Author [EN] [PL] [ES] [PT] [IT] [DE] [FR] [NL] [TR] [SR] [AR] [RU] [ID] Topic: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion  (Read 5339 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ayalaskin

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Only at the Castle Gate...
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1/SS)
  • Likes:
Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« on: September 12, 2012, 06:56:11 AM »
0
Hello.

I have a question:
What makes the castlevania combat and gameplay feel the way it is?

Why I have this question?
I'm making a metroidvania game from the scratch using my own engine that I coded, and now I'm coding the combat and the skills of the character, and I wanted to discuss about the Castlevania combat gameplay, specialy the SoTN and also the Aria of Sorrow and Circle of the Moon combat.

I know there is huge fans of castlevania here which are very attentive to some details and minutiae that make the series be the succes it is, and I will be very glad if some guys can help me dissect the genre and see what made the gameplay feels so great and impactful.

Also, I don't know if this is the currect place to post this.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 07:23:07 AM by Ayalaskin »

Offline Ayalaskin

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Only at the Castle Gate...
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1/SS)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 07:00:19 AM »
0
I will compile some information here:

1) When you hit a monster in castlevania in most cases 4 things happens, the monster flashes, a sprite is shown (something like a X) in the place where you have hit, and also, in some cases a sprite with some sort of effect is also show (like blood or a explosion), and also a sound is played.

This 4 things that happens creates a sense of being powerful, a good combat feel.

2) When you get hit by a monster your character enter in a 'pain' state, which can be different based on what has hit you.
If you walk across a monster, this pain state is very short, but when you get hit by a projectile, your character generaly is thrown back and the pain state duration is big.

3) There is some kinds of monster:
Paper: they are like the zombies that emerges from the ground, these kind of monster are killed super fast, with like 1 or 2 hits.
Annoying: They generally fly, or dance, or do some sort of unexpected movement.
Trick/Hard: They are like those giants tha throws you a ball attached with a chain, they are slow, they have much life, and do lots of damages.
Shooters: They're like the skeletal archers, and some of them don't even move, like the skeleton head that is always attached to some sort of wall or floor.

4) The game has very limited heal mechanics and the save points (which restores HP) are a few in the map, so, at the same time you can afford to take some hits, you have to be careful to not take damage for nothing, you never know how far is the next save point.

5) The powers and skills that are good, generally comes to complement the main melee attack, the powers that compete with the normal attack usually don't worth using because the damage does not make that difference, what makes difference and makes a power appealing its the area of the effect, the utility and the speed. For example, the Soul Steal in SoTN is a power that is good by its utility, it can heals you, and also can hit many monster. The tetra spirit from SoTN is good by its area of effect, since it can hit 4 different monsters speeding you progress through the game. The knife you can throw is another good power because it is fast and it can reach monster that are far away. So the powers are not about the damage, they are about making you progress faster, and to kill things that are hard to hit with normal melee attack.

6) The breakables like torches that can drops small things are very important, since you will be walking again and again in the same scenarios for many times, it distracts you a bit and proposes something to interact and because you have to jump and attack, it makes less boring the patterns that the rooms have. If you have just a empty room, you just walk straight to right, but if you have an empty room with a breakable candle, you have to walk to right then jump attack then walk right again. This combined with some platforms can create a better feeling about the game, and it also rewards you for doing so.

7) Ducking is a considerable feature, it adds a simple depth to the combat. You now have more than one option to react for the same situation, like when a projectile is shoot in line at you (you can jump or duck). You also became more flexible in the combat and when it comes to practice, making different moves and reacting in different forms makes the players feels rewarded in the sense "I'm a better player, I can do that sort of cool moves, I can dodge many things".
It adds too a new attacking strategy, you can duck at the foot of a shooter monster, and attack it, otherwise you would have to jump its attack then when you land you would perform a normal attack. So, ducking is simple but it adds a new layer of moves and decisions to make while in combat.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 11:22:09 AM by Ayalaskin »

Offline Lelygax

  • The Wanderer
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 4552
  • Its useless, its all useless.
  • Awards 2017-07-Sprite Contest First Place Permanent Resident: Seems to always be around to post/reply.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 07:34:33 AM »
0
You forgot the "Shooters", like Bone Pillar and Skeleton Archer, they are sometimes protected by another monsters, combining it with annoying or "tank" monsters could be a good idea. Also the "Runners" are super fast and deal medium damage, but can be killed with 1 or 2 hits...if you manage to hit him lol

Also giving a great amount of healing items for the player isnt a good idea, because if they use it the game will be much easier, if they dont use to make the game harder for himselfs it makes this items pointless.
(click to show/hide)
Hau auu~     

Offline Ayalaskin

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Only at the Castle Gate...
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1/SS)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 07:47:22 AM »
0
I updated the shooter.
The runners you mean I think is the same as the Annoying type.
The shooters are easy to kill alone, but they generaly comes with others shooters too.

Offline Inccubus

  • Wannabe Great Old One
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 3214
  • Gender: Male
  • Warrior
  • Awards The Retro Gamer: Has a heated passion for the oldschool VG Titles. SuperOld Dungeonite: Members who have been around since the oldOLD days. Permanent Resident: Seems to always be around to post/reply.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Vampire Killer (MSX)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 08:32:39 AM »
0
Coincidentally I was thinking of starting a thread about how far you can change the basic engine of an average CV game before it doesn't feel like Castlevania anymore.

Seems to me the more you mess with the core combat the more people complain about it not 'feeling' like CV any more. So I guess you're best bet is to examine how the combat has evolved over time and find a nice cozy median.

I personally think that the over-the-top combo system in the LoS games went way too far and killed the experience for me. Sometimes less really is more. I think LoI got it right. Simple combos and a good mix of enemies of the types you've described.

That said, maybe you could try adapting the LoI system to 2D (I'm presuming your game is 2D or 2.5D) in a similar fashion to how it's being done for MoF.
"Stuff and things."

Offline Ayalaskin

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Only at the Castle Gate...
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1/SS)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 09:08:06 AM »
0
Hello Inccubus I want to ask you, what you consider the core of the game? what you think that makes it feel like CV?

One problem I see with the genre, is the powers and skills you have, since most monster die with one or two hits, the skills don't matter in most part of the cases, because is more fast and more dynamic to just normal attack than spend resources (mana or heart) to use a special ability that will do the same.
If you want to make the skills more valuable the primary thing that comes in mind is to make monster with more health, but this change may alter the feeling of a CV game.

SoTN had on 2 viable powers IMO, the tetra spirit, which can hit several 'Annoying' monster and let you go through some situations more quickly and the soul steal, which heals you.
The other powers compared to normal attacks are not interesting, the time that it takes do make the animation, the resources it cost and also the area of effect don't make them appealing to use, since they will do almost the same harm to monsters.

The main situations where the powers feels good to use are when you want to kill things from afar, and this happens when there is creatures that are running or flying, or, when you are very low on health.

(My game is 2D)

Offline X

  • Xenocide
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 8671
  • Gender: Male
  • Awards SuperOld Dungeonite: Members who have been around since the oldOLD days. The Unfazed: Never loses his/her calm, even in the most heated arguments. The Retro Gamer: Has a heated passion for the oldschool VG Titles.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 10:21:33 AM »
+1
Quote
Coincidentally I was thinking of starting a thread about how far you can change the basic engine of an average CV game before it doesn't feel like Castlevania anymore.

I felt this when playing LoS.
"Spirituality is God's gift to humanity...
Religion is Man's flawed interpretation of Spirituality given back to humanity..."

Offline Inccubus

  • Wannabe Great Old One
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 3214
  • Gender: Male
  • Warrior
  • Awards The Retro Gamer: Has a heated passion for the oldschool VG Titles. SuperOld Dungeonite: Members who have been around since the oldOLD days. Permanent Resident: Seems to always be around to post/reply.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Vampire Killer (MSX)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 11:11:53 AM »
+1
Hmmm. I'm an old-school player. My first CV game was CV1 on NES. So I'm biased to that game play style. But I'll do my best.

I think the essence of CV in the old days that set it apart from other platformers was the use of a slow, medium-range main attack in combination with the sub-weapons that provided much greater range, speed, & alternate effects. That was pretty much the essence of it up until SotN mucked things up a bit with the level up system.

CV1, VK, CV3, & CVB are my best examples of the essence of what CV should feel like.

CV1, being the original is the core I mentioned. A delayed main attack with meduim range and a bunch of interesting sub-weapons. Having destructible objects to collect items from is also pretty unique at the time of it's release.

CV2, kinda fucked everything up in it's attempt to basically be more like Metroid. This game really did away with too many of the core mechanics that made the first enjoyable. The sub-weapons being made permanently acquired items and limiting the variety of them really hurt the enjoyability of the game play. Th lack of the candles & braziers made things dull too. Not to mention the lack of a variety of enemies AIs. There are really only a handful of AIs for such a large scale game when compared with the first. Having lots of different AIs to fight is important to any Platformer.

CV3 was a great extension of the core game play of the original. All they did basically was expand the game world & add additional character with unique abilities that fit into the mold of the original core. The two most different characters being Grant & Alucard due to their alternate mobility options. Grant has wall crawling (always thought that would have been a great basis for a Spider-Man game) and Alucard has his bat transformation. These abilities are well balanced by having reasonable restrictions and would be interesting abilities to have in a Metroidvania as relic abilities.

GameBoyvanias: These are pretty much all watered down versions of the original CV core.

SCV4 is a great game, but definitely flawed in it's execution. I have to agree largely with the Sequelitis review. The whip was made way too powerful. This is the reason you've never seen the full 8-way whipping ever again. I am one of those that, while playing SCV4, never really used that sub-weapons much at all. In fact the only weapon I used was the Cross and mostly just because I liked it's physics. This is a good example of hoe to diverge from the core game play of the series rather than expanding upon it. The whip swing ability is probably the single best innovation here. The other two new abilities, whip brandishing and 'duck-walking' were additions that fell more in line with the original core game play, I think. They added something new and fun without taking away from the other elements in the game. I think if this game were remade with limited whip directions, shorter whip lengths, and a couple of additional sub-weapons it would be an even more enjoyable experience. One last thing. there seems to be this notion that the jump mechanics in SCV4 are an improvement because the old mechanics are "strange". OK. for a video game, they are strange. We're all used to being able to change directions in mid-air. I say that's kinda whiny. The old way is more true to life and is pretty much unique to CV. I say keep it that way. If you die from not thinking about where you're jumping, then suck it up and pay attention.

RoB was definitely a step in the right direction as far as keeping to the core game play of the originals. We have the same core plus some new abilities that don't detract from that core. The backflip nicely complimented the new range of enemy AIs that were added to the game. Being the first game to include the item crash it was the first time the sub-weapon system was expanded. That said, I do think it was a mistake to remove the whip power'ups & multi-shot items. I never look favorably on removing aspects of a game series for no practical purpose.

CVB is a great extension of what was done in CV3. All the basics are there, plus there are unique movement abilities for each character, there are more abilities available besides the basic attack, and there are still the unique sub-weapons available. The addition of the weapon crashes was a good carry over from RoB. The Use of limited whipping controls here was well thought out and balanced in comparison to SCV4 including the shorter whip lengths. The expanded whip swing ability was also good expansion on the previous system.

CV for X68K is a similar animal to CVB but with less new options. It took the same idea of limiting the number of directions Simon could whip in comparison to SCV4, but just with a different set of directions to accommodate the lack of whip swinging. I'd like to point out that being able to whip diagonally in mid air is one of my favorite maneuvers as it is tons of fun for taking out weak enemies in a stylish manner. The addition of the Healing Herb sub-weapon was an interesting addition to the original set. As opposed to SCV4, I think this game would have been even more enjoyable with the addition of the duck-walk, whip brandish and whip swinging. However, this would also, in essence, make SCV4 and CVC the same game with different stages.

SotN got the core down right with most of the weapons having a moderate attack rate, spells being even slower due to button combinations and sub-weapons being fast and having various effect. I think the super fast single use weapons were superfluous and the level up system pretty much breaks the core game play. I'd like to note also that if there's any character in the series that I would be ok with having a controllable jump, it's Alucard. As a half-vampire hybrid he can naturally do all kinds of other crazy shit anyway.

The rest of the Metroidvania games pretty much have the same flaws as SotN. More over, the ones with whip wielding characters also have many of the same flaws as the Classicvanias that veered off from the original core game play.

To Be Continued...
"Stuff and things."

Offline Lelygax

  • The Wanderer
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 4552
  • Its useless, its all useless.
  • Awards 2017-07-Sprite Contest First Place Permanent Resident: Seems to always be around to post/reply.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2012, 12:17:05 PM »
0
Im anxiously waiting the rest of your summary, its pretty interesting and can help much people here that need some clues. I think that maybe reducing the max level to 9, 10 or 20 could make balancing the game more easier (Im talking about the games with exploration, not the classic ones). In almost all metroidvanias with a level 40 or 50 you can easily win any battle, I never reached a lvl 99, but if we are so powerful ins lvl 50, in 99 we turn into a god lol
(click to show/hide)
Hau auu~     

Offline DoctaMario

  • Legendary Hunter
  • ****
  • Posts: 859
    • Awards
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2012, 02:41:22 PM »
+1
Interesting topic!

Right off, I have to remind everyone that the base combat engine for God Of War (and hence LoS) was originated (unless there's something I'm missing) in Lament Of Innocence. It's the same basic idea, but the GoW team took it a bit further. I think ultimately a move in the direction that LoS went was needed because, like it or not, action games have changed.

If it were me, I would have designed LoS's combat system more like that of Devil May Cry 3, maybe given Gabriel a sword for close range attacks like Reinhart had in the 64 games, and made his attacks more along the lines of Leon in LoI but with more moves. That way, not only is it more open-ended, but the game doesn't dictate how you have to play it. If you come up with a cool combo that no on else knows about it could potentially help you beat the game
More easily and make everyone's game experience different. I suppose this could be good or bad, but maybe for people less inclined towards that sort of thing there could be an auto-combo button and the number of presses would determine how far into the combo you get.

I guess my whole point is that Castlevania's combat mechanics need to evolve somewhat, and so talking about what "feels like CV" may be actually a refusal to grow with the times. I've been playing CV games since Simon's Quest and even I felt slightly relieved that LoS beefed up the combat system even if I thought it was too much like GoW's. Having a combat system that apes the older games just doesn't cut it anymore. And this is coming from someone who plays games like Rondo Of Blood and Splatterhouse regularly.

I suppose too that you have to take into account what the emphasis of your game is going to be. If exploration is the focus, then you probably don't need a super in-depth combat system and one that takes the combat system from The older games and improves upon it could work well.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 02:46:35 PM by DoctaMario »

Offline Lelygax

  • The Wanderer
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 4552
  • Its useless, its all useless.
  • Awards 2017-07-Sprite Contest First Place Permanent Resident: Seems to always be around to post/reply.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2012, 03:52:34 PM »
0
Interesting topic!

Right off, I have to remind everyone that the base combat engine for God Of War (and hence LoS) was originated (unless there's something I'm missing) in Lament Of Innocence.

Its based in Rygar to say the truth, Rygar started this and GoW used the same system, but since Rygar is a bit obscure everyone thinks that GoW is the most brilliant and original idea in the world. Im not one of them tough. I dont hate God of War, but I didnt liked it enough to finish it.

I guess my whole point is that Castlevania's combat mechanics need to evolve somewhat, and so talking about what "feels like CV" may be actually a refusal to grow with the times.

I agree with you but at the same time I disagree, sure, the mechanics need to evolve, but when the price is remove the majority of things that Castlevania have (hearts/crystals, iconic enemies and bosses, etc.) I prefer that they take a time and balance the to things. The problem nowadays is that they think that they have to follow the "rules" of other games to be "cool" (like a kid that uses sunglasses and black jacket in a school only because someone on TV uses that too) and they forgot the core of what makes we recognize the game in a glimpse. At least it seems that they will try to correct that in the next games.

If the games really needed a drastic change like that, Mario would be killing Koopa Troopas with these duct tapes that they use to repair pipes, one in each hand, shaking them like kratos. lol

For the most simple story in CV we need: A castle, a vampire, skeletons, bats, medusa heads, candles, sub-weapon and hearts/crystals. Thats not all, but is the basic of the basic, platforming, breakable walls and a belmont could be cool to, at least in my opinion.
(click to show/hide)
Hau auu~     

Offline TheCruelAngel

  • Sportin' Boxes since 1998
  • Legendary Hunter
  • ****
  • Posts: 516
  • Gender: Male
  • Awards SuperOld Dungeonite: Members who have been around since the oldOLD days.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2012, 04:10:21 PM »
0
In all honesty? Play test. Play test the HELL out of your game.

You can get all the theoretic feedback and examples from other titles or w/e to begin a base implementation, but without actual play feedback from play testing you will either be just rehashing an old system or making some monster in between thing that doesn't really work well with your title.

Of course, this means you need to design your engine (specifically player control) dynamically where it's easy to manipulate values (walk speed, max health, damage, attack speed, etc.) so that you can do lots of fast iterations to get play tested and valuable feedback. If you can, get local CV nuts to help playtest too, nothing is more valuable as a designer than watching the players figure out how to play your game, see their reactions, how they go about the stages and whatnot to determine what needs tweaking and what works.

If you can find willing individuals online, you can also have them run fraps while playing and using a webcam to record their reactions while playing. An after playtest survey is a good way to try and get metrics to gauge if your tweaks are improving or ruining the experience as well.

Remember back then the developers and designers were just going by the seats of their pants and limitations of the hardware. Go with what you feel is right first, then have it play tested and see what your audience thinks. Remember, us designers don't always know what's best (same applies to users too) so don't feel upset or downtrodden when users doesn't like one of your designs that you thought was a killer feature. You learn from it and try to improve or just scratch the idea.

Sorry this is kind of long but and doesn't really answer your question, but I also feel like it's probably the best advise you'll get. I know it was some of the best advice I received as a student and hope it helps you out. Good luck and I hope to see the development and end result of all your hard work!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 09:13:53 AM by TheCruelAngel »

Offline TheouAegis

  • Amateur Auteur of GMvania
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 1825
  • Gender: Male
  • Awards The Retro Gamer: Has a heated passion for the oldschool VG Titles. The Great Defender will always defend the object of his or her fandom. Hack Master makes creations out of CV parts. (S)he makes Dr. Frankenstein proud.
    • GMvania Developer's Blog
    • Awards
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 06:28:13 PM »
0
My thoughts have already been addressed by others for the most part, but since this is a thread requesting any and all feedback...

SOTN ruined Castlevania. Period. The game felt like a Castlevania game until Richter beat Dracula. As soon as it switched to Alucard being the protagonist, it felt like an entirely new series to me. Oh sure, many of the same enemies were there, but it just didn't feel like Castlevania.

CASTLEVANIA IS ABOUT THE WHIP!

And fuck that evolution of action games shit. That's like saying Manic Muds or whatever that game is called for the 3DS sucks because all it does is use old DOS era game mechanics like Commander Keen or Duke Nukem. SOTN isn't Castlevania and LOS isn't Castlevania. Period. Ultimate Ghosts & Goblins was still a Ghost & Goblins game why? Because it had the series' core mechanics! You look at most modern Castelvania games, aside from the Medusa Heads and Dracula's typical patterns, they don't look anything like Castlevania. You look at UGnG, it looks like a snazzy, spiffed up version of Ghosts & Goblins. At least LOS went back to the whip. If you can't look at a game and immediately tell what series it belongs to, then you lost the mechanics.

This means CV2 was fundamentally a Castlevania game, at least superficially. Simon looked like Simon. The whip looked like the whip. The skeletons... looked like misshapen skeletons. Dracula... was a little different. The exploration and lack of bosses detracted from the core mechanics.You could look at it and tell right away that it's a Castlevania game, but once you played it it was obvious something was missing. That's where the play testing comes in. More of that was needed for CV2.

"But SOTN had the castle and some stages there were obviously part of the CV canon." When I say superficially, I don't just mean the stages or the enemies. Putting Sonic in Super Mario Bros. neither makes it a Mario game nor a Sonic game. No one except a retard would say Ehrgeiz is a Final Fantasy game since it contained Cloud, Tifa, Sephiroth, Yuffie, Vincent, Zack, and Red XIII (as Django). It's still just a Namco fighter/DreamFactory fighter.
Your mom has had more floppies put in her than a Commodore 64!


Follow my lack of progress on my game at my blog:
http://gmvania.blogspot.com

Offline beingthehero

  • Duke of New York
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 1438
  • EROTIC VIOLENCE
  • Awards SuperOld Dungeonite: Members who have been around since the oldOLD days. The Retro Gamer: Has a heated passion for the oldschool VG Titles. The Unfazed: Never loses his/her calm, even in the most heated arguments. The Pervert: Sneaks in any and all innuendo into threads that he/she can.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (NDS)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2012, 06:35:43 PM »
0
SotN ruined my marriage.

Offline Lelygax

  • The Wanderer
  • Master Hunter
  • *****
  • Posts: 4552
  • Its useless, its all useless.
  • Awards 2017-07-Sprite Contest First Place Permanent Resident: Seems to always be around to post/reply.
    • Awards
  • Favorite Game: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA)
  • Likes:
Re: Castlevania Gameplay and Combat Discussion
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2012, 06:41:45 PM »
0
No one except a retard would say Ehrgeiz is a Final Fantasy game since it contained Cloud, Tifa, Sephiroth, Yuffie, Vincent, Zack, and Red XIII (as Django). It's still just a Namco fighter/DreamFactory fighter.

What Namco as to do with Ergheiz? Its from Squaresoft isnt it? lol
(click to show/hide)
Hau auu~     

 

anything