God-friggin-dammit!!! Fuck the upcoming Lords of Shadow! Why? 'Coz it ain't a 2D side-scroller. Simple as that. Castlevania just does not work as a God of War clone. I mean, it works, but it's not Castlevania in my book. Just ends up bein' another God of War clone.
It might be good, story-wise, and that's the part that frustrates me the most. Wouldn't it be awesome to have this kind of gritty "seriousness" and fleshed out storytelling specifically in a remake of Simon's Quest or Dracula's Curse? I mean, both those games were already pretty gritty and "serious", just that they were filled with "bad translation disease", not to mention lack of text space.
So, here's an idea I've had ALL MY FUCKING LIFE:
(but first a bit of backstory)
Ever since I played Simon's Quest back in 1989 (this being the very first Castlevania game I'd ever played) I've been hooked on Castlevania games. I loved Simon's Quest. I really did. I thought it was an epic, sinister adventure. At the time, there were no walkthroughs or anything, so either you figured things out by word of mouth or NINTENDO POWER. Although even with the latter you'd only get a few hints. I was lucky enough to have a random kid randomly mention in a random conversation the "kneeling at Deborah Cliff" bit. Lucky break. But really, it was all about exploration and riddle-solving. Granted the riddles were bad translations, borderline "engrish", but some actually did help me. So, I explored... Talked to everyone, hit every single block in every single screen with holy water flasks, jumped into every wall in case it were invisible... This rocked! I couldn't stop thinking about Simon's Quest.
And at the time I never understood why the 1st Castlevania was such a big deal. I thought it was boring. Just a regular old "hold right, fight boss, hold right some more" platformer. Simon's Quest was a whole big huge adventure that took place in a world big enough to explore and let the imagination soar, and that took me months to figure out and complete!
Then along came Castlevania III, and I understood.
At first I was dissapoiinted that this was just another "hold right till end", but little by little as I played I started to realize I was playing a friggin' AWESOME game! The music... The branching paths... The other characters... Even the graphics, the level variations, the map... It slowly started to sink in that this was probably what Castlevania should be, now and forever.
And then much later I played SOTN. What can I say?... Mind = BLOWN. It was non-linear! Had an actual inventory! The graphics! The music! This was like Simon's Quest but a million times better!
I loved SOTN. A lot.
But you know what? All the while, as I played an replayed SOTN, I kept thinking: "Man, it'd just be death-dealingly-AWESOME if they remade Simon's Quest with SOTN's production quality..."
Now, Konami's gone and remade a few Castlevania games quite a few times. The original Castlevania was remade so many times I just end up ignoring them all. Recently they remade Rondo of Blood. That game did not need a remake. It did not. The original already kicked ass. Sure, it sold like crazy, and yeah, it being finally ported over was nice, but it did not need to be remade.
So (finally) my eternal, wishful, probably not original, idea is this:
Why oh why won't Konami remake Simon's Quest and Dracula's Curse, Bionic Commando Rearmed style, goddammit?!?! Simon's Quest could really be epic! It could be "the next step" from the "metroidvanias", way larger in scale! It would have a whole semi-open world to explore, not just a castle. Here's a list of features I think would make this an instant classic and just headplodingly good:
Castlevania Chronicles: Simon's Quest
- Side-quests! Give those townspeople a purpose! You want someone to sell you their laurels? Well, first you gotta do them a little favor. Already, this could lead to a way more fleshed-out game! The dudes that trade those damn crystals... make 'em be "main quest" related. They won't trade unless you do whatever they ask of you first.
- A well-made day/night cycle that would actually influence not only enemies' strength but also be related to quests and events. Imagine some dude asked you to pick an herb for them that only grows at night in the Veros Woods. Or maybe one of the mansions only appears at dawn or dusk. There would of course be a visual way of telling what time of day it is, whether by the ambient lighting itself, or by some small, non-intrusive hud element . In towns, you would see people going into their homes and such as night approaches.
- Reintegrate the classic subweapons as subweapons are supposed to be used. Finding some of them could well be quest related.
- The currency would of course not be hearts, but gold, such as it's been in all metroidvanias since SOTN. Hearts could still play a role, such as ammo counters/mana recharge for subweapons, why not...
- Those creepy guys in cloaks that hide behind floors or walls in houses, or give you the oak stakes in the mansions, or like the guy that gives you the flame whip, they could be part of a secret, shady sect of Belmont followers that help when and however they can, often from "behind enemy lines" even. They might've been formed after Trevor's adventures.
- In mansions, before obtaining a Dracula's piece, there'd be obligatory boss fights. This of course instead of like in the original where for example you could just walk on by Death itself, get your Dracula's piece, and waltz back out as if on a guided tour.
- A map system, of course. It'd be cool to have a reference to the name of the area you're in, maybe in the sub-screen. Finally you'd know if you were in Veros Woods, Camilla's Cemetery, or Jam Wasteland.
- Dumb stuff would be done better. The crystals that open new areas would have an explanation, like they summon the help of God or someshit. So for example you kneel (pray?) on that god damn Deborah's Cliff holding the red crystal, and a powerful gust of wind lifts you up to it's top, instead of a tornado warping you to another location.
- You would not die in water. At the most, there could be poisonous ponds/lakes that damage or poison you if fallen in.
- Graphics related: SOTN style graphics would be fine, I think. For the outdoor areas where there were "ladders" in the original, instead there could simply be side paths represented graphically. There could be signposts in these crossroads indicating what leads where. But then you could also just check the map. Of course different areas would have different artistic design, so for ex. the Aljiba Woods and the Veros Woods would not look like the same cookie-cutter woods.
- Gameplay related: Like SOTN when controlling Richter. Not much more to say than that.
- Story related: Finally Simon, the original Belmont (I don't mean timeline-wise), could have his epic, tragic story told with full detail. He was cursed as Drac died, so he could be sort of a tortured soul as he knows this quest will not end well for him, whether he undoes the curse or not. Even if there were different endings, I think it'd be cool to have Simon die either way, so as to feel some "emotional attatchment" to this character you play as throughout the game. If not, he'd be just "another Belmont". Also 'twould be cool if he was all haggard and worn. And with a beard.
- The final in Dracula's castle would of course NOT BE FRICKIN' EMPTY, and Dracula himself would not be a total pushover. Actually, Drac's castle could be a mini-level like the size of one of the Portrait of Ruin areas.
And there it is. Even before SOTN and all the other metroidvanias, I always imagined a remake of Simon's Quest to be something like this. God DAMN I would crap myself if they did something even remotely similar.
Castlevania Chronicles: Dracula's Curse
- Again, graphics and gameplay updated to be SOTN-like. The characters' sprites were already there, even!
- The partner system could very well be much like it is in Portrait of Ruin. Could even allow for a co-op option maybe?
- The partner's gameplay mechanics themselves could very well be improved upon. Grant's wall hugging made easier, Sypha's magic made a wee bit more "complex", like being able to choose what spell to use instead of that being determined by whatever spell drops from candles, and Alucard's cape-fireball attack would be a wee bit more damaging (but not much).
- Map system would also allow for Stage Select, much as in Rondo of Blood.
- Frickin' KICKASS updated soundtrack.
Both of these could very well have bonus content, like Boss Rush mode and stuff like that.
That's it really. This one doesn't really need improvement otherwise. I wouln't even add too much more to the story than what was originally there. I say leave it as bare-bones as it was, which was good enough although 'twould be nice to improve on the dialogue between the other characters when you meet them.
No more to say on the matter. Whaddyall think? Am I alone in this desire? I would imagine I'm not.
One last thing: If you're big on Caslevania, and you'd like to imagine what an updated CV3 Drac's Curse soundtrack could sound like, check this guy out! All CV3 songs remade SOTN style (and quality)! No joke, this dude nailed it. Go download. Listen. Rejoice.
But then, if you're big on Casltevania, you probably know this dude.