Rediscovering Horror in 3D (E3 2012)
When I heard that Castlevania: Lords of Shadows - Mirror of Fate lets you play as Trevor and Simon Belmont, I was thrilled. A couple months back, I did a Castlevania retrospective describing what made Castlevania such an important game for me. At that time, I wondered if gamers would ever get to play as Simon Belmont again. During my Konami booth tour at E3, I got to play Mirror of Fate on the Nintendo 3DS, and it was an interesting romp back into the world of vampires and medusas.
The game is a sequel to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and it takes place 25 years after the original. While the levels and characters are built as polygonal geometry, the action takes place on a 2D plane with the camera occasionally zooming in on key moments in a sleek 2.5 view. The 3D parallax action looked great, and playing as Trevor was an interesting trip down memory lane. Trevor, a knight in the Brotherhood of Light, seeks revenge for the death of his mother. Gabriel Belmont, the hero of the first Lords of Shadow, is now Dracula, and also the culprit with whom Trevor seeks a showdown. I wonder how this timeline interacts with Castlevania 3 and if the game will integrate story elements that took place during the original NES title. I realize everything in the Lords of Shadow is a continuity reboot, so I'm excited to see their unique spin on classic characters and how much of the old is incorporated.
Alucard is going to be playable in Castlevania: Lords of Shadows - Mirror of Fate as well, though I wonder if he will be as agile and limber as in Symphony of the Night, or whether he will be more lumbering, like he was in Castlevania 3. Konami Producer, Dave Cox, expressed his admiration for the original NES games, to which the Mirror of Fate plays tribute. The fourth character has yet to be announced, though I'd love an appearance by Sonia Belmont, the protagonist of Castlevania Legends for the original Game Boy.
Mirror of Fate's gameplay integrates combos and magical abilities to take down monsters. There will be additional subweapons like a boomerang to assist the Belmonts. Each of the characters will also possess a unique ability they will hand down to future generations. I didn't get to see this in action, but I am very curious about what this will entail. At the least, it will increase the replayability factor. There will also be more exploration at hand in the vein of Metroidvania. Dave Cox mentioned that while the story of Lord of Shadows and LOS 2 focused on Dracula, Castlevania: LOS - Mirror of Fate focuses mainly on the Belmonts and how their fates became intertwined with the perennial blood sucker.
I think the fact that the developers, Mercury Steam, want to take the game back to its action roots is a great move. As much as I've enjoyed the latest outings on the 3DS with their huge roaming castles, I missed elements of gameplay that made titles like Super Castlevania IV and Rondo of Blood so much fun. There were elements of platforming on display in the demo, as in using the whip to cross over chasms. Trevor can also double-jump to help aid traversing long pits, while Simon can't, which means you have to strategize and plan how to reach different areas using the different characters. With about 15-20 hours of gameplay, I can't wait to rekindle my sense of horror again. If only they could give us the option of setting it to the old 2D Castlevania tunes! Look for Castlevania: Lords of Shadows - Mirror of Fate for Nintendo 3DS in the fall of 2012.
He has been working in film and games for over a decade. On his off time, he likes to travel the world. His short story collection, Watering Heaven, was just published by Signal 8 Press.
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