San Diego Comic Con 2007: Konami booth tour Feature - The Next Level

San Diego Comic Con 2007: Konami booth tour

Contra 4, Castlevania X, and the origins of Silent Hill.

Article by Edward Boyke (Email)
August 1st 2007, 12:43PM

All in all, Dracula X Chronicles is looking like a fantastic remake. Fans who didn't import or emulate the game will get a chance to play a version that may turn out to be even better than the real thing. And if it isn't, the original game is supposedly a bonus unlockable. Even as a big fan of the post-Symphony of the Night Metroidvanias, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this return to the earlier, more "hardcore" form of the franchise. A must-buy for any PSP owner or Castlevania aficionado.

Silent Hill Origins

Traditional survival horror games generally don't play too well at crowded trade shows, and that goes double for handheld survival horror. It's too loud and bright to appreciate the creepy atmosphere the game is trying to create, and pausing to read puzzle clues and examine points of interest seems to take forever with other attendees breathing down your neck. So if Silent Hill Origins was a bit dull in the brief time I spent with it, it doesn't necessarily mean it will be the same experience outside of a convention hall.

The demo took place in a deserted school, much like the one early on in the original PlayStation game. I guided main character Travis O'Grady, a burly trucker type, around the campus grounds as I peered through lockers and desks in the eerie quiet. The gameplay mainly consisted of collecting items and puzzle hints, and I actually never encountered an enemy during my hands-on. Graphics are about "PS 1.5" quality, looking very much like those of the first game, but with better textures and lighting, and a bit higher polygon count. You have a map screen and inventory as in the first game as well.

Though this series prequel isn't developed by Konami themselves (Los Angeles-based Climax Studios is doing the honors), the technical values are very high and consistent with what you'd expect from the franchise. It looks and plays much like the first game, which is what I think they were going for. Though the demo was honestly rather boring for me at the time, this game should have promise when experienced at home. I'm a fan of the first two games and am still looking forward to it.

All in all, Konami is shaping up to be the MVP of the portable game scene this year. Good things come in small packages when you have three entries as strong as these in long-running fan favorite franchises.

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