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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« on: April 11, 2016, 01:38:01 AM »
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It's been long enough.

Castlevania: Order of Shadows.

Here's a crummy game from when people were still trying to get a handle on making smooth smartphone action games...and in this case failed. But considering how far Android/IOS development has come since then, why not pick it up and do it right this time? Just because a title starts out as a blemish doesn't mean it has to stay there. (Final Fantasy XIV comes to mind.)

And how right squaretex is.

I'm a rare fan of Order of Shadows. While I I love the game, I openly admit that the Java-based game platform that was available at the time carried many clear limitations.

I think OOS was among the few games from that period to truly feel like it successfully duplicated the feel of the main series as much as was physically possible to do at the time -- phones had less gaming power than a GBA at the time. While it had its many, many, many faults (respawning enemies if you scrolled the screen off of the tile they spawn at, item drops not being random but instead bound to certain enemies on each map, etc), it tried to pick up the threads that were left dangling by Lament of Innocence with the story, featured a villain, Rohan Krause, who had successfully killed a Belmont in battle (albeit off-screen, but still not an easy feat), and showed Belmonts who did NOT inherit the whip (Zoe and Delores) nonetheless heavily involved in slaying vampires and other monsters as a support team, which answered a lot of niggling questions I'd had at the time.

Furthermore, while it kept to a traditional linear Classicvania map style, there were plenty of explorable elements thrown in and some neat pitfalls turned out to be alternate paths, Rondo style. That being said, good luck guessing which ones kill you and which are shortcuts ahead of time...

The RPG elements from Symphony could result in a massively OP Desmond, but I found them welcome additions to a mobile game (being a genre in which I do not appreciate high levels of difficulty).

Hell, I liked it enough that, back in the day, I wrote a review for the Chapel of Resonance, which due to admin inactivity is still present on the main website.

I'll save you the navigation time and just post it here, for your consideration.

Quote
Castlevania: Order of Shadows is so far the only Castlevania game found exclusively on the Mobile Phone platform. It has of course drawn a large amount of heat from hard core fans for it's lack of length and depth in comparison to the established series handheld and console releases.

Of course, this is a mere cell phone game, not meant for depth or length. In fact, it is meant for just the opposite; to keep the mind and hands busy while waiting for a few minutes at a stretch. In that, the game succeeds admirably, while holding true to the Castlevania roots that spawned it.

The story is simple. The Order is attempting to revive Dracula, and Rohan Krause (a warlock in the mold of Rondo of Blood's Shaft) is spearheading the operation. Alas, aside from Rohan, we see only one other member of The Order in-game, but given the name, it would suggest there's a few more members conducting nefarious schemes elsewhere. But, I digress. The only people capable of stopping Rohan Krause in time are the Belmont clan, and in this game, there's THREE Belmonts (something of a first for the series): Desmond (the main character), and his younger sisters, Zoe and Delores. Thing is, Rohan has also achieved something of a first for a Castlevania game: he managed to kill Desmond's father. A villain killing a Belmont; not a frequent occurrence. The three new Belmonts arrive at the Order's manor, and infiltrate it. Desmond is in charge of the actual slaying, and his sisters show up here and there to deliver some obvious information.

The gameplay is simple, using the numberpad for main controls, but on phones with a control pad, it can be used instead in a more intuitive manner.

Desmond starts off with no skills and just the basic leather Vampire Killer, which will serve Desmond ably for the first leg of the game. You can find a flame whip upgrade for it after beating the third boss, and after beating Rohan Krause, the Vampire Killer achieves it's full power. In addition to the whip, you can collect over a dozen other weapons, like swords and throwing axes, but using these consumes hearts, which can be easily replenished by smashing candles and slaying enemies, which will sometimes even yield weapons and alchemic weapons, which are one-time-use items you will be able to use when you start Stage 4. In addition, slaying each boss will grant Desmond a new skill, such as double jumping or sliding.

The game's graphics are of appreciable quality, as are most mobile games today, and the backgrounds possess a very Rondo of Blood coloration and style. The sprites are very simple, and look like high-end NES Sprites, but the animation is really atrocious, just like the story's writing.

The controls are somewhat stiff, but this adds an additional layer of challenge to the game.
Speaking of difficulty, the first time I gave this game a playthrough, I had a really hard time with it because it has unspeakably bad hit detection, which resulted in MANY pointless deaths. The jumps are weird, because if you stop pressing the jump button mid-jump, Desmond will plummet like a rock. But it doesn't take long to learn how to turn that to your advantage, and chances are you won't miss a single jump on your entire way through the game. Also, climbing stairs can be a hassle for a new player, as you have to learn where the "sweet spot" is, elseways you'll just be looking like a damn circus performer, leaping left and right. Just FYI, that sweet spot is when you've lined up Desmond's foot with the stairwell's base. There is some backtracking, but it's purely optional and meant to supply ridiculously overpowered weapons for those who like to be show-offs.

Like recent entries in the series, the game features the ability to level up, but grinding in this game is discouraged by a large margin between levels, which encourages players to beat the game on their own skills. There's also healing items, which can be collected ad infinitum by smashing all the candles in a room and then leaving and re-entering and repeating. And trust me, you'll want to do this before you take on a boss.

The bosses have predictable patterns, but the shitty hit detection and stiff controls adds the challenge that rightly should have been there for entirely different reasons. Either way, the bosses are still satisfying to finally conquer.
I appreciate how this game revisits certain neglected plot points, such as Leon's gauntlet and the Gandolfi family, and also the revisiting of the forest called Eternal Night, and though minor points all, one can certainly say "Oh! I remember those!". Also, when you fight Medusa, you can see Simon Belmont frozen in stone in the background; an interesting touch. It also has a somewhat amusing twist after the credits.

This game won't be winning awards, but it's a good use of $7 for a phone game. OOS is not a deep game, but that fact actually works in it's favor. I won't give it a score or anything, but I'll count it as "worthy enough to be on my phone".

I kind of wish it was still available, honestly.
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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2016, 02:16:26 AM »
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I'd like a remake of this. I think it would be merited and welcomed by fans.
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Offline squaretex

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2016, 07:35:23 AM »
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Wow, well said! I wasn't sure what can of worms I'd be opening by mentioning OoS, but I'm pleased to meet someone who ADMIRES it for what it tried to do. :)

I kind of wish it was still available, honestly.

Oh, it is. Just like the lovely grey area where console ROMs lurk, the APK is out there. That's how I was able to give it a try, and ended up thinking, "Ugh, this is painful." ;)

But yes, I saw the POTENTIAL. There ARE some interesting ideas going on here. I'd really love to hear the tale without wrangling with archaic controls.

And I might have mentioned it on the other thread, but with phone power being greater now...expand it! Stretch it out! Make things more balanced and more interesting. And - a bit of a pipe dream here - make a version for Steam as well! :D

Offline The Puritan

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2016, 04:16:26 PM »
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I liked how the swords were relegated to subweapon status so that your primary weapon could still be the whip.

Also: the castle still standing at the end. Quite a teaser. Or did I miss something by not finishing Hard mode?

Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2016, 06:15:14 PM »
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I liked how the swords were relegated to subweapon status so that your primary weapon could still be the whip.

Also: the castle still standing at the end. Quite a teaser. Or did I miss something by not finishing Hard mode?

Konami USA (the guys behind OOS) outright confirmed that it meant that Desmond hadn't slain Dracula, but as to whether it was a double like Gilles de Rais had been or just that Desmond's power/skill couldn't cut it remains ambiguous.

Of course, it was also Rohan Krause's castle, not Castlevania proper. That may also be it. The fact that it was a more conventional stone and mortar structure and not some hotspot of mystical convergence could easily explain why Dracula's defeat didn't phase it even slightly. After all, Christopher Belmont failed to kill Dracula the first time as well, and the Castle crumbled despite Dracula not actually being killed.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2016, 06:39:34 PM »
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Konami USA (the guys behind OOS) outright confirmed that it meant that Desmond hadn't slain Dracula, but as to whether it was a double like Gilles de Rais had been or just that Desmond's power/skill couldn't cut it remains ambiguous.

Of course, it was also Rohan Krause's castle, not Castlevania proper. That may also be it. The fact that it was a more conventional stone and mortar structure and not some hotspot of mystical convergence could easily explain why Dracula's defeat didn't phase it even slightly. After all, Christopher Belmont failed to kill Dracula the first time as well, and the Castle crumbled despite Dracula not actually being killed.

If this is the case and it's not Dracula's Castle why do you think there's a stone statue of Simon in the Marble Gallery boss room? Seems oddly specific right.
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Offline theplottwist

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2016, 09:06:47 PM »
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Of course, it was also Rohan Krause's castle, not Castlevania proper. That may also be it. The fact that it was a more conventional stone and mortar structure and not some hotspot of mystical convergence could easily explain why Dracula's defeat didn't phase it even slightly. After all, Christopher Belmont failed to kill Dracula the first time as well, and the Castle crumbled despite Dracula not actually being killed.

Dracula is fought on Dracula's Castle, though. And the ending specifies that the castle hasn't crumbled and "what mysterious force could be behind it if not Dracula?"

If this is the case and it's not Dracula's Castle why do you think there's a stone statue of Simon in the Marble Gallery boss room? Seems oddly specific right.

In fact I find the opposite really strange. Dracula is not one to keep statues of his foes on his castle. Wasn't this statue inside the Order's hideout?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2016, 09:23:36 PM by theplottwist »
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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2016, 11:18:53 PM »
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Dracula is fought on Dracula's Castle, though. And the ending specifies that the castle hasn't crumbled and "what mysterious force could be behind it if not Dracula?"
Yep. I'm telling you this game leads into LOD>64

In fact I find the opposite really strange. Dracula is not one to keep statues of his foes on his castle. Wasn't this statue inside the Order's hideout?
It's inside the Medusa Boss room. I thought it was the marble gallery stage? At first I thought "what if this is an alternate sequence of events where HC Simon never makes it because he got frozen by Medusa. But then again the Belmont bloodline still exists, so somewhere along the line someone put up a statue in honour(?) or remembrance of Simon Belmont (HC).
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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2016, 12:33:30 AM »
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Also, it's heavily implied by the placing of the game in chronology (nothing more is given than "late 1600's") that Simon is Desmond's father (or uncle).

If Simon *is* Desmond's father, then holy crap there is an alternate canon where Rohan Krause KILLED SIMON BELMONT, TURNED HIM TO STONE, AND PUT HIM UP ON DISPLAY.

Those are some badass implications for an otherwise minor villain.

I imagine Konami, if pressed for an answer, would weasel out and say that Simon was just an uncle of Desmond though.

But Juste is Simon's grandson, and while this game's events are non-canon... perhaps Juste's canon father was named Desmond Belmont.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2016, 12:35:55 AM »
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Quote
It's inside the Medusa Boss room. I thought it was the marble gallery stage? At first I thought "what if this is an alternate sequence of events where HC Simon never makes it because he got frozen by Medusa.

Except that Belmont blood apparently negates the effect of petrification. Medusa in LoI states this after her first attempt to turn Leon into part of her growing collection of statuary.
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Offline coinilius

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 01:12:26 AM »
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Also, it's heavily implied by the placing of the game in chronology (nothing more is given than "late 1600's") that Simon is Desmond's father (or uncle).

If Simon *is* Desmond's father, then holy crap there is an alternate canon where Rohan Krause KILLED SIMON BELMONT, TURNED HIM TO STONE, AND PUT HIM UP ON DISPLAY.

Those are some badass implications for an otherwise minor villain.

I imagine Konami, if pressed for an answer, would weasel out and say that Simon was just an uncle of Desmond though.

But Juste is Simon's grandson, and while this game's events are non-canon... perhaps Juste's canon father was named Desmond Belmont.

Actually, if you don't go got alternate timelines and split timelines, it is heavily implied that Desmond is Simon's father, not the other way around.  If we assume that timeline implications of the game are only connected to the canon games and dates given, then Castlevania takes place in 1691 and Simon's Quest in 1698.  You can't get any later in the 1600's for OoS's to occur in, so it would have to take place before Simon's era. 

The assumption that it takes place following Haunted Castle and that Haunted Castle took place in a different time period to the original Castlevania seems... hard to accept as developer intent, IMO.  I've got nothing against creating theories which move the dates around on alternate versions of games and places them in different timelines (I'm a Zelda timeline theorist from way back, so have made my fair share of split timeline theories and unusual game placements), but thinking about it purely from the perspective of 'what do I think the designers had in mind when they made this game' then I think a pre-Simon Belmont placement would be more the way to go.

Also, the Medusa boss in OoS's also lives in a sort of nest underground.

Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2016, 01:31:10 AM »
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Actually, if you don't go got alternate timelines and split timelines, it is heavily implied that Desmond is Simon's father, not the other way around.  If we assume that timeline implications of the game are only connected to the canon games and dates given, then Castlevania takes place in 1691 and Simon's Quest in 1698.  You can't get any later in the 1600's for OoS's to occur in, so it would have to take place before Simon's era. 

The assumption that it takes place following Haunted Castle and that Haunted Castle took place in a different time period to the original Castlevania seems... hard to accept as developer intent, IMO.  I've got nothing against creating theories which move the dates around on alternate versions of games and places them in different timelines (I'm a Zelda timeline theorist from way back, so have made my fair share of split timeline theories and unusual game placements), but thinking about it purely from the perspective of 'what do I think the designers had in mind when they made this game' then I think a pre-Simon Belmont placement would be more the way to go.

Also, the Medusa boss in OoS's also lives in a sort of nest underground.

I could see Desmond as having been born before Simon left on his first journey to fight Dracula -- in fact it makes a lot of logical sense to have a son born and trained before dad left on a trip from which he may not return at all; i.e; as soon as possible. Simon was probably being pressured to wed and bed a suitable girl as soon as his stones dropped, especially given the life expectancies and culture of the time coupled with the high risk of the Belmont lifestyle.

I'd probably figure Desmond was born 16-18 years before Castlevania 1 by that logic, given that he seems to be anywhere from a teen to a young man by the time Shadows takes place.

I suppose it's not impossible that he's Simon's dad, but it seems a touch unlikely in my eyes.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

Offline coinilius

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2016, 01:41:27 AM »
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Yes but that means that OoS's has to occur in 1699, the year after Simon's Quest, for it to be able to still take place in the late 1600's.  Plus there are Desmond's sisters to consider as well, and the fact that Rohan Krause says that it is 'nearly 20 years later and I encounter yet another Belmont' - he killed Desmond's father around the time that Desmond was born, which, again, Simon can't die until after Simon's Quest - 20 years after at least 1698 is 1718, not the late 1600's by any stretch.

There is a complete play through video of OoS on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0XLdHfArD8

Around the 26 minute mark is where the exchange between Desmond and Rohan takes place which establishes that he killed Desmond's father nearly 20 years prior to the events of OoS.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 01:57:12 AM by coinilius »

Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2016, 02:03:53 AM »
0
There is a problem also with the "HC Simon failing"-theory (if he died to Medusa) and that is that his whip is also petrified and therefore could not be passed down to a successor. So HC Simon has to have happened first due to the statue.

The other possibility is that there are 2 Simon's in Desmond's timeline; HC Simon=his ancestor, SCIV Simon=his descendant.

Since SCIV and COTM are the most distanced games timeline wise I've given their own timeline, though I have left provision for them to potentially be worked into HC>>OOS' timeline.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<[Judgement]>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                              
                **<<<<<SuperCVIV>COTM<<<<<<<<+
                                 ^      l   v  ^    v                 ^
                                 ^      l   v  ^    +<<<<<<<BE
                                 ^      l   v  ^    v                 ^  
                                 ^      l   v  ^    v     BE>>> VK<**   
                                 ^      l   v  ^    v     ^          ^   
            +<<<<<Legends>HC>OOS>LOD>64       ^
            v                           l              ^                ^
            v                           l     BE>> * <<<BE    RE
            v                           l      ^               ^       ^
LOI>CVIII>COD>AR>BR>CVC>CVII>HOD>ROB>SOTN>OOE>BL>POR>AOS>DOS>>>KD
                                                                          v
                                                                         BE>*  
BE=Bad Ending
RE=Richter Ending

Offline theplottwist

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Re: Finally gonna give Order of Shadows its freaking dues
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2016, 02:21:05 AM »
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It's inside the Medusa Boss room. I thought it was the marble gallery stage? At first I thought "what if this is an alternate sequence of events where HC Simon never makes it because he got frozen by Medusa. But then again the Belmont bloodline still exists, so somewhere along the line someone put up a statue in honour(?) or remembrance of Simon Belmont (HC).

So I went back to check. The place where the statue is found is inside the Order's Mansion, and not Dracula's Castle. Dracula's Castle is the very last stage.

Quote
Yes but that means that OoS's has to occur in 1699, the year after Simon's Quest, for it to be able to still take place in the late 1600's.  Plus there are Desmond's sisters to consider as well, and the fact that Rohan Krause says that it is 'nearly 20 years later and I encounter yet another Belmont' - he killed Desmond's father around the time that Desmond was born, which, again, Simon can't die until after Simon's Quest - 20 years after at least 1698 is 1718, not the late 1600's by any stretch.

This is the main issue with this game. It's almost impossible to place together in a timeline since it pretty much contradicts everything, dates-wise.

Haunted Castle takes place in 1691. OoS has up until 1699 to happen. THEN Krause says it's been 20 years since he last saw a Belmont.

This can't be HC Simon. We have to either drop the HC Simon statue for this to work, or place HC 20 years back, which contradicts the date.

The ONLY way I can see this working is if who Krause killed wasn't Simon at all, but another Belmont who fathered Desmond BEFORE Haunted Castle happened. Then HC Simon dies without the whip, and Desmond inherited it for whatever reason.

How can he be a main bloodline Belmont in the scenario above, however, is too much for my brain to explain xD
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 02:33:17 AM by theplottwist »
The mastermind behind the "Umbra of Sorrow" project. But not the only one.

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