Like I said in the Konami press conference live blog, I'm not a huge fighting game fan. I've been known to go a few rounds with Arcana Heart from time to time, but I'm more into the moé action than I am about the player versus player. Still, a Castlevania fighting game is something I had to see --and on the Wii, no less.
Hit the jump for some hands on impressions on Castlevania Judgement.
The first thing that grabbed me about this game was the look of the characters. You can play as Alucard, Maria, Dracula and Simon. Alucard basically looks like Sephiroth, while Simon gets the hardcore emo treatment, right down to his burgundy spiked hair and narrowed eyes. Despite that, they definitely look good and fit well with the feel of the series. Good so far, right?
A Konami rep jumped in with me so we could do a versus match and get a feel for the controls. You use the Wiimote and the nunchuk, and this is the first fighting game I can remember playing where you shake both to make your character perform different movements. A waggle with the Wiimote results in a basic attack, while the same movement with the nunchuk allows you to perform a quick roll to escape a blow. I didn't mind it, but I think it would take some getting used to.
You also have access to powered up attacks, which is kind of a given, but what is neat is that you can use items in your environment to inflict damage on your opponent. While playing, I hurled a lit candlestick at my Konami friend and set him on fire momentarily. You also are able to choose a secondary weapon to attack with from a distance. I chose the knife, which was handy to hurl when my opponent ran around the room avoiding me.
Unfortunately, I only got to go three rounds with it as other people were waiting to play, but my initial impression was that Castlevania Judgement was not a game I would buy. It isn't because of poor quality, but more because my devotion to the series is about the side scrollers and this is not a genre I am big on. If it was a Castlevania RPG, I would have already run screaming down the hall with my hair on fire, but that's a given. I think fighting fans may have some fun with it, though.
I made the mistake of looking less than enthused as I put the controls down, at which point I noticed Koji Igarashi standing behind me wearing a look of disapproval. He then explained (with the help of a translator) that I had to be punished for not falling madly in love with his game and proceeded to strangle me, which left me kind of breathless and excited. I think he originally intended it as a punishment, but since we were both kind of enjoying it, it wasn't that effective. You've got to love those kooky Japanese.
P.S. - Hey Iga ... call me.