DiscoverRetronautsRetronauts Episode 93: Castlevania's portable legacy

Retronauts Episode 93: Castlevania's portable legacy

Update: 2017-04-03
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Castlevania superfan Shane Bettenhausen joins Bob and Jeremy to discuss the next set of vampire-slaying classics to go under the retrospective lens: The series' six 'Igavania' entries for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS.

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as we can turn outs with it in your hand the deficit is brought to you by audible audiobook service with more than one hundred and eighty thousand titles to choose from a free audio book and a thirty day trial at audible trial dot com slash game the the the the Everyone and welcome to the latest episode of retro dots a new look or a Fiat years old tagline at the beginning was kind of nasty him but it's it's Castle mania on a portable system so your guess in this year the level of discourse has really been lowered I know you just compare me to be named but first you go straight to a low sexual power talking about was revered franchises goes okay also a dead franchise so let's just get out of the way shall we hi everyone I'm Terry Pearson apparently I'm crass and this episode of restaurants is about portable Castle me new games not the Gameboy ones was running here there wasn't no another mobile ones not the L E D handheld ones just no pleasing me tonight it was the of the same even though yours should not exist let's let's not release this morning who are these Do two are also on the I'm Bob Mackie am always here and this is a chain but hasn't guessed and guessed because who better to talk about Pennsylvania with us apparently actually you weren't on the most recent cast of a new episode which was kind of a new round of light and something that I would actually save that for like months to prepare myself when saving for it for this one so I just listened to last week and it really the kind of excited yet angry angry angry this when you leave me I potentially you know someone who hasn't played one game just pops up like a random occasion of the drama about the person about that I see all of the mom's voice but I felt like we did a great job he talked a lot to say that other elements of the night and remember that we're not really only had an hour half this is a push to concede this is true and I was hoping when I get I do this you would not include one of the games are included because I have actually written out of the community which is circle the moon days were starting to remember and you know we're going to class a little bit today sometime excited and these games are both at one of the gym back in the day when these most of these came out yeah actually um one of my eye was always importing Pennsylvania games it was way before they came out and I have a fond memory of being in leaving Tokyo Game Show and I guess two thousand and seven and we were at customs to do immigration out of the country and you have you passed over in advance review Robert Porter of ruin and I played at all that back from from Japan so both huge fans of the night going into this generation of GA and yes games so I think you will also close to the projects in that interview the teams multiple times easily go back into history Shane was on the first couple of cuss me up as early as three has been episodes in the beginning of red hots some familiar territory but we haven't really talked about these mean we we've also grown to ten years great people and Caspian fans to think about these as retro games and also affords us like a lot of distance and the genres changed fundamentally in the change hands it's interesting to see these games from that perspective I was actually really happy to revisit these in my things have changed some of the aspects I didn't play all the way through any of these in preparation but I did play a little bit of all of them are some of them hold up really really well others not so much that we can talk about that but I think you guys did too much cover most everything important to think about it you can't think about these games except in view of the temblor that struck and that is a good place to start the Pennsylvania seventy the night and I do think that is kind of the that the inflection point for these games because of Pennsylvania up until seventy nine even beyond actually a few years past like once you got away from the In yes there was sort of this confusion about what is Castle vignette like super Pennsylvania for was its own thing and then the next game of the came along was Rondo of Blood which was kind of like a throwback to calving at three but also included fan service but also kind of like not really an official cause of a new game because it is called regular acts and have the autumn a style an experimental and yet bloodlines which was much more of a traditional custom in the game so there was like this just kind of dancing around like What are we doing all that I do ever being really excited that it was something branching and all these three unique paths that all interrelated kind of had a unique view sky later Megan and do the same thing but not as wells maybe or maybe as well times yeah I um I was mostly frustrated because I love Castle in a foreign I wanted another game like that and we never got another game like the close is that I guess we ever had was the ex sixty eight thousand Pennsylvania which I didn't even until like nine of us because we knew for the next when your problems but lines and then you click on the blog eventually right I was familiar with bloodlines but I didn't have a Genesis I like was familiar with it in my about me to play either of those other Israelis are no lines and its Genesis yeah I was excited for nothing but having laser guns before and at the time it was like whoa this is such a throwback to cost me one and three whereas Iran to bludgeon screen so that was like an interesting throwback to three as well in different directions like I played them indoors because of or in the regular lines then having said all those around the time they released it was really exciting things experience I think my dark secret is I didn't actually like being in sales of the other night I could appreciate it but it was hard and you gracias Jeremy and I didn't use it to Shane like he may have something isn't right for players who thought the other games are too difficult to work so these ways of learning how to beat the grim Reaper in on the playground when I was a great school like that kind of stuff so you should use only water haven't had the most from ye sow so than even I like that United we did and I think as Americans necessarily understand the lineage there of the fact that was based on Rondo of Blood and was a sequel to that I mean even in the US version said bloodlines have something of that kind of weird to see you in forty years so when you first read it and you realize this is the end of autumn but you were not awe struck by the way to live like that and really never had it seemed I had seen Dracula accent I hadn't really played it because I was like Oh that's not casting a force equal to care for younger people is hard to think back they were there to experience the first time ever played a game they did at the first ever blog and instantly thrust back into the climax of the previous game and let you relive it and directly to the states I've been astonished I didn't get the actual connection but I still thought it was cool I was like Wow it's like the final battle Dracula and I was the first game ever imported was was not reliable so I guess we should talk about the circle the moon is like so so yeah that's from this where I'm going from this is that somebody the night was kind of this sort of experimental offshoot also like the let them do some PlayStation is kind of cool that some interesting things with three D technology but that's not really work at Connie wanted to take as a venue where they really wanted to take it was an animated three D action game like Mario sixty four and crashed and a good or something so you had Castle Pena for Nintendo sixty four that was like the next game but I was a mess like they didn't even finish the game for the law and they ended up coming out with a fancy ball which was actually just finished and I think you should actually one of the micro about some of these other like bastard doesn't mean you know I will do at that time again like we're a suspect in the sixty four it looked blur and mature and less fun than most four titles and when it came out it was and was kind of bad nobody was shocked excited for it was like Wow it's like sort of a modern era castle the early twentieth century actually I plated it was a still from the motorcycle after that it's all down right crazy long actually does some interesting things like you have to know the chainsaw chase with Frankenstein's monster whatever through a maze like there's there's weird stuff happening in its creative but it doesn't quite work and that's good because we are thinking but if they would try to recreate that UVA instead of the desert yet oh yeah I mean I think at that point they started to realize castle then yy in three D space that's going to be tough you around the time that circle the moon was in development you also had regular coke rapper Cassidy was a call like this one but the legacy legacy platform the dream cast when the never happen resurrection in the West like you can find footage out there like a Medusa this kind of looks kind of tragic yeah yeah I mean that was cancelled probably because the dream cast filled but also I think because it did not look very good talk about council is also a canceled thirty two Access Media yeah that's that's not relevant to live on radar like where I'm going with this is that Pennsylvania was not really a starter I think the Senate in the central having to use a whip to attack it really is difficult to do correctly it is yeah I can be done but they were having trouble with it something that wasn't coming together for them so so all of this leads to Gameboy advance one question for me or what was what was she doing between something and nine and circle the moon and I know but I was wondering like why was he not doing more castle mean it was yummy and sixty four games was he his he was going to make a memorial race I was pretty vibrant of time is getting poured on the PS one satin corset okay I'm just curious as to where he went between us and doesn't like the previous stuff that I don't need I mean he wasn't like executive level or you know producer level at that point yet like the guy who came in and helped out with Pennsylvania city in the night when the director laughed That's right that's right yeah is he like hadn't been kind of appointed as the guiding spirit everything that didn't happen until two thousand to write and the other cousin is like circle the moon and it's for having other parts of Tokyo other parts of commie again Kobe is a nod to The you guys are messing up that's okay because what we're ultimately going to ultimately leading to his castle in a circle of the space will two thousand I was not one of the games present theories I was there was my first Japan was super excited over for games I calmly reveal the Gamecube and the more than the legendary show hear about it like you in lieu of the reasons which will be like to go where the models carrying the switches on stage like that I ever excited to play circle one of the game's playable the presentation and immediately liked what I can see this it's so dark as my main initial thought yes everyone thought remember this does not directly but let's let's talk about why this game happened and how I came to be um basically I feel like after all the troubles they had with three because of a new games they stopped and said How can we make castle the new work and they look to see what had worked and they looked and said You know like the two D games those are still okay like this have been pretty successful Forest of darkness maybe are not like the darkness legends coming elections for Gameboy like the very late Gameboy for this one so you don't want yes now that they tried it I value card to a year or two before this action was nineteen ninety quite late and was three years this better than California Adventure but not a good cause of the venture to it was a weird step backward but you know aside from that one they just looked and said like maybe doing the two D games makes sense and Gameboy advance was the logical place to put those games because you know in sixty four games ups one p S To Dream cast Xbox all those were kind of pushing to next in graphics which meant higher budgets which meant you no more expensive games large development teams the Gameboy advance that would allow them to create comfortable castle the new experiences that you know could use a winning formula and not have to have a gigantic team and they can also reuse assets so it was just a very pragmatic choice critically the launch lineup that there was a whole lot of time for any of it yeah probably only had like nine months or something right so you're clear laws that love gives them tap into what's good about the hardware and I think in previous episodes you talked about early on they really had a balance graphics or sound and this is a game early on that balance on sound very heavily and I think that is why many people have fond memories of this is a fantastic samples on track to test with her Mia soundtrack is largely borrowed from the Greatest hits The past is the sample sample sample the sound actually is like it's like streaming audio rights generated by the Gameboy advance right Harmony of dissonance would have generated museum hate that that's strange because I feel like we've gone to appreciate that kind of knew that kind of sound later on Harmony residents also has other troubles are medium in that people just like Oh man I love his music and some of the best tracks I remember from the last few games immediately that the menu select screen or the character select screen has like Requiem from Rondo but now I have never even heard because I hadn't played Rondo play because I hadn't come to the right is coming out of your little GPS watch wow so there's like a woman singing to me for my GPA the Oh the the the ah the the number that was kind of gimmick for a lot of early launch games you know um some area who advanced to the foods began everyone made noises and accessible he said I know I have always talked about um like the weird sound design of Morrill and four we had like all kinds of AI Li weird echo ey distorted sounds within you also had like that song that plays in the seaside this is like you get stung by bees and it distorts and stretches like people are really interested I think developers are really interested in what you could do with the Game Boy advance is no storage space and hardware and what you could do with silent and you really kind of loss that later on you know the Warriors team kept going with Mario were Mario where and in rhythm Heaven but everyone else was kind of dislike and adult style attack because Nintendo really just knew the Harbor veterans enough to work as hard maybe no I think people you know there's there's when you're dealing with a limited platform like TVA unlimited file size and storage space everything you do as a tradeoff so I think people decided that they wanted to trade in other directions like scope or maybe have an effing be in there at the beginning have nicer graphics or his character really for looks really good and also sounds really good I don't know how he did have was on its route different yeah I mean I was playing the Japanese version in the summer of two thousand one so it was like two or three months after the system's launch the league was circling me like Kobe or was it me who means well well look at the notes so having to circle the moon was a Gameboy DS launch title produced by Casey Computer Entertainment Kobe Kobe the team responsible for the Sylvania sixty four and also the gleaming games crackers as I was like yeah okay but Cassidy sixty four is the ever so this is the people who made the messy incomplete three D castle in the game making a messy kind of unbalanced to details of any game so maybe they just had some troubles but there are some interesting ideas here it just didn't quite work like The darkness II leader probably don't blame as much that when they were developing and they were looking at it on some monitor that was lit up and they probably have the final hardware and Kaylee that we need to do a little more explaining here because you're you're talking from it in perspective like everyone we went to game on your screen you see kind of outline is dark we're looking at original Gameboy advance did not have a backlit screen I mean I have a silent scream had a fairly reflective this is the viewing always light I mean this is retreating every webcomic from that year but I had to play this game outside because the only way you can see it was sitting in my backyard on the port bow side of the solution yet it was screened in fact I was very much inspired by like the fact that you can see this game I have my memories of the first year Gameboy advance or me sitting and in a chair right next to a lamp and holding my game system at an angle just right so I could see what was happening it was common to buy an accessory to brighten project light onto the monitor screen and circle the moon a really exceptional case I think like it was extremely bad because you know it's Castle vignettes got to be spooky and dark but you had that spooky darkness to the screen that is naturally just dark Deborah was it was a difficult experience the art styles of like it's not exactly like any of the previous ones is kind of a mish mash a little more serious and oh yeah I guess everything is just a little off I mean I played it's first I don't love them all for the wee huge play them all again I pleaded for his fine I plead of our medicines immediately afterwards I'm like oh no there are like so many tiny things they don't get like the jumping the moving men a kilometer out the big let's let's let's pull back a second actually just talk about what this game is to circle the moon is the first portable castle in the game to break from the just like traditional one level at a time structure and go into the seventy the night style nonlinear exploratory map of the castle style with equipment and a school system and exploration and consumable items with DS say I talk about but basically it is an attempt to kind of do the symphony of the night thing and it's very elegant buy a soda put in the context of the time you have to understand this was a Gameboy advance launch title and therefore it was by far the best looking and sounding and one of the hugest like in terms of scope and substance portable games ever seen of line it was rehash yeah it was not a Mario advance was it was a brand new game and that I think wallpaper Dover a lot of the problems at least at the very beginning it's a really hard game to go back to but at the time it was kind of Milo and bizarre for small offenses I even knew it wasn't exactly a team they were clearly inspired by Zoe was the director's name is Koji Koji garage she is Co G for someone like me who always had my shoulder gets Gameboy it was a glimpse like Oh man I can I can actually embrace this cause it's not going to be sloppy he has one of the games I've always felt that's that of all the cows will be games like the portals circle the moon seems the most like a Genesis game and that's not a knock on it just like style and some of the play mechanics and it just feels kind of lake you know this isn't you know this isn't that the comfortable Nintendo way of doing things we're doing things our own way it's going to be a little different but that's like learn to love it it's fun easy to love it almost feels like Sega trying to make as many games and we're going all or death the way guys are designed with the characters look and the controls they haven't come out is because when you're four and is a really great deep controls the top super tight for the franchise which began with the controls this felt like a step backwards and that's not a knock on Sega Genesis it's just like you know that the two platforms Nintendo Sega always had a different way of doing things and this feels like you know it was always really at heart a Nintendo franchise and this is like the weird kind of offbeat version like we're just here to take blood lines and make it non linear you've probably come up with something that feels a bit like circle the moon now the fact that the systems don't work um that's that's another story entirely that doesn't need to do with this a feel of it it's just like the overall impression against the The aesthetics of it I think the story also feels more like the ones refusing to connect more to the original Dracula novel well yes I mean it it's OK so that's another important point is that you know somebody and I took the action away from the bonds and put value card the Son of Dracula as the held in his narrative immensely yeah this guy's not pretty enough for me yeah who is named Chris John whom is in great need to remember but he's totally forgotten yet he's well he's been wrecked conned out of the series franchise in the series has been wreck on now another stock that sang There's heart be pleasing to think of him going to say yeah drug the silence I love it here on the back deck to enter there yes oh so yeah this does it feels like it's somehow tied to the novel Dracula even though it's not actually the the Nathan Graves is like the protege of a guy named Morris Baldwin which isn't quite the name of a character from the Dracula novel but it sort of clever were small about the city evokes the characters the characters in Alec sorry yeah so what are they saying right so then Agnes doesn't actually fit into the previous narrative going and not really know now it doesn't fit anywhere in the castle the new narrative like it takes place in one essay like the late nineteenth century alright so it doesn't mean that there's no right and it's it's once again some persons summoning Dracula from the grave when the entire game inside the castle if I recall correctly right there's nothing there's no getting primed it with these teams will see the start branching we're just so you do just the game begins with Dracula Resurrection and instead of like telling everyone he just sends them to that the basement go go go go play the basement boys so there's nothing graves and then there's his friend Hugh Baldwin who is Morris Baldwin son apparently Morris Baldwin had beaten Dracula in the past and he gets captured the beginning and so you and Nathan dropped into the basement and they have to go run off and do stuff anyway he becomes a bad guy you meet him occasionally throughout his day rival the common theme in these games are always corrupted or whatever yeah there's there's I guess there's only so much you can do the narrative of a guy who's running around tractors cows yeah but anyway so that's kind of the the introduction and then from there it becomes this big exploratory adventure and you can find your way around and you have to know acquired for power ups like them early on you acquire the ability to do a double tap dash which helps you do longer jumps that's where the game starts to fall apart actually because the control mechanics in this game are really weird like Nathan walks are really slow pace and when you jump he jumps really high but it's very very short like in terms of how far he jumps so you basically spend the entire game double tapping and running because at that way you can actually do it and normal jump so like I don't know why they incorporated that element to it because there's no reason not to just double tap and run everywhere and you get this right away like the first five minutes of the game so for the rest of the game anytime you want to go anywhere your double tapping its just like this is a basic design element of the game where it seems like they didn't really think it through Him and to me that's kind of emblematic of the entire circle of experience and Shane said they didn't have much time to put this together so you know with another four to six months of development time maybe this game could have been just perfect but as it is just has this whole Cascade of problems that starts with a double jump or the double top and just gets worse from there you're talking about six games here and this is one right literally remembered absolutely no stage is no boss is kind remember this but there's very few new ideas here yeah it's it's a really weirdly balanced came to like some enemies you know you just had them and they die but other enemies you just have to keep pounding and pounding on them there's an experience system say you kind of level up as you go but it seems like kind reminds me of the leveling mechanic from mother for her family colleges punishing yeah like it was much that way and I've never been this game legitimately because the final battle with Dracula is tear grueling that flies all over the screaming like this chariot thing is running around on and it takes for ever dissed is destroy him and he hits really hard and yeah it's just like it's not it's not fun and so I ended up cheating in game checking myself into the oceans and that's not the only way people see the ending and I suppose in theory you could legitimately gain in the infinite potions but here's the thing their consumable items in this game but there's no shop o I know you have to get it as a random drop and things like oceans are not nearly as common as you would expect so in order to actually have a stock of healing items you just have to keep grinding hitting enemies and also the basic DSS system the cards you collect also many of those are random or Australia there are a few there that are less plays most of their all drops but there are a few enemies you kill and when you kill the enemy you will get like a plot mandatory or are mechanically mandatory DSS card but otherwise like you have any cards total you can acquire and you're probably not going to try more like six or seven in the course of the game that reversal is so not fun that farming stuff isn't fun either in this game it's hard to see so they get all kind of like I want to love this I didn't love it and I think that I'm a people made themselves like it and now all these years later maybe write yet not so good I don't think the Cards had anything to do the enemies that carried them either has some good in future games you but I want that thing so little faith that things like it like it was like most of the cards were planets are going to have one winner of the cards like Mercury Venus Mars et-cetera And then the other room was like legendary beasts like salamander and Dragon something and yeah I didn't really have any connection to the Emmys there was no indication that game of which he was going to give you cards I like looking like hell now yeah it sucks like game facts to light it's really not a game you can complete and master on your own steam without like knowing ok I have to hit this enemy and keep going and eventually will give me this drop but some of that raw
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Retronauts Episode 93: Castlevania's portable legacy