Castlevania. The word can make old-school gamers both salivate and cringe. The 1987 original for the Nintendo Entertainment System is one of the hardest platformers ever devised, and its sequels have populated nearly every console to follow the NES. The series has evolved from its original Hollywood horror style and embraced a Gothic/dark romanticism feel that includes the shift to a very anime-inspired look — but at its core it’s still the granddaddy of all monster mashes.
With a new Nintendo DS installment coming Oct. 21 and the first-ever Wii title in the series due Nov. 18, it’s time to say fangs for the memories and try not to go down for the Count.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Nintendo DS, Oct. 21)
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the DS has been hailed as a mix of the series best features, from the action elements of the original side-scrolling adventure to the RPG elements of Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and the more recent Symphony of the Night. The hero in Ecclesia, described as an emotionless acolyte, is a departure from the whip-cracking warriors of earlier expeditions. You can connect with other players via wi-fi to compete or even to buy and sell equipment found in the course of the adventure.
Castlevania: Judgment (Wii, Nov. 18)
Castlevania Judgment for the Wii is not only the first outing to Dracula’s domain for that system but also the first fighting game in the series. Konami promises online head-to-head competition. Judgment will resurrect heroes (Simon Belmont) and villains (Dracula) from across the Castlevania franchise as playable characters in 3-D arenas where even the environment can be your weapon. The Wii Remote will control your attacks and the Nunchuk attachment will control movement and defense.
These newest entries in the Castlevania saga aren’t competing with each other — they’re working together. One of the playable characters in Judgment will be Ecclesia’s protagonist, Shanoa. Connect both games via wi-fi and you will be able to unlock exclusive items for use in either product.