Konami unveils quartet of new games

New entries in the Castlevania and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series join a pair of DS titles at the publisher's Gamers' Day in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO--Each year, Konami uses its Gamers' Day event to show off its newest forays into the game market. This year was no exception, with four all-new games being unveiled at the event, which was held at the Mezzanine nightclub several blocks south of Market in San Francisco.

Foremost among the four was a new Castlevania game. Two years after Lament of Innocence brought the series to current-generation consoles, Konami will release Castlevania: Curse of Darkness exclusively for the PlayStation 2 this fall. However, unlike previous Castlevania games, Curse of Darkness will feature an all-new hero, the Devil Forgemaster Hector, who was formerly in the service of Count Dracula himself.

According to Konami, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness begins with a curse issued by the now-dead Dracula that is spreading all over Europe, causing "pestilence, heresy and mob violence." Another Devil Forgemaster, Isaac, blames Hector for Dracula's death; as payback, he gets Hector's ladylove convicted of witchcraft. Looking for revenge, Hector sets out to hunt down and kill Isaac, who his hiding out in Dracula's haunted lair.

Besides its all-new story, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness will feature new gameplay elements. Foremost among these will be the Devil Forgery skill, which allows players "to develop and enhance 'Innocent Devils'--allies that will help to conquer enemies, evade traps and solve challenging puzzles." In addition to the series' usual action RPG and adventure elements, Konami also promised the game will feature "improved enemy variation," "and increased number of unlockable features," and--of course--many more puzzles to solve.

Konami also used its Gamers' Day to unveil a new installment in its venerable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise. Dubbed TMNT Mutant Melee, the new game is set to hit PCs, Xboxes, and GameCubes in March, and is being billed as "the ultimate TMNT party experience." Rated "T" for Teen, it will sport more than 20 characters from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series, and will let up to four players play in two modes: adventure story or melee match. TMNT Mutant Melee will also feature several minigames--including King of the Hill, Last Man Standing, Knock Out and more--as well as unlockable content.

Besides the two console games, Konami also announced a pair of new titles for Nintendo's dual-screen handheld. Set for release this fall, Dragon Booster is a "fast paced third-person racing/action/combat game set in a fantastical world where humans and dragons co-exist," says Konami. The game is set during a fabled dragon-human war, and can be played in two modes: adventure mode, which features a plot-driven set of linear missions; and challenge mode, which sees players exploring the sprawling Dragon City, breeding their own fire-breathing beasties, and challenging other players to contests via the DS's Wi-Fi capability.

Konami's other DS game bears the intriguing moniker Lost in Blue. Described as an "innovative RPG [that] takes players on a journey of survival, adventure and mystery," the game begins like Far Cry or the hit TV series Lost, with the game's male teenage hero awakening on an isolated island following an ocean disaster. After linking up with a female teenage survivor, who is also playable, the pair begin to explore the island, honing survival skills like fishing, hunting, and trapping. Players will use the DS's touch-sensitive panel to locate and collect items and explore the island. The game will also have multiple endings contingent on the pair's interaction and events within the game.

For more on these and all the other games on display at this year's Konami Gamers' Day, check out our complete coverage of the event.

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