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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:21 pm 


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it290 wrote:
CV Collection announced, 4 games ( of 8 ) confirmed so far:

I, III, II GB, SCIV. Haunted Castle is included in a separate 'Arcade' collection. I'd be kinda surprised (but not shocked) if this collection included Rondo or SOTN given the recency of their release on PS4, so I'm guessing maybe XX, Bloodlines, and (hopefully) X68000 included along with II as the remaining games, though the omission of Simon's Quest so far is puzzling... kinda made me chuckle though as that's the one I always omit from my list when loading up an SD card for a flash cart or whatever.

https://www.konami.com/games/50th/ac/us/en/


Should I be reading into what else is planned by the fact that the CV and Contra pages are locked behind age checks? I'm having a hard time thinking what CV games would require that (do they do age checks for T rated games too? What Classicvania would be rated T?)
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:50 pm 


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Was Bloodlines rated T or KA back in the day?

I could also imagine this meaning that the version of 4 is going to be uncensored.


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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:22 pm 


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I think Bloodlines was rated MA-13 via SEGA's pre-ESRB rating system, if I remember correctly.

edit: I remembered wrong. It was rated GA.


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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:09 am 


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Ronyn wrote:
Had a watch of The Nerd going on about Super Castlevania.
8-way whip? "Perfection!"
No whip Vs sub-weapons dilemma.
Overall? "A masterpiece!"
Praise the graphics and effects, withhold the 8-bit chandelier, uh, bit.
The performance of a pope on a feast day. You best believe.
3/5. Would exorcise again.


Y'know, I used to rate SCIV pretty poorly, but I think I might have to place it a bit above Bloodlines these days. Is it too easy by far? Yes. Does it eschew many of the gameplay conceits that made the series great? For sure. Is the art style kind of weird? Definitely. But it does have atmosphere in spades, and is really the best execution of the Gothic horror vibe the original game was going for. The visuals, although not 'beautiful' in the sense that some of the other games are, are really excellent in terms of palette and shading, and the music is superlative. It's also just a fun, relaxing game to play in a way that many of the other entries aren't. It strays reaaallllyyy far from the original design direction, but not in a bad way, and I wouldn't have minded another game or two in this vein, personally.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:12 am 


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Obscura wrote:
I could also imagine this meaning that the version of 4 is going to be uncensored.


What censorship has been applied to IV? It seems pretty tame relative to some of the others.

BrianC wrote:
edit: I remembered wrong. It was rated GA.


That bit of info is a little shocking to me, given that the first level has you whipping ghouls in half and turning that wolf beast into a pulsing pile of viscera and organs. Guess things were a bit laxer back then, heh.
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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:46 am 


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it290 wrote:
but I think I might have to place it a bit above Bloodlines these days.


I can understand enjoying 4, particularly it's atmosphere, but this is definitely grounds for excommunication.

Bloodlines explosively aggressive boss speed slaying action easily puts it as one of the best side scrolling actioners of all time.

4 is more enjoyable than most hardcore circles make it out to be, but it's still very boring for a good chunk of it's gargantuan runtime.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:10 am 


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it290 wrote:
Obscura wrote:
I could also imagine this meaning that the version of 4 is going to be uncensored.


What censorship has been applied to IV? It seems pretty tame relative to some of the others.

In the original Japanese version, the slime in level 8 is blood, and the female statues in level 6 are topless.


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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:37 am 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
it290 wrote:
but I think I might have to place it a bit above Bloodlines these days.


I can understand enjoying 4, particularly it's atmosphere, but this is definitely grounds for excommunication.

Bloodlines explosively aggressive boss speed slaying action easily puts it as one of the best side scrolling actioners of all time.

4 is more enjoyable than most hardcore circles make it out to be, but it's still very boring for a good chunk of it's gargantuan runtime.


Yeah sadly, that was my impression on replaying lately - although it feels very grand given it's lengthy build-up to the Castle, non of it is that interesting to play. Only really gets going after the shitty Mode 7 levels.

I tried out Bloodlines last week, ashamed to say it's probably the first time I've played it properly - despite owning it at one point - and was pleasantly surprised in most respects.

It's very fast, feels even more fluid than Rondo, and looks superb, more cohesive visually in some ways than Rondo and XX.
But oh my god... that music. I did a full trawl through the sound test, half the tracks I didn't recognise (thuough I'm not at all familiar with the NES games), and the ones I did were horribly, horribly mangled. I know the MD can produce superb results at times, but this is far from its finest hour.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:02 am 


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Huh? Bloodlines has an amazing soundtrack.

Michiru Yamane's first foray into Castlevania music, and she did so with a blast.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42JhE4LpYXA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEkJiBhN0jU


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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:05 am 



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Marc wrote:
But oh my god... that music. I did a full trawl through the sound test, half the tracks I didn't recognise (thuough I'm not at all familiar with the NES games), and the ones I did were horribly, horribly mangled. I know the MD can produce superb results at times, but this is far from its finest hour.


I agree on that to a point. IIRC Bloodlines only uses the six FM voices of the YM2612 and ignores the four PSG channels available, which for an entry into a triple AAA series like Castlevania is a good indication it was rushed to market before it was truly ready. Percussion is weaker than it should be. Likewise some spot FX are pretty poor. There's elements of the graphics here and there that seem unrefined/unpolished as well.

For the record there is still some great tracks in there IMO (Stage 3 Italy is pretty heavy stuff) Thinking about it, it's testament to the game's design that it's so solid anyway despite Konami cutting corners, but it would have been nice to have it given the same care as Contra:HC and RKA.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:12 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Huh? Bloodlines has an amazing soundtrack.

Michiru Yamane's first foray into Castlevania music, and she did so with a blast.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42JhE4LpYXA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEkJiBhN0jU


The tunes themselves might be excellent, but the sound quality in comparison to Rondo/IV/XX is abysmal. It's pretty much the situation I was in with Bloodstained, where I can't really tell if the music is any good because the style of it makes my ears bleed.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:35 am 



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Yes. The quality does not compare well to the other 4th gen Castlevanias. Some great compositions weakened by a few flimsy instrument patches and the aforementioned lack of PSG channels. Sumez may not see it like that though since I seem to remember he thinks CVIV sounds bad. :)

Regarding Bloodstained: COTM, the bits and pieces I've heard don't strike me as particularly catchy or memorable, but having not played the game yet I suppose it's hard to tell.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:46 am 


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Marc wrote:
The tunes themselves might be excellent, but the sound quality in comparison to Rondo/IV/XX is abysmal. It's pretty much the situation I was in with Bloodstained, where I can't really tell if the music is any good because the style of it makes my ears bleed.

Unfortunately I'm not allowed to say it, CV4's music is really muddy and doesn't sound very good to me, Bloodlines' music quality is way higher quality.
Nothing really compares to Rondo (redbook) and XX (one of the best examples of SPC audio quality IMO), so that's unfair.

Kind of strange, too, because usually I'm the guy who has issues with MegaDrive sounds that no one else seem to hear. People legitimately get mad when I tell them some tunes in Shinobi 3 are downright painful for me to listen to.


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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:40 pm 


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I'm probably more used to the Vinyl release of SCIV than I am the actual in-game music now, to be fair.
I do remember even back at the time though, much as a lot of SNES stuff sounded way above the MD technically, it had very a muffled/compressed sound to it on many titles. Super Turrican was an absolute marvel on the machine, but that's another thread.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:07 pm 


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These Konami collections all seem pretty half-hearted. The Arcade collection is just the same games that they already released individually as part of Hamster's Arcade Archives series, while the Castlevania and Contra collections don't even have all the games. What's up with Konami's inability to re-release the goddamn NES version of Contra anyway? It was never on any version of the Virtual Console (even the crappy outsourced MSX2 Contra was on the Japanese Wii and Wii U) and they put Super C instead on the NES Mini.

The digital e-book with development document seems promising though.


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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:12 pm 


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I think at this point, to expect anything else from Konami is futile.
When I think of the stuff the could fill a 50th Anniversary Collection with, even with the licenced titles set aside, I could cry.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:11 pm 


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Jonny2x4 wrote:
These Konami collections all seem pretty half-hearted. The Arcade collection is just the same games that they already released individually as part of Hamster's Arcade Archives series, while the Castlevania and Contra collections don't even have all the games. What's up with Konami's inability to re-release the goddamn NES version of Contra anyway? It was never on any version of the Virtual Console (even the crappy outsourced MSX2 Contra was on the Japanese Wii and Wii U) and they put Super C instead on the NES Mini.


Half-hearted or not, this is the first time the Konami ACA games are appearing on Switch and Xbox One. I have most on PS4, but I plan to double dip on the Switch. I don't get the lack of NES Contra either. It was included with Contra 4 DS and then nothing since then.


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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:58 pm 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
I can understand enjoying 4, particularly it's atmosphere, but this is definitely grounds for excommunication.

Bloodlines explosively aggressive boss speed slaying action easily puts it as one of the best side scrolling actioners of all time.

4 is more enjoyable than most hardcore circles make it out to be, but it's still very boring for a good chunk of it's gargantuan runtime.


The thing that takes Bloodlines down a notch for me is the timing of the controls. It's hard to put one's finger on precisely, but the window between pressing the button and John's whip extending just feels a smidge too narrow which along with some of the weird visual choices gives the whole thing a slightly off-brand feel. I still enjoy the game quite a bit but the overall package is just a little less fun for me. I also always play IV starting from the second loop, which while still not difficult enough smooths out some of the boring spots.
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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:25 am 


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it290 wrote:
Squire Grooktook wrote:
I can understand enjoying 4, particularly it's atmosphere, but this is definitely grounds for excommunication.

Bloodlines explosively aggressive boss speed slaying action easily puts it as one of the best side scrolling actioners of all time.

4 is more enjoyable than most hardcore circles make it out to be, but it's still very boring for a good chunk of it's gargantuan runtime.


The thing that takes Bloodlines down a notch for me is the timing of the controls. It's hard to put one's finger on precisely, but the window between pressing the button and John's whip extending just feels a smidge too narrow which along with some of the weird visual choices gives the whole thing a slightly off-brand feel.


You might be playing on a tv or a bad emulator with input lag then. Bloodlines is probably one of the snappiest and best handling games in the series (and I think most would agree on that front), pretty much perfect controls and a great (slightly) expanded moveset. Really have no idea what you're talking about there, I'd urge you to replay with a better set up.

Visual aesthetic is also one of the best in the series imo. The visceral but colorful 90's edge is strong with this one.
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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:42 am 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
You might be playing on a tv or a bad emulator with input lag then. Bloodlines is probably one of the snappiest and best handling games in the series (and I think most would agree on that front), pretty much perfect controls and a great (slightly) expanded moveset. Really have no idea what you're talking about there, I'd urge you to replay with a better set up.


Nope, I'm playing on original hardware with a CRT (or OSSC sometimes when I feel like it), and I've played this game many times on similar setups over the years. I'm not saying that the controls aren't snappy enough, but rather that the whip is a little too snappy in a way that makes it feel a little less precise when compared to I or III, for example. My litmus test for this is how whipping candles in midair feels, but I think a more to the point example might be the bats in this game, which travel in a more horizontally-elongated but vertically shallow sine wave than the NES games or Rondo. In those games, there's generally a tactical decision to either whip them (made a little tense by the ever-so-slightly-delayed whip) or jump over them, but here jumping feels like it's almost always the better option due to their arc and the faster attack and decay on your whip.

It's a slight thing, to be sure, but after god knows how many hours on the NES games it just doesn't feel quite right here. SCIV obviously has completely different whip mechanics as well, and in that game the response to bats is almost always whip (diagonally, straight ahead, or weird flail-motion), but that is somehow more satisfying. I wouldn't claim that either game is objectively better, this is all obviously just minutiae and personal preference, but collectively I've played this series more than probably any other series of games and that's how I feel about it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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 Post subject: Re: a horrible right to have a nerd
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:57 am 


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it290 wrote:
I'm not saying that the controls aren't snappy enough, but rather that the whip is a little too snappy in a way that makes it feel a little less precise when compared to I or III, for example.


It's a very slightly faster attack for a very slightly faster paced game.

I don't see how that makes it imprecise though. Just time it as you always would.

That being said, two points:

1: there is a light/heavy attack system in the game. If you hold down the button, your attack will recover very slightly slower but the hitbox will remain active for longer, allowing you to hit certain enemies easier and even hit some twice. Tapping it will result in a quicker poke that recovers faster. I use a mix of both to speedkill certain enemies with correct timing.

2: Eric's attacks also trade speed for reach. He also has the above system. His "heavy" attack is also particularly long lasting and multihitting

Personally I recommend playing Eric since he has the better capacity for aggression and the highest skill ceiling for demolishing the game.

it290 wrote:
My litmus test for this is how whipping candles in midair feels, but I think a more to the point example might be the bats in this game, which travel in a more horizontally-elongated but vertically shallow sine wave than the NES games or Rondo. In those games, there's generally a tactical decision to either whip them (made a little tense by the ever-so-slightly-delayed whip) or jump over them, but here jumping feels like it's almost always the better option due to their arc and the faster attack and decay on your whip.


See above about heavy attacks. You can also jump over them and use a down attack with Eric. I wouldn't say either one is riskier than the other...it depends on their spacing and where they are with other platforms and spacing.

it290 wrote:
wouldn't claim that either game is objectively better, this is all obviously just minutiae and personal preference, but collectively I've played this series more than probably any other series of games and that's how I feel about it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I don't usually deal with objectives in games, but putting a game that's (rightfully) agreed to be pretty mediocre in the gameplay department over one of the best sidescrollers of all time is as close to objectively wrong as I can imagine ^_~

It's all gud tho.

My personal ranking of the franchise remains:

Akumajo Dracula x68 > Bloodlines > CV1 > Rondo > CV3 > XX > CV4

I don't hate CV4, it's gameplay just gets demolished by everything else (except maybe Lead-Shoes-No-Densetsu XX)
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:31 am 


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You make a good point about Eric. I do think his game is generally more fun, but I usually don't play as him because he's not the whip dood. With John, I recognize the long/short press mechanic exists, but I also have to ask if the game is actually improved by that... if I were approaching the series as a fresh player, I might say it was, because it adds more granularity and tactical options to the controls, but for me personally as a long-time player it just seems a little indeterminate and I think the complexity hurts the game a little bit.

Nitpicks about where Bloodlines stands in the series aside, do you really feel it qualifies as a top-tier action platformer? I don't feel Bloodlines holds a candle (pun intended) to I, III, the Ninja Gaiden games, etc. in terms of mechanics and challenge, and think its most innovative bits are really the raster trickery in a few levels where you're forced to look at mirror images to progress — something that Rocket Knight Adventures on the same platform also did.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:49 am 


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it290 wrote:
You make a good point about Eric. I do think his game is generally more fun, but I usually don't play as him because he's not the whip dood. With John, I recognize the long/short press mechanic exists, but I also have to ask if the game is actually improved by that... if I were approaching the series as a fresh player, I might say it was, because it adds more granularity and tactical options to the controls, but for me personally as a long-time player it just seems a little indeterminate and I think the complexity hurts the game a little bit.


I personally find it fairly intuitive (hold down the button longer = longer attack, kind of the same line of thought that gave us the limp whip in CV), and you can do some fun and cool things with it.

It's very subtle, but I think it adds a lot of great options to the game while making it feel no less natural or intuitive. Not something I can say I have to stop and think about, except when I'm trying to minmax the perfect stunlock timing combo on the Versailles armors.

it290 wrote:
Nitpicks about where Bloodlines stands in the series aside, do you really feel it qualifies as a top-tier action platformer?


Definitely, definitely, definitely.

Within it's forte, it's almost unmatched.

That forte being "authoritative" (as Bil would put it) aggressive play.

If you play Bloodlines just to get through it and survive, it's admittedly not nearly as tricky or involved as the other games. But where it really shines is when you replay it, pick Lecarde, and go about using all the tools at your disposal to swiftly and gracefully obliterate everything in your path as quickly as possible. Playing through stages with the non-stop forward speed of Ninja Gaiden and rushing down enemies and bosses with a mix of light/heavy attacks, i-frame pole vaults, and clever use of sub weapons and item crashes (all while maintaining the Shinobi style full power mode which you lose on hit) is relentlessly exhilaration and there are few games that manage to channel the same level of destructive, speed slaying fun.

That it manages to do all this while keeping the methodical, commitment heavy feel of CV is also a testament to it's excellence.

Bloodlines is a masterpiece, but only when played for mastery.
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 Post subject: Re: whip me blind X the gutting boom door
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:54 am 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
Bloodlines is a masterpiece, but only when played for mastery.


But- but His Worship said Super is the masterpiece! It's perfection. There cannot be two masterpieces in one series. He won't allow it!
Stakes will burn.

it290 wrote:
What censorship has been applied to IV? It seems pretty tame relative to some of the others.


THUS THE POWER OF DRACULA STARTS TO REVIVE ITSELF

It speaks in favor for the eternal masterpiece that anybody would not object to the changes made. Lest that it is common knowledge.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:33 pm 



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Squire Grooktook wrote:
If you play Bloodlines just to get through it and survive, it's admittedly not nearly as tricky or involved as the other games. But where it really shines is when you replay it, pick Lecarde, and go about using all the tools at your disposal to swiftly and gracefully obliterate everything in your path as quickly as possible. Playing through stages with the non-stop forward speed of Ninja Gaiden and rushing down enemies and bosses with a mix of light/heavy attacks, i-frame pole vaults, and clever use of sub weapons and item crashes (all while maintaining the Shinobi style full power mode which you lose on hit) is relentlessly exhilaration and there are few games that manage to channel the same level of destructive, speed slaying fun.

That it manages to do all this while keeping the methodical, commitment heavy feel of CV is also a testament to it's excellence.

Bloodlines is a masterpiece, but only when played for mastery.

I think that since you like DMC, it is probably quite natural to you. I only remember playing one game like this ..... and that was the MD Pitfall ages ago. Though if I were to play the same again, I wouldn't play it like that. I can usually only imagine playing like that if:
(a) The game's aesthetics are too good and you just naturally develop that style playing over and over
(b) It is too much fun to play like that

In most cases, it doesn't happen for me. Regarding Bloodlines specifically, it is probably suited to it. But I think if the developers added some kind of end-of-stage/overall grading system that would probably encourage more players to try it (obviously this kind of thing was quite uncommon at that time).

====================

Now bloodlines is the only Castlevania that I have played to any significant extent. And I definitely play a fairly "passive" style. I would stay I still like it (it is definitely in "quite good" category for me). It is true though that the game can feel to drag a bit due to length of levels (this is why I would usually play separate levels with password in a leisurely style).

Surprisingly, I have picked it about 4 or 5 times with the intention of 1CC and after some time there is always abrupt break ....... and then "everytime" I had difficulty picking it up "again". I suppose some games are just harder to enjoy when picking up again (I think mostly it was length). So it is one of those overdue 1CCs for me. But I have been on a long (and currently continued ..... don't know when it will "end") break from platformers anyway.

One thing I would just add though is that game has different difficulty layers (like some other games). I don't know whether everyone would enjoy it (but I think I would). For example (this is with default character .... I have never picked/played with other characters):
---- playing without range weapon
---- max(expert) difficulty
---- playing without range weapon (max difficulty)
etc.

====================

Also, I would add briefly that I think a good castlevania guide is probably needed (maybe as a separate topic so it is not completely lost). I have decent knowledge on arcade platformers (and console platformers from 8/16 bit) but I have no idea about castlevania. For example, things like multiple difficulties/loops, overall quality, any specific playstyle suited to given game etc. And also of course, just to sort out the better games in the series (there seem to be too many when you add handhelds).

Finally I personally like classifying platform games into: (i) plain (mario, gimmick, marvel world etc.) (ii) action (castlevania) (iii) run and gun/long-range shooting (contra, daimakaimura, gunstar etc.). So I would quite like to see a list that generally classifies the better games on each system (arcade+console) using this. And that's because, at different times, I feel like playing a different game from one of these classifications.

I think an idea about lists was discussed here some time ago here, but kind of got dissolved.


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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:19 pm 


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What's with the first alternate route on Rondo (dropping down after the dog thingy) being so balls hard? I've literally never managed to make it through there yet without being massacred from every side or knocked to a watery death. I'm making the next to last level now, but that bit stands out as murderous for some odd reason.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:24 pm 


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Marc wrote:
What's with the first alternate route on Rondo (dropping down after the dog thingy) being so balls hard? I've literally never managed to make it through there yet without being massacred from every side or knocked to a watery death. I'm making the next to last level now, but that bit stands out as murderous for some odd reason.


That's not the first alternate route, the first alternate route is...

Spoiler: show
here.

Image


But yeah, that area is brutal. Moonwalking helps a bit, though I'd say it's a job for saikyou senshi Maria-chan.


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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:13 am 


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The part with all the mermen? Never had a problem with that bit, if anything I find the route with the ferryman a little more challenging (although way more predictable).
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:15 am 


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Vanguard wrote:
Marc wrote:
What's with the first alternate route on Rondo (dropping down after the dog thingy) being so balls hard? I've literally never managed to make it through there yet without being massacred from every side or knocked to a watery death. I'm making the next to last level now, but that bit stands out as murderous for some odd reason.


That's not the first alternate route, the first alternate route is...

Spoiler: show
here.

Image


But yeah, that area is brutal. Moonwalking helps a bit, though I'd say it's a job for saikyou senshi Maria-chan.


Shit yeah sorry, I'd found that one, I'm so used to taking that path that I barely think of it as alternate anymore. Love how much there is to find in this game, it's the only thing the SNES game really misses in my opinion.

I've not used Maria yet, it seems wrong to use anyone but a whip dude in a Castlevania game.
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 Post subject: Re: Castlevania Miscellanies
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:53 am 


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Yeah Maria is easy mode.


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