Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

FL10- Turns Out It Was Man

Man! The most dangerous game! Or hunter. Or waitress beating up a little kid. They're all fine choices. The Sins may find her predictable, but Pride manages to get in some good licks from time to time. She may be cute, remorseful, and a bit of a ditz, but she has a mean open palm. And combustion.

Long, Graveyard Duck Review: Castlevania Judgment- Against my initial expectations, Judgment surprisingly turns out to be a really interesting game, but one that is horribly made. The game reeks of a lack of caring and a “get it done and out the door” mentality. It's a fighting game and the most dangerous technique isn't a combo, baiting, turtling, or supers. No, the most devious thing you can do to an opponent is stand in front of the camera so they can't see what you're doing. Let's go back a bit, shall we? The fights take place in a fairly large 3D field but you immediately run into a problem in that the game has major issues with locking onto your opponents. You can dash towards your foe and start a combo only to find yourself moving off to the side, whiffing at empty air, or focusing on a candle at the edge of the field. The control scheme is just a mess. I immediately passed on the motion controls and went with the regular controller but it's just so poorly laid out. To do a special move, you have to hold one button and press another (despite the fact that the one button does absolutely nothing when pressed by itself and the special moves could have easily been assigned to that lone button) and to fight fluently you pretty much need three hands because you're using the left stick to move, the right stick to roll, the buttons by themselves to attack, the buttons in combinations to do other moves, and the shoulder buttons to block or do supers. It's just a mess and part of it stems from them cramming too much into the control scheme. There's no real reason to have the special attacks anyway because they're no better or stronger than the normal attacks. The shield breakers mostly look like normal attacks, so if you just made the special attacks the shield breakers, it would make the game more playable. The computer itself is nothing special and almost every character can be beaten by a simple “block then counter” strategy. The enemy fighters either incessantly block or spam one move so as long as you can counter than one move, you're in the clear. If it weren't for the constant blocking, matches would be over in a matter of seconds because most characters can be killed with 2 or 3 repetitions of a simple combo. I'm not even good at fighting games but even I was able to sting together combos that did over 50% damage and we'll ignore how ridiculously easy it to to ring out your opponent with certain guys too. If you're playing competitively for some reason, you're probably going to see the same two or three characters over and over because the game has the most unbalanced roster ever. Alucard has high attack, defense, and speed, he can teleport, with decent timing you can infinitely trip your enemy with a wide-ranged and strong unblockable attack, he can fire a constant stream of homing projectiles, and his super move takes off about 2/3 of the enemy's life. Cornell can almost instantly teleport above your head with an air attack that has super priority. Dracula has a move that knocks the opponent down and you can spam it to keep them pinned there, practically guaranteeing a win as long as you can connect with it at least once. Even the subweapons are unbalanced. The knives, axes, and holy water are all but useless compared to the stopwatch or lightning which can be abused mercilessly. So we have a fighting game with bad controls and busted gameplay, what's left? The character redesigns were done without any respect to the franchise. Simon is Light from Death Note in bondage gear, Maria is Misa Misa, and Death is Rem with a skull mask. Or a robot. Seriously, he's weird in this. Sypha, Alucard, Cornell, Golem, and Drac look good but with Sypha, if it weren't for her name, I could never have told that it was her. The character designs don't even reference the original characters in any way outside of some fleeting description. Yes, Eric has a spear but there was more to his character than that. They try to pass it off by saying that you're playing Eric as a kid, but there's no reason for that to begin with. How did Grant go from pirate to Voldo's foppish cousin? You have to beat the game once with every character and then do it all over again a second time to actually see their endings, which ultimately turn out to just be text and not all that interesting, even if you're into the Castlevania lore. It has its own adventure mode style of gameplay where you move through challenges to fight Dracula but most rooms have ridiculous requirements. Nothing shows the forces of darkness who's boss like destroying four candles or collecting five hearts to win a match. It does have an online mode, which was somewhat laggy, but I found a match fairly quickly. When you're in it, the game stutters quite a bit, making it hard to tell what move your opponent is doing. The battle quickly devolved into who could spam the most projectiles and who could connect with their super move first. The broken gameplay isn't any more fun when you're facing a person or facing the CPU. Maybe it's just the Castlevania geek in me wanting it to be awesome, but the game genuinely had promise, if only it weren't so poorly made. The music is well composed and fits a fighting game perfectly (mainly intense remixes of the greats), the stages are interesting and have some fun hazards, and it mixes in the subweapons which could be pretty hectic in a better game. Fix the camera, correct the messy controls, balance the characters, and drop the constant blocking and it could have been a really fun non-traditional fighter in the vein of Power Stone. If think they just botched it so bad on this one, they'll never get the chance to do it right.
Sins Committed: Bad character designs, Bad controls, Bad gameplay, Bad story, Bad dialogue, Bad camera
Virtues Acted: Good music, Good stage design, I got to kick Misa Misa through a stained glass window