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E308: Wii Fanboy takes the whip to Castlevania Judgment


Click to take a photo tour of Konami's E3 booth

I don't have to tell you how odd it is to see the Castlevania franchise make a leap into the 3D fighter space. It's not so much odd as it's completely unbelievable. Now, I'm willing to give anything the benefit of the doubt, and I did just that going into my play session. The first few minutes with the game weren't bad, but the longer I spent time with it, the more its flaws started to rise to the surface.


Within the demo build available here at E3, three characters were selectable. There was Simon, Alucard and Maria. Of all three fighters, Maria is by far the strongest. The Konami rep that was there with me during the session informed me that Konami knew of this issue with the balance and were working on it. But, this is just the first issue with a game full of them.

The biggest problem with Castlevania Judgment is that there just isn't any depth to the fighting. Each character has combos, albeit like two total (plain old waggle does normal attacks, holding B while waggling does strong attacks), along with a sub-weapon they can equip before being thrown into the fight. Using the sub-weapon is accomplished by hitting the A button, but the targeting on this is difficult. The Holy Water has a splash damage area, whereas the axe (these were the only two available sub-weapons during the demo) needed more specific aiming. You can also move your character around the 3D arena wherever, whenever with the Nunchuk's analog stick.

In terms of fighting arenas, we were only able to fight on two stages: the outside graveyard, which has the occasional zombie wandering between the combatants (this, I found, to be really cool), along with the church, which is a generic open space with no interference. These stages suited the gameplay very well, providing a similar experience to that of Powerstone, just, you know, less fun.

Now, it may be easy to write off the game based on the character redesigns alone (seriously, what were they thinking with those Alucard and Dracula character models?), but with some more time in the oven, I'm fairly sure that Konami could turn this into a fun fighter. As it stands now, though, here at E3, the game is very unpolished and needs to have the balance issues fixed. Also, it would be nice if the fighters had more fighting moves.

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