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Castlevania: Judgement by Zsenitan 05/20/2009, 8:33am PDT
It is surprisingly good.

Do not play it with the wiimote. NEVER PLAY FIGHTING GAMES WITH THE WIIMOTE. Play it with the gamecube controller.

The cover and opening scenes promise Soul Calibur + Guilty Gear, and that is what you get.

The graphics are excellent for the Wii: each fight level is full of Castlevania detail, the fight animations are exciting and fluid, the costumes have enough belts on them. I was pleasantly taken with the volume of Japanese gothic packed into every level and character design. Sound is acceptable; the English voices aren't the tragedy that they are in the Soul Calibur series, but I still switched to the (excellent) Japanese voices. Plenny classic Castlevania themes receive respectful and unobtrusive rescorings as bgm.

The gameplay takes some getting used to.

You CAN smash lanterns and columns to get hearts, and you DO use the hearts to power subweapons. Your Giant Crisis super hyper move is a one-button hit that depletes your entire mana bar (refilled by blocking (all blocks are perfect blocks, there do not appear to be high/mid/low hits, just ground and not ground hits)) and takes 50% off your opponent's life bar for all characters against all opponents. The super move animations are brief and pretty, a blessing considering how easy it is to use.

There are levels with hazards that you can enable or disable at the start of a versus/practice round (acid, lava, eg things that damage but don't kill you when you step in them). Pretty much all levels allow ring out, but it's a very elegant take on ring out that I would be glad to see in other games: rather than just having a ledge, or fighting on a platform, you might be in a room with breakable windows. You can break a window and then ring out through the hole. This "rooms with windows" or "rooms with only a few openings" is a surprisingly naturalistic touch.

You are forced to start with Queen Simon Belmont, the prettiest rose in Transylvania, or Alucard. But after completing your first match against L, I mean Light, I mean Aeon (character designs were by the Death Note guy, and it shows), you get something like 8 characters immediately unlocked. Trevor Belmont is a safe, easy, slugger-type character to use in order to get a feel for the controls.

There are a lot of weird-ass characters with weird-ass attacking styles that I don't want to spoil for you. I really enjoyed and looked forward to each new meeting. But in general look for Guilty-Gear-style over the top attacks from Soul Calibur-lookin characters.

I don't really get why this game got so pwned in reviews. It is a serviceable fighting game with a lot of interesting new takes on the genre. There is a whole lot of Castlevania packed into the fighting game shell. I can only assume that the reviewers insisted on playing using the wiimote, which can be very frustrating. That's why you shouldn't do it.

If you like Castlevania and fighting games, you will like this. It's worth buying especially if you have friends who also like Castlevania and fighting games. The fighting engine is a little simple in terms of hitbox and mechanics, but the game is pretty enough to sustain interest. Fans of Dead Or Alive-style fighting games will probably feel right at home.
Castlevania: Judgement by Zsenitan 05/20/2009, 8:33am PDT NEW
    so, a giant step down from symphony of the snot, yet it's a "positive" review NT by Weyoun Voidbringer 05/31/2009, 3:06pm PDT NEW
        ^ jsonathan blow NT by Worm 05/31/2009, 3:21pm PDT NEW
            wrom doesn't play video games, even universally loved ones NT by Weyoun Voidbringer 06/01/2009, 5:47am PDT NEW
                You're reading too much into things, just imagine I called you a douche, and go NT by Worm 06/01/2009, 8:23pm PDT NEW
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