Animated Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Animated RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Netflix's Castlevania: DO's and DON'Ts Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Unclepulky

Castlevania is one of the longest running franchises in all of gaming, dating back to 1986. While its popularity has dipped in recent years due to a slew of mediocre titles, the series is set for a resurgence, following Netflix's announcement that an animated Castlevania series is in production.

We know almost nothing about this series at the moment, save for the identities of the people in charge of the series, the fact that it'll be coming out in 2017, and that it will be an adaptation of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

We have no way of knowing exactly what kind of series this will be, but, as fans of the series, we know that there are some things that most definitely should be aspects of the series, and some things that don't belong in this world.

DO: Embrace the Lore

There's a lot more to the Castlevania series than just "Simon Belmont whips Dracula to death." There's a deep well of developed characters and intricate stories that this new show can tap into.

From the morally conflicted Alucard to the animal controlling Maria Renard. From Soma Cruz's battle to stop Dracula's resurrection in the future of 2035, to Eric Lecarde and John Morris's quest to stop Dracula's niece during WWI, the possibilities are endless.

Most likely, we're not going to get to see every aspect of this universe explored. As I said earlier, the first season of this series will be an adaptation of Castlevania III, meaning the protagonist will be Trevor Belmont. And yes, the series likely will focus on the Belmont family as a whole. However, that doesn't mean that everything else needs to be completely ignored.

DON'T: Insult the Material

The co-producer of Netflix's Castlevania is Adi Shaknar.

If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because he was the executive producer of excellent films such as Dredd and The Lone Survivor. However, he was also the director of the short film, Power/Rangers.

The short film was made as a parody of dark and gritty Hollywood reboots of popular properties. Even understanding Shaknar's mentality and reasoning for making the film, as a fan of Power Rangers, I found my watching of the movie to be a downright unpleasant experience.

Now, Castlevania is much darker source material than the majority of Power Rangers seasons. But seeing this quote from Shaknar...

“Breaking News: I’m producing a super violent Castlevania mini-series with my homies Fred Seibert and Kevin Klonde. It’s going to be dark, satirical, and after a decade of propaganda it will flip the vampire sub-genre on its head.”

...I'm more than a little worried. Like all fans of the series, there's a lot of things I want to see happen in the series.

What I don't want to see is Trevor Belmont doing a whole bunch of drugs and killing innocent people. I don't want to see Grant be filled with nothing with angst over his dead family, and I don't want to see Alucard, one of the series's most beloved characters, simplified to the point of being unrecognizable.

DO: Have High Production Values

The above still is from the fight against Dracula in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

Do you see how crazy this is? Because, for those not in the know, the entire series is just as off-the-walls.

For this series to succeed, the animation needs to be crisp, and the art design needs to be both detailed and imaginative. One of the immediate appeals of any Castlevania are the creature designs and backgrounds. For this to be a good adaptation, it needs to be able to match the games in this regard.

While I'm talking about the production side of things, I'll also say that the producers should search out and hire the best voice actors they can. Yes, this is a series infamous for its bad voice acting, but that's one aspect that shouldn't transfer over to the show.

They shouldn't get celebrates. And they shouldn't just get Tara Strong and Crispin Freemen (although I LOVE them), because they're in everything. They should cast the VA's best suited for the roles.

 DON'T: Change the Core Plot

For this one, I'm mainly talking about the first season of the show.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is the earliest game in the series's timeline, save for Lament of Innocence. If they make changes to the story here, they could potentially impact all future seasons.

And really, despite being an NES game, Dracula's Curse doesn't have a bad story at all.

In the year 1476, Trevor Belmont, hailing from the feared Belmont family, is called in by the Church to kill a risen Dracula. Along his quest, he meets a pirate transformed into a demon named Grant, a young sorceress named Sypha, and Dracula's half-human son, Alucard.

While the plot is simple, this set up allows for plenty of action and, more importantly, the potential for character arcs for the four protagonists. This can be a show focused on the action and the characters; there don't need to be random tangents. There don't need to be extra quests or anything; just plain old, simple character development.

And Lastly


While horror elements have always been a part of the Castlevania series, they've been consistently goofy.

And that's just fine! Because, you know what? This series is cheesy.

It's over the top in just about every way. Over the top stories of cosmic battles between good and evil, over the top sweeping scores, over the top boss designs; subtlety is not a word which should be anywhere near this production.

I'm not asking for Gurren Lagann or Asura's Wrath or anything, but the 'cheese factor', as I call it, needs to be strong with this series.

Are you excited for this series? What do you think is important in its production? What other games should get season long adaptations? Let us know in the comments!

Sadist recreates Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon in 3D Thu, 14 Apr 2016 03:54:46 -0400 David Fisher

Back in 1993, Nintendo paired up with Philips to make video games for the Philips CD-i, an interactive compact disk media player. The team-up was short-lived, as the games using Nintendo characters were terrible, and frankly there's no reason to even bother picking them up -- unless, of course, you're a masochistic collector of all things Nintendo.

Despite this, YouTube user C4DNerd decided it was necessary to create this "HD Trailer" for a 3D version of Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon.

Why C4DNerd wanted to create this trailer is beyond reason, but here it is in all its terribly animated, poor camera work, and shoddy voice-acting glory. Of course, I'm not commenting on the creator's work. In fact, C4DNerd has done a great job of mimicking the cutscenes perfectly. Unfortunately, the transition to 3D only serves to highlight just how bad the CD-i Legend of Zelda games were.

At least Link's voice wasn't as annoying as the 1989 The Legend of Zelda cartoon's... right? I can't be the only one who thinks so.

If you'd like to watch the video on YouTube instead of our conveniently placed header video, you can do so here.

The Overwatch narrative continues with "Alive", a short focusing on the story of The Widowmaker Sun, 03 Apr 2016 12:07:23 -0400 David Fisher

It's only been 2 weeks since the Overwatch team released "Recall", but it seems that Blizzard isn't planning to stop the hype for the highly anticipated First Person Shooter. Today, Overwatch's Widowmaker gets the spotlight in "Alive", a short film that gives us some of our first real Overwatch-Talon action.

While it is currently unclear whether or not this video takes place before or after "Recall", Tracer certainly seems to care little for ensuring that the members of Overwatch are operating solely in the shadows. After catching wind of an assassination attempt against an omnic known as Mondatta, Tracer starts her pursuit of Widowmaker on the rooftops of London's King's Row area. However, the attempts at being a hero - and the line between saving one's self and another's life - are put into serious conflict.

Only minutes after the initial release, fans of Overwatch have already begun drawing lines between the released Overwatch shorts. The first familiar character - picked out by a Reddit user going by the name "Banshy52" - is a young woman and robot that appears in the "We Are Overwatch" trailer, and "Alive"'s first few minutes.

From "Alive"

From "We Are Overwatch"

Another interesting character pointed out by Reddit user Chidori001, despite being less likely to be the same, is a little girl from the start of the video. She too appears in the "We Are Overwatch" trailer, however, the similarities are less obvious.

Blizzard's idea to expand the franchise of Overwatch beyond the game itself seems to be working so far. With many more videos yet to come, and over 50,000 views in the first hour alone, it seems that the cast of Overwatch won't be disappearing from the limelight anytime soon.

Overwatch is available for pre-order now, and is expecting an early access release on May 5th for pre-orderers only.

A new Resident Evil movie is on its way Fri, 16 Oct 2015 03:54:38 -0400 Derek Islas

I know what you're thinking, but no, this is not another live-action Resident Evil movie. Instead, we are getting an animated feature film that is a reboot and does not follow 2012's Resident Evil: Damnation or 2008's Resident Evil: Degeneration.

This new animated film is bringing in some heavy hitters from the animation and film industry. The details on the film are minimal, but Mokoto Fukami (Psycho Pass) is the designated writer and Takashi Shimizu (Ju-on) is listed as an executive producer. The creativity split between these two should be able to shock and awe the gamer audience. In addition to Fukami and Shimizu, Takanori Tsujimoto (Hard Revenge Milly, Ultraman X) is expected to offer unique visual aesthetics from his position as director.  

With all the commotion surrounding Resident Evil lately, it's no surprise that this new animated film was announced. Including this film, Resident Evil fans can look forward to HD remakes of Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil 2 and upcoming news regarding Resident Evil 7.

Dust: An Elysian Tail Fri, 24 May 2013 15:38:32 -0400 Vrothgarr

I began playing Dust: An Elysian Tail without much forethought or any knowledge of what went into its creation and development. As I side-scrolled my way through the hand-painted environments with solid if not standard hack’n’slash RPG gameplay, everything felt just right. As great as it needed to be, not revolutionary but up to snuff for the price tag. It’s a fine package, but I sensed that something was different, something I couldn’t quite pin down. The entirety of the game felt small, but not in terms of size, length or the variety of the world of Falana. These things were surprisingly huge.

The game felt small in the sense that there was a tangible cohesion bringing every element together perfectly; a close-knit singularity that came across through the aesthetics and the gameplay. It wasn’t until I saw the credits that I discovered why I’d felt that the world was so sharp and comprehensively crafted: the entire game, save for the sounds and some elements of the story, were built by one Dean Dodrill (operating under the title of Humble Hearts).

Dust: An Elysian Tail, is a side-scrolling action RPG which has already spent a year on XBLA (it was slated for the Indie Games market, but was elevated to XBLA after winning several awards) and is coming to PC tomorrow. Everything throughout keeps a particular sense of loving craftsmanship, and though it does nothing to change the genre or bring anything new to the table outside of the unique level of artistic quality, it executes all these without major flaws.

Dust is our hero, an anthropomorphic swordsman (swordsfox?) who has been deprived of his memories. Something terrible has happened, and you are at the heart of it. Your flying, wise-cracking companion, Fidget, and your talking sword, the Blade of Ahrah, join you on your journey, with many well-written NPCs to help or hinder along the way. Though the story is nothing revolutionary, it captivates with ease and certainly suits the genre and style. The lively diversity of the environments certainly helps. The narrative paces along ably enough and is sufficiently compelling to hold up the game. Dust is certainly suitable for a younger audience, though it will not fail to entertain adults.

The gameplay varies greatly depending on the chosen difficulty. Easy delivers an experience that wouldn’t be out of range for a young child, say 4-10 depending. The rest of the difficulties outside of Hardcore will serve as a solid enough experience. But if you’ve done this sort of thing before and want to do more than slog through, go straight for Hardcore. The lack of higher difficulty surely deprives the game of a decent amount of replayability, as does the lack of a NewGame+ mode, but it is on par nonetheless.

The sum of the action gameplay certainly necessitates the excellent RPG elements layered on top. It’s the highest possible caliber of standard action platformer fare, yet it’s still standard. The depth of the RPG system includes your usual equipment slots, abilities, stats to level, upgrades, etc. Again standard, but that’s more than okay. A game like this doesn’t need to revolutionize, it just needs to deliver the solid mechanics I’m coming to the game for in the first place. Dust delivers.

Outside of the fantastic voice acting, spot-on soundtrack and effects standard gameplay, the one quality most outstanding is the art. The environments are all clearly hand-drawn, not because of any flaw but only because this level of beauty is only ever attained through staggeringly meticulous attention to detail. The style of animation alone will certainly draw players in, though it also might do the opposite. I’m not usually one for... anthropomorphic animals (I avoid the other term as it’s often used with malice and I intend none here), but the high quality of the art got me through, and I enjoyed it immensely.

At the end of consideration, what strikes me most and what brings me back for more is that this entire finely crafted game is that it feels more personal, and therefore more touching and engaging. It’s expressly because it is more personal; one man’s (plus a co-writer and outsourced sound) labor of love. It comes across in the little things, and that above all is why Dust is a must.

Mr. Dodrill posted a great postmortem on Dust: An Elysian Tail here on Gamasutra.

Don't Starve reviewed by Gaming like a Dad Mon, 29 Apr 2013 08:33:04 -0400 LeviHaag

Don’t Starve is “An Uncompromising Wilderness Survival Game Full of Science & Magic!” according to the developer, but it would be best described as an open world survival game. It is made by Klei , the makers of Eets, the Shank games, and my favorite stealth game of all time, Mark of the Ninja (read my review here!).

One of my friends saw the game and said it looked like “Minecraft as directed by Tim Burton,” and I think the description fits well. I spent a weekend playing through the game a few times, but I still feel like I barely scratched the surface. I think that calling this a full review is unfair in some ways, and that calling it “first impressions” may be closer to the mark. Either way, I would like to make it known right away that this game is very large in scope, and what you get out of it depends a lot on how much you put in.


Anyone who has played Minecraft or any other open world survival games can tell you that these games can suck hours of time away once they get their claws in, and Don’t Starve is no exception. The game itself is in top-down third person perspective, and controlled primarily by mouse. Starting up a game will randomly generate a world and your character will be placed into it without any items. In order to survive you will need to collect items, and then combine items to make new items. You will need to collect better materials, and in order to get the better materials you will need better items and…. you get the idea. These games drive the player to keep playing by keeping things just… out… of… reach…. and it always works on me. What sets Don’t Starve apart from other games in the genre is it wants you to die; in fact, you earn experience points every time you die which unlock new characters. This is important because you will absolutely die. A lot. This game is much tougher than other open world games, and more often than not I found myself trying to run away from some new way of dying.

The game also features a health, hunger, and interestingly a “sanity” meter. It adds a whole new level of stress to the game to know that besides food and clothing, I also need to worry about keeping my character sane. Just like any survival game Don’t Starve relies heavily on the player experimenting, and figuring out what works where. It also has some game play elements that really caught me off guard, but I absolutely loved. For example; if you play as the main character “Wilson,” eventually he starts to grow a beard, and if you would like you can shave it off and use it in certain recipes, or you could keep it and it helps keep you warm in the winter (no really, I thought it was a joke too). The game introduces enough to keep things fresh, but also doesn’t try to be so different that it over complicates things.


Like Klei Entertainment’s previous games, Don’t Starve has an animated look, but unlike Mark of the Ninja and Shank which looked cell shaded, Don’t Starve looks more like an animation from Tim Burton, or something that you would see in a web comic. It is very well done, and the style and aesthetic work perfectly with the game play. There is very little color, and instead of voices all the characters have an instrument that plays a note when they talk. I really cannot stress how great the game looks, and was pleased to see that there really wasn’t anything that felt out of place with the style, everything fits well and creates one cohesive universe.


Like I said in the game play chapter these games depend more on what you put into them rather than the game trying to force you down a specific path. Each play through will be different, and because of that there really isn’t any story. Although it should be noted that whenever you start a new game there is a short introduction, that raises more questions than answers, but I would guess that as I play I may find out more.

Dad Factor

The game is most likely too hard for most younger players, however kids that play Minecraft may enjoy it. I didn’t find anything that was too upsetting visually (you will occasionally need to kill animals for food), and with no voice acting I had no problem letting my three year old watch me play. What stuck me though is that this was one of the first games she had absolutely no interest in watching me play, or trying to play herself. The lack of color, and any “cute” things really gave her nothing to be interested in. The only thing that she found moderately interesting was the sounds the character made whenever I clicked items. The game is single player, and saves upon exiting, so there is nothing to worry about if you play at night, and with no voices you can even play with the volume all the way down without worrying about missing anything.


$14.99 from The Developer or Steam

The Good

  • Very fun new take on open world survival
  • Awesome style
  • Innovative enough to keep things fresh without getting crazy

The Bad

  • Tougher than most other open world games which leads me to problem #2
  • Dying a lot can get frustrating since you have to start over every time

Final Score

Game Score: 5 out of 5 Hearts

Really I am more and more impressed with Klei, they deliver amazing games that look as good as they play. I really enjoy playing Don’t Starve and even I recommend it highly.

Magic: 85%

There were multiple times while playing through this game that I laughed at its humor, applauded its mechanics, and cursed the souls who made me die. This game easily sets itself above the rest and really shines as a great game.