Double Agent
Nitwit Concerto - February 21, 2002 - Erin Mehlos

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. Show me how the piggies eat. Don't say we didn't warn you.

There will be no intro today, so there's no use whining about it.

Let's go.

The man speaks

Secret Agent Erin,

*thunder crackles*

Goooood evening....this is the one and only Count Dracula e-mailing you from the comfort of my coffin (hey, vampires have laptops too you know.)

Once I got word that you were going to discuss the new Castlevania game on DA, I couldn't help myself and I was just dy~ing to join in the conversation!

I've loved the Castlevania series ever since I got the NES and it gives my great pleasure to hunt down any new CV game and stake my claim on it. Notably, the series is infamous for its high difficulty and frustration factor (my controllers still have teeth marks on them!)

When Konami announced the new Castlevania: White Night Concerto, I shrieked with joy!

Are fans jealous that this new game is going to debut on the GBA instead of the PS2 as was planned? Maybe, but not this blood-sucker! Consider this: I bought my Playstation immediately after I feasted my eyes on the screenshots of SotN that appeared in GameFan (which may seem oh-so-long ago to you mere mortals!) ^_^

Thus, I will BUY whatever system CV: WNC is on and, I hate to say it, but *looks at the GBA*...."a WINNER is you!"

That is the kind of hypnotic, persuasive, buying power the CV series has on me (and other fans, I do not doubt).

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm must be off. I've a Counter Strike LAN party to attend to....

Forever Yours,
The Count

Sure. It's all well and good for you to run out and buy a new system for each new iteration of Castlevania -- not only are you living off the residual fat of the millions of ventures tying into your mythos like you're Tiger Woods himself, but you're at liberty to sit on your damn doubloons for hundred year intervals, effectively ensuring your financial solvency for the rest of your immortal life thanks to compound interest. Many of the rest of us, though, are up Shit Creek...

Say it ain't so

So White Night Concerto really is the Castlevania that was to be for PS2? I'm glad that Circle of the Moon ensured the success of the Castlevania franchise, not to mention good handheld games, but will it really sell better on the GBA? That's implying that CotM and GBA owners made the CV franchise popular again, when it was definitely SotN or nostalgia for the old NES games that did it.

You can understand Iga's reasoning: 3D Castlevania does not work, so let's put it on a "console" that only plays 2D games. And being the only 2D game on a console of 3D wonders would offput the graphics whore demographic. It just sucks ass as a PS2 fan. I was looking forward to a tricked out 2D adventure with high-res sprites and awesome music. Now it's just a GBA game...

Will I buy it? No. But not out of biterness, I just plain don't like handheld gaming. It loses all the coolness of reclining in a chair in the middle of a crazy surround sound set-up, in front of a huge TV. When I'm playing my brother's GBA, I'll wish I was playing a real console.

I take back all I just said if Square comes to GBA, however.

~Alex M.

P.S. This is definitely the same game as the planned PS2 version? Metal Gear: Ghost Babel didn't substitute MGS2, y'know.

To the best of the GIA's knowledge, C:WNC is in fact the rumoured PS2 Castlevania incarnate. But you don't have to take our word for it -- several other sites have run the story as well.

Not that it's any consolation, but I'm just as saddened as you, pal; there's certainly no column in my budget for a GBA, leaving me warming the bench for my second consecutive bloodbath.

Kickin' tunes in the white [haired] boy style

Erin -

I think you've heard me rant of the GBA enough to know that I will indeed own Wight Night Concerto.

If I had a PS2, however, and I had read yesterday's column, I would go out and buy a GBA. Its like 80 bux now, and so for less than the price of the original Star Fox when it first came out, you can own the niftiest gaming decive yet. Untill the next GB incarnation (GB Xtreme? Wouldn't surprise me...)

But seriously, if I weren't so fortuanet as ot have the little guy, I'd be steamed. I mean, SotN was absolutely outstanding. Castlevania 3 meets Metroid meets Zelda. Now, sure, they got skipped by CotM, but the mext installment was supposed to belong to PS2 players everywhere!

Actually, as a GBA owner, I would have much rather had WNC on PS2. Why? You remember the score for SotN! Imagine that all tripped out with Dolby Digital Surround sound? Yeah, thought so. Sorry pal, your headphones aren't THAT good....


Ray Stryker...thinks the Lord of the Rings GBA game is gonna suck, but he's buying it anyway...


Castlevania on the GBA? Who the hell plays with that kiddy syst . . .

. . .

Just kidding.

Actually though, I would've preferred the new Castlevania to have been on PS2; not for graphical reasons so much as for music ones. The only problem I had with playing C:COTM was the fact that when I did play it, I was at locations where I could not experience the music or play for extended periods of time ( > 15 min.), such as at the library, during class, funerals, ect. Thus, for the majority of play was done in short bursts and silence.

And just to let everyone know, I DO feel like an ass for my Zelda comment Sunday, okay? I was just sort of disappointed that this:


was replaced by this:


But maybe that is just me.

-Red Raven

One of the Castlevania series' hallmarks -- and this is particularly true of SotN, I Am the Wind notwithstanding -- has always been its music. Mature, Rococo-influenced harpsichords alongside driving metal riffs, all beautifully arranged and perfectly matched to their respective areas and moments. If by some cruel twist of fate I ever come to bear the yoke of marriage, I'm insisting upon that first waltz with my husband (that word really sticks in the throat, ya?) being to Dance of Pales. Aurally, it just doesn't get any better.

It pains me deeply to think of playing through a Castlevania on a handheld and returning the limitations of PCM sound. As if Castlevania 64 wasn't travesty enough, I was deeply disappointed in its soundtrack, despite some decent tracks and a generally valiant use of the N64's PCM chip. This series has shown us what it can do with full orchestration -- and Goddamnit, I want more. I'm worth it. We're worth it, Konami.


Hi Erin,

I think it's a good thing that CastlaVania: Whit Night Concerto is going to the GBA, it'll get a lot more recognition and respect there. Simply put, any 2D game is going to get more respect on the GBA that it would on a console, especially the PS2. I don't have numbers to back this up, but from the people I talk to, I get the impression that Circle of the Moon was one of the most anticipated titles for the GBA while Symphony of the Night was generally ignored on the PSX.

Part of the problem is gamers who expect that every game is going to have fully immersive 3D environments and awesome polygon graphics, so that whenever a 2D sprite based game hits the market, they shrug it off citing old-school or just plain bad graphics. The only way to avoid this is by creating a popular system which is primarily 2D, thus removing that enigma of 3D good, 2D bad. Fortunately the GBA fits this category very well.

The other problem is the game companies, Sony in particular. For the last few years, Sony has seemed to take a stance of wiping 2D gaming off the face of the Earth. It's bad enough when a game company hates 2D, but Sony make the hardware and licenses the games, if they don't like your game because it's 2D, they can reject your license. I've heard of a couple of cases like this, it was reported that there was going to be an Earthworm Jim game for the PSX that got canned by Sony for that very reason.

Now, I may be wrong about that, but in this day and age, 2D just doesn't get much respect on these massive 3D powerhouses that we call consoles. Going to the GameBoy Advance is CastleVania's only path to getting any real attention.

Kris Warren, who starting today is going to swear off singing the Monty Python Spam song, and will stick to reciting the Dead Parrot sketch.

You could always sing the Lumberjack song....

Anyway, you make a good point as well as a decent cup of tea. The GBA is the perfect showcase for 2D artistry in this time of next-gen posturing, when everyone's more concerned with how prettily the water shines than they are with how responsive the gameplay is.

Personally, I'd really like to see Konami mesh all that is sweet and good about Castlevania with the prettily shining water of the current crop of consoles. The first two installments of Oddworld proved a 2D game could successfully meld impressive visuals with classic gameplay. Konami's love of details and hand-drawn artistry seem like a natural candidate for similar treatment, something that first occurred to me when I was initially playing through FFVIII, of all things. The dark pre-rendered beauty of Ultimecia's demesne got me to thinking.... Why can't they bring Castlevania into the now by making them visually similar to this, rather than insult the bloodline with the likes of C64?

Hmmm. C64 sounds like a souped-up plastic explosive.... *sigh* If only....

At last ... enough Yen to buy a clue


This whole Castelvania thing is really a win/win situation, as far as I'm concerned.

On one hand, if Konami announced a new Castelvania game for a next gen system, it would immediately vault to the top spot on my most wanted list, no questions asked. Can you imagine how that thing would turn out with the SotN team working on it, given the liberty of high resolution, exquistlely animated sprites, and the ability to use high quality music samples, performed by a live orchestra, ala Xenosaga? I'd shed a tear at the sheer beauty of it all.

On the other hand, CotM is--with the possible exception of Link's Awakening DX--my favorite handheld game of all time. Can I possibly complain about a sequel without making a fool of myself? Of course not. And so I won't, especially if Konami lives up to the promise of making the screen contrast brighter.

What really needs to be said though, is it looks like Konami has finally scrounged together enough Yen to buy a clue. Its a wonderfull thing, really. Yes, 2d Castelvania is a good thing, and Konami can milk that cow as much as it wants as long as they keep the SotN/CotM people behind the games.

-Justin Freeman

PS. Am I the only one that finds the recent Castlevania subtitles (starting with Rondo of Blood) to be the Coolest Things Ever? I'm such a sucker for cool, gothic vampire stuff.

For me, hearing that the next Castlevania title will be released for the GBA rather than the PS2 is a bit disappointing. I own both systems, so I'm not worried that I won't get to play it. From a business perspective it looks like a very sound decision. I just mourn the lost potential.

On the PS2 we could have seen huge, high resolution character sprites and who knows what kind of impressive graphical flourishes. There could have been a more advanced control scheme, maybe using an analog stick to control the whip. Character animation that rivals the most liquid 2D fighting game. Things like that. Of course it could have been a prettied up version of the GBA game, but it's impossible to say isn't it?

As cool as it would be to see a decent representative of the series running on a machine that sports something more impressive than a 16-bit proccessor, but you really have to credit the GBA with helping keep 2D alive and well. The quick-save feature and increased contrast are truly godsends. Higher graphic and animation quality never hurt anyone either. I really look forward to seeing what Konami can do with the GBA this time around, and I'll definitely be picking it up when it hits North America.

Justin Speer

I'm completely and 100% enamored of your idea to use the right analog stick for whip control; it'd put Ape Escape's revolutionary use of it to bitter shame. More importantly, it could facilitate the revival of the long-dead vision the C64 development team had for giving the Belmont whip stunningly realistic physics and precise control in the third dimension.

Amazing, isn't it, how some of the initial delays were supposedly due in part to their working toward such an end, yet when the game was finally released all we got was a rigid, simplistic snap with a retarded motion blur effect...?

In any case, you paint a haunting and beautiful picture, leaving me to spill my tears of blood for what can never be....

7:00? Sun's nearly up ... you better get home.

Erin -

Long time reader, first time writer. I've received countless hours of entertainment from reading Double Agent, and I must say that I have also learned a lot. But I thought that maybe this time I should jump on the bandwagon and participate in the next inevitable bloodbath.

About White Night Concerto being on the GBA, I couldn't be happier. Of course I may not have been so happy if I didn't actually OWN a GBA. It's not that I wouldn't welcome it if it was announced for a PS2 release; I love Sony as much as the next Final Fantasy Fanatic. But if it were to be on the PS2, there is one possibility that truly frightens me out of the red-reindeer PJs I'm wearing right now...

I'm a flaming traditionalist sometimes, and when 2D games I grew up with convert (in poor taste) to 3D, I sometimes become unusually muscle-bound and green in hue, and I smash stuff. I didn't like it when Castlevania 64 was released. I consider it an abomination before the greats of the series, such as SoTN. I felt the same way about Zelda 64 (though not to that degree). Just because a system has the capability to make a previously 2D game into a 3D one... Doesn't mean they should, right?

So basically what I'm trying to say is that some games are MEANT to be 2D, and should stay that way. I'm sure the only people who will be upset at the decision to release White Night Concerto on the GBA are closet Nintendo-haters and people who really have some sort of bizarre personal vendetta against handheld gaming (trust me, they're out there...).

Well, that was painless. Maybe I'll try this again sometime. Damn, I'm up early, though.

Kyle Webb. It's 7:00? God, I need a latte.

Hey! I'm neither a Nintendo-hater nor a grudge-bearer, and I'm a bit miffed about this change in plans -- I was sorta looking forward to actually playing this Castlevania, not just admiring it from afar like CotM or Bobby Olsen from the first grade.

Ah.... Bobby Olsen....

But I digress.... I can sympathize with your flaming traditionalism, but I hardly feel that 3D can be all-inclusively written off as a bad thing. Generalizations of that kind are the reason 2D gaming's been largely flushed from the present gaming scene; the approach has been panned by consumers because of the blanket equation that 2D = outmoded shit.

Similarly, just because Konami was attempting to bring Castlevania to a next-gen console doesn't necessarily mean that it would have been Castlevania 64 all over again. At some point progress has to be made or the series would die and all we'd have would be our increasingly battered copies of SotN and our still-seething bitterness that they dared ever try something different.

As far as your remark that some games are "MEANT to be 2D" -- I'm inclined to think that in a lot of cases some games were 2D because, despite the artistic vision of creators, in the past hardware limitations forced them to be 2D. The evolution of Zelda, I don't think, is anything but a natural refinement of Miyamoto's underlying vision -- the medium for expressing that vision has simply become more advanced, more versatile.

Castlevania 64 wasn't a bad game because it was 3D -- it was a bad game because it sucked.

The ship sets sail, but misgivings remain

Well, I own quite a bit of Dracula paraphernalia myself (SS and PS Drac X, soundtracks, FC/SFC titles, etc) and so I was pretty much looking forward to a PS2 Dracula installment (by default, if anything).

The fact that the next Dracula game (nobody said that a PS2/GC/XB project was scrapped for this) is on GBA doesn't shock me at all. The engine for what they want to do is already pretty much built, and Dracula GBA sold better than Dracula Generations did on PS (but both sold rather dismally in Japan). I'll just politely ignore this upcoming GBA title the same way I do all handheld games and worry about business elsewhere.

Does this affect me personally? Not really, rather I'm glad for it in a way; it gives me time to save up for it as opposed to worrying about how I'm going to afford that on top of 5 other titles that I am highly pressured to purchase by the end of March.

As long as Konami realizes that they really should do a new console Dracula in the upcoming future (handhelds are NOT consoles), everything will be fine.


Yes. It's not too late, Konami. You can still make it right....

The end.


While Castlevania is a great series, I lost my enthusiasm for precision jumping a long time ago, so I am unbothered by its departure. Also, I am unsurprised by Castlevania's migration to the GBA. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the original PS got very, very high praise from reviewers, but its sales were pitiful. I attribute this to its 2D graphics. For many console owners, 2D gaming is as archaic (and undesirable) as black and white television. By contrast, on the portable GBA 2D is the rule, not the exception, so Castlevania should encounter the warm reception it deserves.

- Mark

And there you have it.

Closing Comments:

Well. I've been getting quite a bit of off-topic mail lately, telling me enough ends have loosened for a free topic Friday to be in order.

So tell me what's on your mind so we can get back to the grueling death march ASAP.

- Erin Mehlos

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