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Showing posts with label castlevania series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label castlevania series. Show all posts

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Serbio's Castlevania Fighter Arcade Review

Hey, who here is a Castlevania series fan here?  I came across a fan made game called Castlevania Fighter Arcade Created by Serbio.  Here is a gameplay video (featuring Shanoa) below showing how the game works:

Note that Shanoa is just one of many characters you can play as in Castlevania Fighter Arcade

Before I write this review, have any of you played Mega Man Power Battles 1 or 2?   Mega Man Power Battles actually came with the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for the Xbox (probably PS2 as well).  In that game you can play either as Mega Man, Bass, or Protoman and each "level" consists of a boss fight from a previous Mega Man game usually chosen at random from previous games.  After you beat all of the robot masters, there is one Wily Castle boss, and the end boss is none other than Dr Wily himself (much like how it is in Mega Man 1-10).  Anyways, in Castlevania Fighter Arcade, you can choose from a whole host of characters to play as, such as Simon Belmont, Richter, Julius Belmont, Soma Cruz, Alucard, Shanoa, Death the Grim Reaper, and many others.  Interestingly, you can also play as non castlevania characters such as Ronald McDonald (since when was he in a Castlevania game?) and several others.  After choosing a character, you can choose a difficulty level (with beginner being the easiest mode and "nightmare" being the hardest) and then the ggame begins.  Like Mega Man Power battles, each "level" consists of a boss fight from various Castlevania games (such as Circle of the Moon, Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, Dracula X Chronicles, Order of Ecclesia, and others).  The boss fights chosen for each level is generally randomized (meaning you might fight different bosses in each play through) though there are definitely some recurring bosses you are likely to encounter in most if not all playthroughs.  Of course like many Castlevani games (despite not being an official castlevania game) Count Dracula (the primary antagonist in the series) is back and serves as the game's final boss and his close associate, Death the Grim reaper marks the second to final boss in the game.  Other noteworthy boss fights I have encountered includes:
- Giant bat
- Dario and Aguni (usually happens back to back of each other)
- Carmillia (from Circle of the Moon)
- Richter (plays out much like the SOTN version of Richter)
- Albus
- Stella (from Portrait of Ruin)
- Brauner (one of the primary antagonists in Portrait of ruin, besides Dracula and Death).
- Barlowe from Order of Ecclesia
- Zephyr from Dawn of Sorrow
and many others.

Pros about Castlevania Fighter Arcade
- This game is definitely going to be a hit for long time Castlevania fans in my opinion.  All of the boss fights in this game are pretty well known in the Castlevania franchise (especially for people who have played through the game).
- Multiple difficulty levels.  If you think the game is too hard, I might recommend starting with beginner mode.  Think the game is too easy, you might consider cranking up the diffiulty.  By the way, some of the characters will have a better chance of beating the game than others.
- Characters come with both basic and advanced attacks and moves.  By the way, at the Serbio website, it does list all of the characters as well as all of the moves they can perform.
- Follows the classic scheme of castlevania games.  Boss music is very similar to the ones in previous games and changes for each boss fight.  Also, this is definitely one of the few newer Castlevania games that features Dracula as the final boss.  Not every new castlevania game features dracula as the final boss.
- Leveling up system.  As you beat each boss you can use points to purchase potions, power ups, defense boosts, extra continues, etc from Renon (from Castlevania 64)  by holding the start button (I have mine mapped to the enter key) after beating a level till the screen advances to the next level.  Also, there is a unique trick where if you jump and catch orbs while attacking right after they appear, you can get bonus hit points, defense boosts, level ups, and possibly continues too (I haven't confirmed it yet).
- Bosses do have patterns they follow (much like their counterparts in the games they were in) so the game does get easier over time if you find yourself struggling.  For example, Dracuala's first and 3rd form are very similar to those in Order of Ecclesia.  Gergoth, Aguni, and Zephyr function much like themselves from Dawn of Sorrow.  Some bosses are faster though (such as Brauner) and unpredictable too (such as Richter).
-  With all of the difficulty modes and characters you can play through as, replay value is pretty high in my opinion.  By the way, Dracula has 3 forms on Beginner Mode, and 4 forms in Normal to Nightmare Modes.  Also some of the boss patterns changes by the change of difficulty.
- Multiple gameplay modes.  Besides arcade mode, there is also a survival mode, vs mode (can be useful if your computer supports 2 players), co-op survival mode, and training mode where you can test out your character's moves before playing through the game.

Cons of Castlevania Fighter Arcade
- I might recommend checking the installation requirements before downloading. Also some versions do work better than others.  By the way, I have encountered crashes of the game a few times too.  It has gotten better for me over the months and seems to be rare, but it can happen.
- No save feature.  Once you start a new game, it is recommended you have at least 1-2 hours to spare since there is no save feature.  Also, you only get a limited amount of continues (sometimes you might not start with continues at all, especially early in the game) to work with and once they run out, game is over and you will have to start over.  This can make the game extra challenging, especially as you get farther in the game and bosses get progressively harder to beat, and there are some recurring boss fights that will likely take multiple attempts to beat (some of the most challenging bosses I have encounted includes: Aguni, Stella, Brauner, Barlowe, Death, and Dracula).
- Controls can be a bit confusing at first.  By the way, there is an app that lets you configure the controls.  Also, some of the moves each character has are going to be easier to learn than others.  Consequenlty, I might recommend starting with characters with less moves such as Simon Belmont or even Ronald McDonald (he can actually hold his own in the game and is suprisingly formidable to play as too).
(more will be added over time)

Over all, I thought that Castlevania fighter arcade was a pretty fun game to play through.  It certainly is challenging and might not necessarily be for everyone, but I definitely recommend it to the many long time castlevania fans out there (at least if you have a good computer to play it on).  Sure fighting boss after boss can get repetitive and might be a turn off for some people and devoting time to play  through the entire game will likely be challenging for some people, but it is definitely one of the best fan made castlevania games I have played through.  You probably won't beat the game as every character, and you will likely find yourself having better luck with some characters than others.

If you are curious, you can check out the game at http://serio.piiym.net/cvbla/.  The game is currently free to download.

General gameplay tips (based on my experiences with the game):
- I might recommend starting the game on beginner mode (at least for your first several times through).  It can seem easy, but it lets you get familar with the game, how each boss fight plays out and it is a little more forgiving than the higher modes.  I would advise against "nightmare" mode until you are fully confident as the enemies get tougher to defeat the higher the difficulty.
- Whenever you defeat a boss, red orb will appear that you can collect to beat the stage.  Interestingly, the game has an interesting reward where if you jump and hit the attack button right after the orb appears and get the orb at the same time, the game offers bonus health, strength, hp upgrades, defense upgrades and other bonuses (possibly extra continues as well, though unconfirmed).  If you see the video near the beginning of this post, you can see what I mean (it actually works best with whip users like Simon), but if you do it correctly, you should see a good, excellent or great message when done right.  It can take several tries, but it is very useful when you get it down.
- Each boss has his or her own unique pattern of moves and attacks.  Familiarizing yourself with the enemies' attack patterns can be very useful for your success.  By the way, many of them follow the same patterns as they do in their original games.  Dracula's pattern (at least the first and 3rd form) is very similar to that in Order of Ecclesia.  In his second form, he is very much like his demon form from Circle of the Moon.  Aguni (one boss fight that will likely be a challenge for some) has several patterns.  He can swoop in one or more directions, try to swat your player, shoot fire at the player, and even try to divebomb the player (much like how he does in Dawn of Sorrow).  Dario behaves much like he does in Dawn of Sorrow (same with Zephyr).  Brauner's attacks are very similar to that in Portrait of Ruin, though he seems to be somewhat faster and some of his attacks can be harder to dodge (especially the poison attack), and he can also try to suck the player's blood too (which doesn't happen in the original game).  I will post more detailed tips on the boss fights (at least ones I have seen) in a future post.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top 5 best Halloween themed games I have played (under construction)

Image caption: Castlevainia Lamment of Innocents is one of the many chapters in the Castlevania Series, and in the castlevania series, you can expect to fight through hordes of ghosts, monsters, demons, goulish bosses (such as The Forgotten one in Castlevania LOI), and other nightmarish enemies throughout the series.

Ah, another Halloween is fast approaching (this year seems to be going by fast at least in my book), and with it comes all of the classic scares and thrills (i.e., pumkin patches, haunted houses, tricker treat for the kids, etc). In the video game realm, there are plenty of games out there that have some halloween themes. Of course in this blog post, I will post some games I think have some awesome halloween themes (based on the games I've played). Of course, you are free to agree or disagree with me .

Game #1 - Castlevania: Curse of Darkness and the Castlevania Series in General
(the current game I am playing through is Castlevania Lamment of Innocence by the way, which is a prequel to the mainline series)

If you are looking for a Halloween themed game, they do not get any more Halloweenish than the Castlevania series do. The castlevania series started back in the 1980s by Komnai, which is also the creator of the Contra Series, and in the castlevania universe, you usually play as one of the Belmonts (such as Simon Belmont in the original series, with the exception of CV 3, where you play as Trevor Belmont) and venture into Count Dracula's castle at Transylvania usually on a quest to defeat Dracula and his minions as well as saving loved ones from certain death (such as Richter Belmont saving Maria in Castlevania Dracula X). There are plenty of common themes in the castlevania series including: fighting through hoards of vampires, ghosts, demons, zombies, monsters, skeletons and other strange creatures throughout the levels in the series. in addition, there are plenty of equally terrifying boss fights. Some classic boss fights includes: A headless ghost you fight in Castlevania Dracula X, Legion in Curse of Darkness and similar variations in Harmony of Dissonence and Symphony of the night (Legion is that abomonible creature that you fight in some of the CV games that is made literrally by dead bodies and a hideous creature called Nucleous in the middle), a grim reaper called Death, ghosts, as well as sexy demon called Succubus in some games (you will get into an epic battle with her in both Symphony of the Night and Lamment of Innocence) to name a few. Another common theme is that the main villian is none other than Count Dracula (though not always as is the case as is the case in some of the newer titles like Lamment of Innocence and Arial of Sorrow, though Dracula's subtitute in those two games have similarities to Dracula, such as the ability to teleport), who usually shows up in 2 forms: 1) the human form and 2) the demonic/dragon form (the best fight in my book against Dracula is in Curse of Darkness where he has some personality in the first fight and does more than the usual teleportining as well as the second battle where you fight an oversized version of him in a demonic/gargoyle form).
Of course, there are plenty of other timeless classics in the CV series, such as the scene in Castlevania 64 in Level 3 where you go through this maze chasing after Malus (who is really Dracula in child form, though that does not get revealed till the end of the game provided that you don't fight Vincent just before you fight the imposter version of Dracula) and you have a Frankenstein Monster with a Chainsaw in his hand and 2 hellhound dogs chasing after you as you try to reach the exit in the maze (and their attacks are quite brutal to your guy's health). In the Xbox and PS2 versions, the game plays a bit like a movie too, complete with clipscenes, voice acting and all (such as the rivalry between Hector and Issac throughout the game, which ends in a fight to the death between the two towards the end of the game shortly before you fight Death and Count Dracula). One other timeless moment in the game I am aware of is the final showdown between Reinhardt Schneider and the real Count Dracula (aka Malus). First, Malus transforms into Dracula and after the usual first battle with hime (teleportation and all), you will fight a huge dragon version of him in a baron desert, and he does have quite an attude, launching nuclear bombs, fire and other deadly arsenal against Reinhardt throughout the battle. At the end of the battle, Dracula gets dragged into the underworld alive (creepy indeed). If you are looking for a pure halloween themed game, then the Castlevania Series is for you.
Game #2- Halloween town in Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2
Now, while the Kingdom Hearts series is not really a halloween classic (besides the fact that you fight through hordes of nightmarish creatures called the Heartless and Nobodies in KH2 as well as the huge boss fight between Sora and Malificent in KH1 where you fight her in the huge dragon form from Sleeping Beauty), Halloween town is perhaps the classic. Now, this is not to be confused with the halloween town from the Halloween Town series that usually show in October (this is Jack Skellington's Halloween town from the nightmare before christmas). You will play through this level at least once in Kingdom Hearts 1 and twice in KH 2. In both versions, you play through a huge halloween themed world where you fight through hordes of goulish heartless, play through an eerie world and go up against the evil Oogie Boogie (in KH 2, you will also fight The Experiment who gets corrupted perhaps by Organization 13 in the second trip to Halloween town). More will be added later