So with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow dropping, it seemed like this would be a good time to focus on my experiences with Castlevania. See, what a lot of people don’t know is that Castlevania is what got me interested in acting in games to begin with. Man, Brandon Bonlet’s performance in the original as Simon Belmont is something of legend. And rightfully so. It served as his big break too.
Seriously, look at everything Brandon has accomplished — what a career. He just nailed everything about that role, from the flip of his wrist for the whip, to his slow, purposeful walk up stairs. Epic, just epic. See, for a lot of people it was Jake Smitters role as Mario in Donky Kong, or Jet Long’s performance in Ninja Gaiden that made them want to get into the business. And while both of those roles are impressive, in my opinion, nothing compares to Brandon’s portrayol of Simon Belmont. And that is why I think the franchise struggled to make it in 3D, even though it tried so hard before. Oh and please note that when I say 3D I mean what we in the biz call “go anywhere 3D” not this pop-out-of-the-screen stuff that directors are trying to get us to do now or redoing our older works in — please, I take my art seriously, thank you.
But anyway, yeah, Brandon’s turn as Simon was amazing. How is some other actor supposed to do that, convey that sense of power and stair-walking, candle-whipping awesomeness while having to worry about moving in every direction. Are you kidding me? I mean, don’t get me wrong, if anyone could have pulled it off it would likely have been me, but I respect the original too much to go and try to change things. And I am sure the director and producers knew that, and that is why they have never asked me to audition for a role.
This new version though, Lords of Shadow, seems to be doing things right and I find that exciting. See first, like anything that is good and that you want to sell to people, you need to give them a little taste of it before they can go out and buy it, give that little something. But see, you don’t want to give that taste to everyone. Why would you do that? It is not like you want anyone and everyone to buy your game. How would that be cool? Cool is in exclusivity. Yeah, so you give some out, but only to some people that maybe pay for an extra service or something — I don’t know, just ideas here. And then, only later, do you make it available to other people, still not everyone, because well, well we already talked about that.
But yeah, they are doing things right this time. Why have someone try to copy Brandon’s work in the original but in 3D? Like I already explained, that is practically impossible. The way to do it is to open things up, make the fighting style more fluid, more dynamic. I think bringing in Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions was a good call here. Kojima always works with some of the best fight coordinators in the business and if anyone can put a new spin on combat whipping and awesome stair walking, it is Kojima. I mean seriously, I know I am not the only one that drooled over the stair walking he got out of his actors in Metal Gear Solid 4‘s Metal Gear Online. So good! And a lot of the actors in Online were just extras and day players.
So to say I am excited to check out Lords of Shadow is an understatement, because sometimes even those of us in the business like to sit back and be reminded about why we are here in the first place and why we love what we do. And so while I am not sure if Lords of Shadow will surpass the original in my mind, I know I will have fun playing it to find out.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, with its attempts to bring whipping and stair walking into the “go anywhere 3D” word, is available now for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.