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Friday, November 16, 2007
I was lucky enough to play a BETA version of Hasslevania (which should be released within a week or so) to write a preview for, although I have been reliably informed that even though this is the last BETA before final release, many changes have already been made since this version.

I write this preview rather apprehensively (and will keep it relatively short) for two reasons:

1. I never got to play the Castlevania series in any great length when I was a kid so it is hard to comment on this in comparison to its source material.

2. I did not manage to get very far into this due to time constraints.

On a general scale, first impressions were positive. It was smooth and everything was nicely drawn and adequately animated. Even within the small amount of ground that I did manage to cover, there were lots of little secrets and areas to explore (apparently the game as a whole is quite large), which is always a nice touch, since it adds replay value. Various powers can be gained along the way such as travelling more quickly and jumping more quickly (although after collecting these I didn't notice the speed difference as much as I thought I would).

Soundwise the game consists of intentionally cheesy sound effects backed by a pleasent soundtrack. Some may get annoyed at the sound effects, since they do become repetitive but once I was immersed in actually trying to achieve a goal within the game, I didn't really notice them a whole lot. Speech is worked into the pause scenes within the game, where the main character is talking to others. The speech that I did manage to hear, like the sound effects, seemed to be intentionally cheesy and reminded me of a second-rate 'Everybody Loves Raymond' episode. I have to admit that the game didn't have quite as much atmosphere as I would have liked but it kept me entertained and that's the main thing.

One quibble I did have in this area was that you are not able to skip speech scenes. I have no idea whether this is going to be changed within the final version but it did become a little annoying, since I managed to die a couple of times before the first save point and had to re-sit through the speech more than once. It's amusing the first time but by the third, I was ready to hurl my monitor out the window.

The game has various difficulty levels. I chose 'Vanilla,' the easiest and even on this it didn't seem to be a walk in the park so it looks like this might take a solid few hours to finish.

For those still on dial-up: the game is going to weigh in at around the 135MB mark. You have been warned.

Keep your eye out for release.
Blogger James said at 11/16/2007 11:06:00 PM:  
It's a 320x240 resolution 2D platform game. There's absolutely no good reason to release only a 130mb+ version. Without the speech and music, it's like, what, ten or twenty mb tops?

No, I'm not on dialup. I'm on bandwidth restricted DSL.

If this guy made a version with low-quality/no speech and music, I'd consider it.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/17/2007 05:25:00 AM:  
10 or 20mb tops?

Oh hells no, try more like 110 mb.
There's a LOT of speech in the game, trust me I know.

If I had to guess, I'd say this game has about 5-10 hours of playtime, depending on how many treasures or secrets you're able to find before winning. As Steve mentioned, there's also 6 different modes of play (the 6th one is only accessible after winning it once) and yes, it's kind of on the hard side. :) Even I can't win it in any less than say 3 hours or so, so dig in mateys!

The "skip speech" option has been added, along with some more things for atmosphere Steve so I'm sure you'll notice a big difference. I can't even really remember the version you have since it's so different now!

And thank you for the nice preview I appreciate it!!
Blogger JS said at 11/17/2007 10:25:00 AM:  
This game feels more like a sequel to Castle Quest (or Castle Excellent) than a castelvania game.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/17/2007 12:14:00 PM:  
Awesome, that was also an inspiration of mine, good catch!

It's really its own game and not really too much like anything else. You'll have to see in a few days for yourself.
Blogger JS said at 11/17/2007 12:32:00 PM:  
I take it you had a hand in this :) I would really consider a "lo-fi" version, like the above posters suggested, if I was you.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/17/2007 04:11:00 PM:  
I played a beta of this a long time ago, I thought the voice overs were particularly funny and will help set this game apart from similar games. It's enjoyable, a really solid game way back when.

Can't wait for it Del Duio!
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/18/2007 06:05:00 AM:  
I think the only way I could have made it more lo-fi would be if I converted all the speech to .ogg files, but then I'd need MMF2 in order to embed them to the game. I didn't want too many external files for this one if possible.

Dr. James, I sent you an e-mail this morning and it's a good one!
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/18/2007 11:03:00 AM:  
Can we choose the difficulty?

Because something is telling me that this will be a very hard one :X
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/18/2007 12:20:00 PM:  
Not really, I guess it'd be more accurate to say that the game is hard and if you want you can make it.. um, more hard?

Don't worry though because it's nothing like CV1 or CV3 hard. And it's nowhere near Ghosts n' Goblins either.

It's really not all that bad once you get used to playing it. I mean, sure some areas are harder than others but that's true in almost every game. Most of the difficulty is probably going to be deciding on where to go next and where some hidden things are.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/19/2007 06:26:00 AM:  
Will this be as unplayable as your previous games?
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/19/2007 11:54:00 AM:  
Yeah probably lol.

Good thing the download is optional, eh?
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/19/2007 05:13:00 PM:  
@ anonymous poster

This is gonna be great where's yo game at?