02
Mar
14

Dracula’s Castlevania

Lords of Shadow 2 seeks to wrap up an origin story of Castlevania’s Dracula.  And it seems that it’s quite pre-occupied with a brooding antihero who’s a bad man that should make you feel bad because you think he’s really cool, right? Right??  It’s a neat idea to build a game around playing as Dracula, but it would seem that Konami and Mercury Steam had bitten off more than they could chew. And what you ended up with was a game about one of the most iconic villains in gaming who crawls around on the ground as a rat trying to avoid thugs that somehow make generations of Belmonts look like incompetent circus performers.  It all got to be a bit more complex than it needs to be.  After all, this is a game series where this is the most memorable exchange of dialog:

Which is perfectly fine, and fun.  But it doesn’t exactly demand a trilogy of games explaining what motivates him either.  So I’d like to share what I’d like to see in a Castlevania game starring Dracula instead…

In my own mind, Dracula’s Castlevania would be a sort of reverse Infinity Blade, where the player gets to enjoy being the prince of darkness from a throne in the castle.  It’s what you might expect from Castlevania’s past, but instead of conquering the castle, your goal is to vanquish generation after generation of Belmont as they try to purge you from the land.  You are Dracula though, and you’re too busy breaking glassware and coming up with good villain dialog to be bothered with defeating the pesky Belmonts.  So you summon monsters and demons to do the dirty work instead.

With each Belmont that arrives at your castle, you will have a reserve of action points which can be spent on summoning monsters that can be thrown in the hero’s way.  Chances are that most of these monsters will be dispatched fairly quickly, but it’s up to you to decide which make life most difficult for a vampire hunter depending on where they are at in the castle and how many you choose to throw at him.  Each successive Belmont becomes stronger and stronger, and as they clear rooms of the castle and reach save points, future Belmonts will no longer have to clear those rooms and will start off that much closer to you.

There would be obvious trade offs in determining which monsters you select to summon.  Flea men are a nuisance and can be dispatched easily.  But more powerful monsters would cost more action points, and leave you with less resources to use after that monster has been killed.  The player would have the option to take control of individual monsters as well in order to execute a strategy to inflict the most pain quickly.  The castle is a treacherous place with many sharp drops.  A well timed attack from a flea man could make all the difference in whether or not Dracula has to deliver those lines he’s been working on for centuries.

You can’t leave out the boss fights now either.  After a Belmont has made so much progress, you can pull out all the stops with one of your worst of the worst.  And these monsters could be fully configured by you based on points scored from your earlier victories.  Eventually though, if you’re not cut out to be the dark lord, and a Belmont finds his way to your inner chambers, you can expect to hash out the final conflict in classic Dracula form.  If you’ve got to make a speech before hand, I’m sure he’ll listen, and then you can show him how you get things done around here.

It’s not like the game would have to have cutting edge graphics.  Konami has gotten along well enough recycling Symphony of the Night assets for years.  If there is concern over how it would appeal to core gaming audiences, then I’m sure it could be fashioned into a mobile game with micro-transactions and any sort of other bad idea that makes a game more appealing to publishers to market to casual gaming audiences.  In any case, a game that lets you enjoy being Dracula would be a welcome change in the series and perhaps a bit easier for Konami to deliver.

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