Before speaking to Castlevania's Daddy Koji Igarashi earlier today, I got a chance to step into the shoes of the series prettiest little thing, Maria. Okay, their prettiest little female thing, though I did get a chance to beat up Alucard, the franchises prettiest little male son of Dracula.
As Iga said, Castlevania Judgment is not your standard 3D fighting game. You move in full 3D, almost as if you were playing in a room in one of the various attempts at bringing the platformer to into the 3D arena. There are objects to smash (and in Dracula's case, possess), power ups to be gained, and spectacular special moves to master, but at its core the gameplay is a very simple, pick-up-and-play affair.
The controls are pretty basic for a Nintendo Wii 3D fighter. The X button blocks and the C button dodges. Wiggle the WiiMote to attack, holding A for certain attacks or B for super attacks. Wiggling the nunchuck has your character dodging in a character-specific fashion. Maria slides out of the way, while Alucard disappears in a puff of mist, reappearing a short distance away.
I took on Konami's Jay Boor, who turned out to be relatively good at navigating Alucard, beating me only twice during the two rounds we played. Fights are smooth, enjoyable, and filled with nifty little moments that will have you recalling Castlevania games past. Maria's spellcasting is especially entertaining, with a wiggle of the Wiimote and a press of the B button bringing down a giant heavy object on top of the unfortunately blocking Alucard's head. The final match ended with me finding the perfect combination of mashed buttons and wiggling, launching Maria into a spectacular fire attack that left Alucard in flames, just in time for the round timer to run out, causing me to lose. Damn round timer.
So far I like what I see. It really isn't just a 3D fighter. It's something else entirely. It felt a bit more like a Dragon Ball Z fighter or a Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series game than it did Tekken or Soul Calibur. The only question I was left with really was, "How many characters are going to be included in the game?"
Stay tuned tomorrow for Konami's press conference for the answer to that question and more!