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Castlevania Judgment - WII - Preview

E3 2008 GameZone Previews

E3 2008 Preview

Fighting games come in all shapes and sizes. This year we've seen more licenses tackle the genre than ever before. Amazingly, Capcom has nothing to do with it. As they put the finishing touches on a fighting game sequel that doesn't feature comic book characters, Midway is hard at work on one that does. Namco Bandai isn't doing comics (yet) but their next chapter in the Soulcalibur saga will feature at least two stars from the world of Star Wars, and at least one from The Force Unleashed.

Konami is getting in on this fighting game shift, but it's not technically a license since the characters come from another one of their own properties: Castlevania. The resulting game is Castlevania Judgment, a 3D fighter that jumps into worlds that few in the genre will dare enter. For starters, it is entirely three-dimensional. In other words, you don't have a silly eight-way run. You don't sidestep to avoid an attack. In this game, players will be able to run anywhere they want in each states. It's as if the 3D Castlevania games have been trapped in a fighting game environment.

Castlevania Judgment Wii screenshots

Maria, Simon and Alucard were the only playable characters in the demo, but Konami promises that many more will be featured in the final game. Exact characters are unknown at this point -- we're told the developers have several lined up but are not yet sure which ones to include.

Maria brings staff fighting to the game. She has the ability to attack sideways and with downward strikes. They can be fairly effective if you know how to handle the Wii remote, whose shaking ability is used for attacks. Want to pull off a quick combo? Just shake it. Want to pull off a longer combo? Just shake it some more. The A button is used for another attack, and you'll be able to jump as well. By now Tobal No. 1 fans are probably thinking that this sounds very familiar.

Since this is a Castlevania game, the developers added one cool addition you won't find in any other fighting game: accessories from the series. They include the knife, cross, axe and holy water. These four items were divided among the three playable characters (two each, leading to some item overlap).

Castlevania Judgment Wii screenshots

Simon is a champion with a whip, wielding it as if it were an extension of his hand. Once again, the player doesn't have to put much effort forth to make his best moves come to life. Simply shake the remote and watch the action unfold. Alucard follows this pattern as well with one small difference: he carries a sword.

Graphically, Castlevania Judgment was a tad on the grainy/washed out end of the spectrum. It wasn't an ugly game but you could tell it had months of work left to be complete. Assuming that work is done quickly, you can expect the finished version to be out exclusively for Wii this fall.

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