems. We headed over to Konami's E3 2008 booth and got a brief play with the upcoming supernatural fighter.

While Konami has promised a lineup of 14 characters in the final version, there were just three on show at E3--Simon Belmont, Maria Renard, and Alucard. In addition to the trio, Dracula has been confirmed as a playable character--as seen in gameplay footage and screenshots. However, he wasn't available to play on the day.

Sure, she looks cute, but she packs a hell of a punch!

In addition to regular attacks, you'll have a secondary attack and you'll be able to choose one of these from the character selection menu. Options we saw included knives, holy water, and crosses. As expected, Belmont carries his trusty whip as his preferred weapon of choice, and which you can pull off a range of attacks. Despite a lightweight frame and a cutesy costume to match, Maria is a formidable foe to go up against, and we suffered at her hands (thanks to a Konami staffer) on several occasions. She can perform a number of powerful attacks including a nasty flame attack that should be avoided at all costs if you value your health.

Taking into account the Wii's unique controllers, Konami have come up with a control structure that seems to work well, from our brief experience. Shaking the Wii Remote performs a basic attack, while doing the same with the Nunchuk performs a dash. Blocking and jumping are mapped to the Nunchuk's Z and C buttons, respectively. Shaking the remote while holding B pulls off a strong attack, and A unleashes a secondary attack.

We were able to play two levels in Judgment. The first, Abbey Ruins, is the ruins...of an abbey. With the backdrop of night, the stage sure has the look and feel of a graveyard, compete with skeletons that will attack either combatant at will, making the battle that bit more challenging. Thankfully they're slow-moving and a bit predictable, but if you're taking damage you won't want to get in their way. Konami tell us that the "environmental" enemies seen in Abbey Ruins won't be the only ones, and that other stages will include similar foes. The second level we saw, Between Thrones, is based on Dracula's throne room. Complete with deep red carpets, gothic architecture, and candlelight, the level's spot-on for dishing out some supernatural punishment.

The battles we played were only single rounds, and it's unclear how many rounds will take place per battle in final game. Despite mentioning an (Konami passes Judgment on Castlevania) online mode previously, there was no word of this during E3, although it looks like this will still be implemented in the final version.

The Wii Remote offers a new way of taking out pent-up frustration.

Castlevania Judgment will offer a change of pace for the action adventure franchise when it hits stores later this year. If Konami manage to hit the right buttons when it comes to solid gameplay, controls, characters, and visual appeal, Judgment may even go on to create its own spin-off series in the process.

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Luke Anderson

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....
Castlevania Judgment

Castlevania Judgment

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67 comments
hellpolice
hellpolice

@Vaan99X: now that I take a closer look I can see some resemblance in the artstyle

Vaan99X
Vaan99X

HELL YA!!! The person that drew Death Note did the art for this game! I'm buying this game regardless of rating!

Norgavue
Norgavue

I want to see more of this one.

jawshoeuh
jawshoeuh

i love castlevania, but so far not too interested in this one

Blastotron
Blastotron

I agree with anglebless (awesome name by the way). Few people have played this game and controversy comes with almost every innovation in the game world. And if you dont like a game then dont comment under its name *cough* Razor Bat *cough*

angelbless
angelbless

Im a hardcore Castlevania fan too.. and I think I enjoyed every one of the games. We cant judge a game just for first impressions, and of cours "another" ones first impressions. This is an informative type article and we should take it as it is. Later we will be able to play the game, some people may like it, other people may hate it.. but thats the common thing in these issues. Dont u think? Lest wait for the game and lets give it a try, its the best thing we can do for now

NejiKusa
NejiKusa

Cool, i love fighting games, this seems like it could be the best castlevania ever

deku-shrub
deku-shrub

could be good but the ds one should bbe better.

RazorBat
RazorBat

Just watched the vid. What a POS.

RazorBat
RazorBat

Why can't we get a new Castlevania game with that old school feeling? If they can milk a licence like Metal Gear 'till it is stale, why can't they put some effort into a good Castlevania?

XELUMGODHAND
XELUMGODHAND

You're totally right jeb76, and also to appease the Wii's big-demographic-installed-base of casual gamers I suppose.

jeb76
jeb76

Why does something tell me that Konami is going to release a sub-par fighting game using the Castlevania license? *sigh* Why did they really think this would be a good idea? Oh wait I know, to appease all the fanboys, that's why!

XELUMGODHAND
XELUMGODHAND

@ Inverni: Sure big fat boy, just read the following and tell me if my "closed-mindedness" applies even when the current leader of Castlevania, Koji Igarashi, also may hate the game: http://www.ripten.com/2008/07/23/castlevania-wii-fighter-a-stake-through-the-heart-of-koji-igarashi/ And if you refute this, then you're the "closed-minded" one, because this article "Castlevania Wii Fighter: A Stake Through The Heart of Koji Igarashi" is a disctinct point of view about the current project. "...I'm sure..." -Then perhaps I'm not the only "close-minded" one around don't you think? "...I'm sure you impressed absolutely no one at all with your giant post..." -Almost, I just impressed my girl, and that's all I care. "...we realize you are a Castlevania fanatic and that you would kill your own mother if she stood in between it and you..." -You jealous? "...but I think you need to give it a chance instead of just condemning it for not being the genre you are used to..." -Maybe I should have written "BUT LET'S HAVE THE GAME ON OUR HANDS TO REVIEW IT"and also "WE NEED A RENEWAL OF THE FRANCHISE" as this (in caps) on my previous post, so blind people like you could read and understand the context of my comments properly, you see, I can't teach you how to read man. "...Your closed-mindedness is almost as aggravating as your self appointed position as "God of all things Castlevania'..." -Well here is an example of how "closed-minded" I am: http://www.rmxp.org/forums/index.php?topic=49257.msg466888#msg466888 (Read the JAGTxelUM's post - You can also find this post here on my GS Blog) Even the moderator of that page, wich of course I don't know, asked me to help him/her survive in this 'hard-cruel world', and no, I'm not a god, I just know a little more about Castlevania because I've had the chance to do it and of course: because I like it. Also you may like to visit my GS blog: 'XELUMGODHAND a.k.a. JAG_TxelUM's Blog' and read my posts before judging me. After that, if you still think I am "close-minded" then keep doing it. I care a nibble about people who's got just one way to think about life and things on it. And if you still think I am "close-minded" and say it louder maybe, then you can go sodomize yourself with a retractable baton while you still think whatever you want to think. Sorry Gamespot people (the moderator and the reader), I may deserve punishment for this post, I know, but it's just the way I see things and I intend to take my punish without complains about it. PS: Very special thanks to LannySun for providing the Castlevania article link, and to my girl for the support she gives me 24/7 Long live Castlevania, the Inmortal Saga.

Inverni
Inverni

XELUMGODHAND, I'm sure you impressed absolutely no one at all with your giant post. We realize you are a Castlevania fanatic and that you would kill your own mother if she stood in between it and you, but I think you need to give it a chance instead of just condemning it for not being the genre you are used to. Your closed-mindedness is almost as aggravating as your self appointed position as "God of all things Castlevania'

gonzalezj1
gonzalezj1

@ AlucardsFate: Xelumgodhand may have just proved you wrong. This game is a wait-and-see type of thing for me. It's gonna hinge on reviews.

XELUMGODHAND
XELUMGODHAND

I am the #1 Castlevania fan of all time, I know the story of every character, I know the timeline as the palm of my hand, I've made a research for difficult to understand character stories (such as Saint Germain from CoD and Gilles de Rais from LoI) and of course I've played ALL CASTLEVANIAS, including the rare ones (the 3 original Game Boy ones, the PC-Engine Chi no Rondo and the mobile Order of Shadows). My computer desktop is Castlevania related since 2007, with the amazing but a little innacurate Castlevania Xtreme Desktop: (http://www.xtremedesktops.com). I contributed to Mr. P's Castlevania's Realm, one of the best Castlevania resources on the web (example 1/3: http://www.vgmuseum.com/mrp/2/box-lod.htm). I play some Castlevania music on guitar (currently learning to also play piano just to play Lost Painting). I am even making my own Castlevania-related game! (http://www.castlemaniacs.com/foros/viewtopic.php?p=9523#9523). My to-do Castlevania list: Making my own webpage about the Inmortal Saga: Castlevania (stand up please), and a tattoo on my right arm Castlevania-related. About this preview: My personal first impression was a dissapointing one, but let's have the game on our hands to review it. Personally I don't see Castlevania as a fighting game. I just hope IGA doesn't screw it big time, and if he does, then please Konami, change him as the leader of the franchise, we need a renewal of the franchise, not just "ports" of the greatest: Castlevania Symphony of the Night.

Q8-KAMIKAZI
Q8-KAMIKAZI

super smash is the best fighting game on wii because its unique but castlevania is classic I don't think it'll add any thing new as a fighting game ,not kind of games i would wait for .

AlucardsFate
AlucardsFate

Being the biggest Castlevania fan ever....(Or so I tell people...nobody has yet proved me wrong...) I'm worried...I watched the gameplay videos, and it looks too simple. No balances for attacks....which is something every fighting game needs. The super attacks look unblockable and immediate, which = cheap. You should always have a counter to anything available...but don't make it too easy to preform. Make it so it takes skill. And it appeared as he was explaining the game...that it has only 2 attack buttons..which isn't horrible...but it might limit the depth of the battle system...hopefully this isn't the case. The character design for my namesake Alucard is okay I guess...I'm not really geeking out over his look though...which I always do. I'm worried...but I'll buy it anyway. I always do...

Sunrie
Sunrie

What I'm curious about is why it's Simon Belmont as the lead Belmont character, but Maria is still a child. I'm digging the free roam aspect during the fights. I hope it's going to be more than a one round match like what is shown in the demos. Knowing Konami, the story is going to be interesting and keeping you wanting to move forward. This Castlevania better live up to the past incarnations.

Badkind
Badkind

I have not played a fighting game on the Wii yet. I hope they get the controls right.

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

looks better than i first thought

TehFuneral
TehFuneral

Uh, my firend will prolly get this, but not me. Not a castlevania fan

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

This looks great. What is wrong with people!? Also, Maria's so cuuute! She looks Puff from Devil Kings.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

prashanta7, 14 isn't near as bad as the original Fatal Fury's 3 playable characters and Red Earth's 4 characters.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

Agulf(he's on the next page), as wrong as you are about fighting games being played out, you're right about it being interesting.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

It'll be interesting to see how this measures up with the other fighters of the new fighting era. Those would be...SFIV, Arcana Heart, BlazBlue, SCIV, Tekken 6, Sengoku Basara X(the X means Cross), Fate/Unlimited Codes, and not to mention, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Zehydra
Zehydra

This might be cool if the control structure is similar to that of Twilight Princess

moose3469
moose3469

I LOVE Castlevania, but this looks like weak sauce to me.

momurdaman2003
momurdaman2003

They should make one with all these characters in an adventure...not a fighting game, but I guess you cant talk unless you've played it, either way it shoudnt be only on wii it should be on all consoles, way to make more money...

lettuceman44
lettuceman44

Hmm........looks ok. Lancea, brawl doesn't lag for me...

FemurHunter
FemurHunter

So now shaking the wiimote takes the place of pressing a button... Such ingenious implementation of motion controls!

lancea34
lancea34

Online? Lets hope it's not laggy like Brawl's.

grambyte
grambyte

Castlevania normally never could go wrong with me, but this time... I have my doubts.

mrklorox
mrklorox

This game looks soo freaking unappealing that it's almost as if Igarashi isn't even part of it... but he is. What the heck happened with Maria? I was hoping the triumphant return of a playable Alucard would be something I wanted to play. And MKvsDC looks like it could be what brings DC Comics back to the front and put MK back to it's core.

rodog_818
rodog_818

Castlevania is the **** This game is gonna be way better than MK vs. DC cuz that game has Superman and all Superman games or any game with superman never get better than 5/10 while Castlevania can get at least 7/10 in the fighting genre. Better yet, this is something totally new for all the core gamers.

nintendonerd101
nintendonerd101

To FallenAngelXBL: Check out Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the DS. That should remedy your woes.

Jag-T1000
Jag-T1000

I hope it has a sexy vampire woman as a character. Anyway I'll probably buy it when it's $20 or on cleareance.

RPGPorkster
RPGPorkster

Yeah what the hell is going on. All the Wii titles are lame kiddy versions.

FallenAngelXBL
FallenAngelXBL

put castlevania back into 2d, or have 3d character models in a 2d platforming world or something (Viewtiful joe for example). I never thought the 3d games were terrible...they were decent action games...but nothing more, i still miss the great music and gameplay from a classic Castlevania game...in saying that, i want Nintendo to do a few more 2D metroid games, i LOVED the Prime series...but i miss the days of Super Metroid and even the more recent Metroid Fusion...*sigh* oh well

Gin_Tama
Gin_Tama

Kinda looks like a Soul Calibur Legends.. Online sounds funky. Looking forward to it!

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

I was expecting a real Castlevania Game this yeaar, but this sounds promising.

V8Arwing
V8Arwing

Meh, I'm not too sure about this game. If I want a fighting game, I'd play Street Fighter, lol! Yeah, I'm putting my money on Order of Eclessia.

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

I want an actual Wii castlevania game, not a fighting game