Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Level Design - Castlevania

More Castlevania in general today.  I want to talk about... murderous archtecture.

Castlevania has a beautiful art style... and alot of items that are trying to kill you.  Water when you can't swim, spikes poking out of the walls, and the enemies that pop up JUST when you don't want them too. 

All of which make for a very rewarding experience.  The levels are very tough, but with each death, it is very rarely the AI's fault.  More often, you didn't jump at the right time, or dodge, or attack, or remember to pick up the right subweapon, or put on the right ring and then you died.  Which means, every time you actually beat the level you feel quite accomplished.  You feel even better when you unlock the hidden levels (in the games that have them) 

The plot doesn't really matter.  You beat Dracula with a whip (or, if playing a later game, then swords, arrows, paintings, knuckles, spells, tattoos and whips)  since he is threatening to destroy the world.  Again.  (I will note it is true the later games' plots do get a bit more complicated but as I haven't played Lord's of Shadow I can't really comment) but the true thrill of the game is the level design.

So, enjoy Vampire Killer as you think about how important Level Design is to making a satisfying series.

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