When I booked my appointment for an interview with Castlevania franchise producer Koji Igarashi, I was beside myself. What would I ask this man who had made one of the greatest 2D platformers of all time? I gathered together what few questions I could think of and when the doors to E for All opened, Asterick and I made a bee line for the Konami booth. We were introduced to our interpreter and eventually, the man himself. As it turns out, Mr. Igarashi is a man of few words so we contented ourselves with letting him demo the new Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP for us while we listened attentively and got in a few questions where we could.
For those of you not familiar with it, Dracula X Chronicles is a 3D remake of the original Rondo of Blood for the PC. But it's not 3D in the way you would think. It still retains it's 2D side scroller feeling, but with updated 3D graphics. Additionally, all new character portraits were created by long time Castlevania artist Ayami Kojima. The opening cinema looked amazing and while the graphics and script had been improved and changed, the simple Castlevania graphics you know and love are still in tact. New levels and boss battles have also been added and which boss you fight is determined by which path you take during the game.
You start out the game using Richter as your main character with his traditional whip and eventually you can switch to a 17 yo Maria whos attacks include birds and cats. If you played the Saturn version of the game, much of this probably sounds familiar, but Mr. Igarishi assured us that it's quite different with many upgrades and improvements over the original. For instance, one of the early boss battles was originally fought against a giant bat. In the new game that boss has been changed to a werewolf and includes a great silhouetted transformation scene before the fight.
Two nice easter eggs have also been left for players throughout the game which include playable versions of the original PC engine version of the game as well as a vesrsion of Symphony of the Night that has an updated script. Both titles can be found as items during gameplay which will then make them available to play.
As we were finishing up I asked Mr. Igarashi if there were any plans for any new DS Castlevania games and he said that yes a new one is in the works but he couldn't reveal any details. I asked out interpreter to take a photo of the three of us to accompany the article and as I was getting out my camera Mr. Igarashi pulled out his infamous whip for us to use in the picture. After it was all over, Asterick and I walked away, happy in the knowledge that not only had we just met a gaming legend, but we'd both touched his whip. Awesome.