Unreal Castlevania

The first level looks great with the Unreal engine pumping out the effects enhancing the added details.

The first level looks great with the Unreal engine pumping out the effects enhancing the added details.

Dejawolf over at itch.io is working on a remake of Castlevania using the Unreal engine it looks pretty cool so far.

The first level (which includes the Giant Bat boss and the area after it) is represented with a few clever lighting effects, animated zombies, and even classic weapons like the axe, dagger, holy water, and clock.

It’s still a bit rough around the edges which is typical for something so early in development, yet it also tickles the idea of what an updated Castlevania might look like today much like in the same vein as Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse or DuckTales: Remastered.

Figuring out how to move around was a bit tough since there were no instructions on the main page, but thanks to a bit of trial and error:

  • W (up, climb stairs)
  • A (left)
  • D (right)
  • S (crouch or down stairs)
  • R (special weapon)
  • E (attack)
  • Spacebar (jump)
  • N (suicide?)

You can also move with the cursor keys, but they don’t allow you to climb or go down the stairs. Gamepad controls are also enabled but don’t seem to be fully implemented (I can only jump and move around and attack…though can’t climb stairs or down them, either).

Aesthetically, it’s a very solid homage to Castlevania (and liberally uses the sound effects and music from the game).

Now, the optimistic side of me wants Konami to let this one ride out but, based on previously seeing well-meaning fan projects like this attempt the crowdfunding route, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Earlier this year, a fan project called “Shadow Moses” was set to remake Metal Gear Solid (also in Unreal) before it was suddenly canceled by the team for “reasons beyond our control”. No one is absolutely certain that Konami might have had something to do with it (they’ve also shut down a previous Metal Gear Solid fan project which was to use the Valve engine) though it’s reasonably safe to say that it’s a possibility.

It even has food hidden in a brick wall. Oh yeah.

It even has a classic secret like food hidden in a brick wall. Oh yeah. Tasty!

To make things a bit more worrisome, dejawolf launched a Kickstarter for the project. Previous attempts at crowdfunding fan projects have not ended well unless they’ve been blessed by actually having the relevant licenses. As much as it would be cool to see, a KS for a fan project using the IP of another company is very risky to put it politely.

That’s not to say that fan projects like these are impossible to do. Before a cease & desist went out to its creator, Another Metroid 2 Remake (AM2R) was successfully released. Although the creator has opted not to update the game or provide links to where it may be downloaded in order to abide by the request, fans that have played it enthusiastically reported enjoying it as a classic throwback to Metroid’s 8-bit/16-bit days.

Another, a remake of Streets of Rage by a group of super dedicated fans who worked on it over a period of several years, also escaped into the ‘net before Sega also issued a C&D. And it’s damn good with a complete soundtrack. In both cases, these have been released for free — as with pretty much every fan project — since the IP is wholly owned by Nintendo or Sega (respectively). They sort of frown on someone else making money off of their property. It’s a very narrow line that many teams hope will allow their projects to live on, though as history has shown, that isn’t always the case.

Maybe dejawolf’s Castlevania will make it out and Konami will be nice enough to let it go. If not, at least the download is still up there at the time of this writing, so give it a shot while you can. And then imagine how you might feel if Konami decided to do this for all their classic 2D Castlevanias (I’ll admit…I’d be pretty excited).

Picked up a giant axe!

Picked up a giant axe! My holy whip glows its way through the darkness, too.

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I couldn't attack the Giant Bat with axes because...I had no idea how to throw them until I started mashing random keys. After beating it, it even the magic orb drop and the score tally using the original sound effects.

I couldn’t attack the Giant Bat with axes because…I had no idea how to throw them until I started mashing random keys. After beating it, it even the magic orb drop and the score tally using the original sound effects.

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The animation for these knight guys isn't done yet, but this is a super early slice of where the game is going so it makes sense.

The animation for these knight guys isn’t done yet, but this is a super early slice of where the game is going so it makes sense. Welcome to project prototypes!

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In the last area of the level (before it just "ends"), effects like this hallway darkening after I whipped a few candles really stand out in the same way that the full moon did shining through the castle's windows earlier in the stage.

In the last area of the level (before it just “ends”), effects like this hallway darkening after I whipped a few candles really stood out. The full moon also had a neat effect earlier, shining through the castle’s windows and cracked walls earlier in the stage.

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