Inverted Dungeon Updates: 2018
October 31, 2018
Launching a new section here on the site, Fanworks, collecting works of fandom from Castlevania fans (as contributed to the site). We start it with a fan-translation of Castlevania: Ricordanza of the Gods Abyss, along with a small collection of cross stitch artwork from artist Shiroi Koumori. We also have a review of the fan-game Castlevania: The Lecarde Chronicles 2, and a preview of the in-development game, Carpathian Night. Naturally, we'll also have more works coming to that section as readers recommend and/or contribute them.
I'd also been toying with adding a Metroid section to the site, especially since we'd already discussed all the classic 2D Metroidvania games in that series. I finally bit the bullet here and added the section to the menu, moving those Related Games review/discussion pages to the new Metroid area. More reviews of the other games, along with other content, will get added at some point but, obviously, there's a lot of the main sections I really need to focus on first so aside from planning the section out, I'm going to force myself not to work on it too much just yet... although I couldn't help but add in a review of the first Metroid Prime game since I loves it so. I also did put in an article for AM2R as I felt we needed to touch upon that fan-game.
With the Super Smash Bros. games including Simon and Richter in the next release, I'm debating just how many of the games I'm going to cover on this site. Obviously, Smash Bros. Ultimate will need to be addressed since it'll have the Belmonts, but considering the coverage I'm now giving to the Metroid series, I might just have to post at least reviews of all those games, if not build out a whole new section of the site devoted to the Smash Bros. games in general. I'll see how I'm feeling once I get other sections of the site more full.
Of course, the other big news in Castlevania land was the back-to-back releases of Castlevania Requiem -- a compilation of the PSP edition of Symphony and the PC Engine Rondo -- and the second season of the Castlevania anime. We, naturally, have a review of the anime up already, and we'll get some notes on the compilation game posted once we can find a copy of it to play through.
Since we need to keep working on fleshing out the main site, though, we begin that process with the Bios section, putting up new character bios for Golem, Graham Jones, Hugh Baldwin, Isaac, Matthias Cronqvist, Olrox, Ortega, Shaft, Stella and Loretta Lecarde, and Walter Bernhard. That finishes off all the characters except the big three -- Death, Dracula, and Gabriel -- which we'll tackle soon.
And finally there's a review up for Bram Stoker's original novel, Dracula. If I never have to read that book again it will be too soon, but at least I got through it once.
August 16, 2018
This will probably be the last big update for a little while as I have other projects I need to work on currently and I don't know how much time I'll have top devote any time soon. Expect a couple of three months of little to no activity before we come back with more big chunks (although, of course, that estimate could easily change in either direction depending on life).
To tide you over for the time being we begin with updates to the Related games section, starting with the original Ninja Gaiden. I seriously meant to start in with this series of games long ago, when I first started the Related Games section, but I kept forgetting to do it and then other stuff came up. Still, since we have to first game covered, let's also look at the follow up, Ninja Gaiden II
We then switch over to the Bios section where I've begun filling in the various prominent villains of the series (although I'll note up front that I'm holding off on Dracula and Death until the end, since they'll have the longest entries). Added to the page are Actrise, Barlowe, Brauner, Carmilla, Celia Fortner, Dario Bossi, Dmitri Blinov, Elizabeth Bartley, Galamoth, and Gilles de Rais.
Also continued on through the Universal Monsters flicks, trying to finish out all the old films in the series. We have coverage up of The Wolf Man to start and following it up with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, and House of Dracula, finishing up the run of Universal horror (at least the ones that apply to this site, anyway). We then switch over to the horror/comedy hybrids with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
And on the topic of horror/comedy hybrids, I also have up a review for the decidedly non-Universal monster, WolfCop. It's an awesomely awful movie I highly recommend everyone watch it. And yes, I put it in the Wolf Man section of the Flicks page (and not just under random movies) because this is very much a movie about a cop that's also a wolf, and not a cop that turns into a full blow werewolf. It's a thin distinction, sure, but this is my site and I can make those kinds of calls. You can also find it's sequel, Another WolfCop there as well.
Less funny, or great, or anything worthwhile, is The Howling V which I watched months ago and then promptly forgot I watched it. Man, this series just kept getting worse and worse. I know I tried to watch the sixth one and it was so bad I had to stop it half way. I may not be able to finish out this series like I wanted. I'll probably just switch over to the Fright Nights, of which we have a review of the 2011 re-imagining.
I will also note that eventually we'll have more in the Literature section than just a review of a terrible Lost Boys comic no one cares about. I've been reading the original Bram Stoker's Dracula novel and will eventually review it. It's just... damn, that book is so boring. Why do people like it so much? Ah well, one day...
June 23, 2018
We were going begin this update round with the Flicks section, but then the Bloodstained mini-game came out, and suddenly that had to be our focus. Having played through the retro-style prequel, we have a review up for it in the new Bloodstained section, along with Chronology for the game, and bios for the four playable characters: Zangetsu, Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel. When the next game comes up (presumably later this year) we'll flesh out the new section further and round out all the articles there.
Now here's hoping Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night does well when it comes out and we get more games in the series so that this new section eventually doesn't feel quite so empty.
After launching the new section, it also occurred to use that maybe we should give that same level of detail to the Lords of Shadow sub-series, so we spun out a new section compiling all the articles we have so far -- if you're a fan of those games, we have a one-stop-shop for you. It also reminds us that we really need to get off our asses and finish playing those games so we can write the rest of the needed articles for them.
We did return to the Flicks section with our continuing deep-dive of the Universal monsters. Reviews have been added for Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Werewolf of London, and She-wolf of London. And while it isn't Universal horror, we did discover that was had a copy of Vampyr on our shelves, a classic interpretation of Carmilla, so a review of that has been added as well. We then bounced back to Frankenstein for a modern (but not really great) update of the story, Victor Frankenstein.
To note, we also tried to watch a recent, low-budget crossover flick, Frankenstein vs. the Mummy. However, that movie was really, truly terrible. We just couldn't get through it and had to turn it off. It now gets to go on our (unofficial) list of movies we will never watch again to review for this site, a list that includes Blackenstein, I, Frankenstein and Razor Blade Smile. Congrats, Frankenstein vs. the Mummy.
Work continues on the Bios section, with information posted about Desmond Belmont, Shanoa, Albus, Aeon, and Getsu Fuma. That means we've actually finished the bio for all the playable heroes (and then some) in the main Castlevania series (although we are saving Gabriel for later). Next step is to go through the various key villains I already have listed on the Bios page before looping back to handle Gabriel and, finally, Dracula.
This update marks the first update, also, on the Arsenal section. We start with the Vampire Killer (and Other Whips), which is, of course, the most prevalent weapon in the entire series.
We did also finally get a chance to finish up our tour of The Mummy Demastered which allowed us to finally get that game added to our Related section. I meant to have that entry put up long ago, but damn if the Mummy game isn't super long and very difficult. It took me a while just to get through it.
We want to mention that our review site/blog, Asteroid G has been resurrected, so if you're in the mood to read about non-monster movies, as well as random thoughts and musings from the editors, we invite you to go check it out.
Also, we'd like to point out that the Evil Dead musical review we had posted here has moved over to Asteroid G. That site is a much better home for the review. It originally came from that site back before Asteroid G was shut down. Since we've relaunched that site, though, it seemed fitting to move it back over. Besides, thee Evil Dead movies were never really a good fit for the content of this site, so better to push it back to its original home.
And, of course, we continue to clean up little errors and typos as we find them.
May 5, 2018
First off, we've added a new section to the ICVD menu: Castlevania 101. This is a page designed for anyone new to the Castlevania franchise and gives them a taste of what the series is all about. We're sure most of you won't need this page, but it's good to get new potential fans on the same page with the rest of us.
We also put up the new Literature section which has a listing of the various books we plan to cover on the site. It also has the review of Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs, which we already had posted in the Flicks section, but we've moved it over to Literature since it fits better there (and this may be the first and last time that comic is ever called "Literature"). We have purchased copies of Dracula and Frankenstein, so we will eventually get through those books (no matter how boring we may find them to be).
We're continuing onwards with the biographies, working to get through as many of them as we can. To that end, we've uploaded bios for Leon Belmont, Joachim Armster, Pumpkin, Victor Belmont, Yoko Belnades, Hector, Johnathan Morris, and Charlotte Aulin, catching us up all the way through the Xbox/PS2 era and putting a good dent on the DS. The trawl through the bios also lead us to notice a serious trend of fridging female characters in the series, so we felt compelled to comment upon it.
While not working on bios, we've also been going through and adding articles to the Related Games section. Specifically, we've been working on putting up information about the progenitor of the whole Metroidvania genre, the Metroid games. We have articles up so far for Metroid, Metroid II: Return of Samus, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, and Metroid: Zero Mission. Now I really need to play Metroid: Samus Returns which, since it shares the same developers with Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate, I really need to play that one first... so guess it's time to get into the Lords of Shadow games. Finally.
Oh, and we also threw in an article for Mega Man Network Transmission, an odd-ball entry to the Metroidvania genre.
In other sections of the site, we finally have gotten around to going through the old Universal Dracula films, starting off with the original movie that kicked off the set. It took so long to do this just because we really are not fans of the 1931 Dracula. It's such a slog. Thankfully the second film, Dracula's Daughter, is a much better (although not perfect) film. Plus we mustn't forget the Spanish-language alternate version, Dràcula, which is the best vampire movie of the three. But then I had to go and screw up a good thing and watch the fourth film (and third in the main cycle), Son of Dracula. Wow, do I regret that decision. It's so boring.
With the individual Universal Dracula movies have reviewed, we switched gears and started in on the Universal Frankenstein movies, burning through the 1931 original and its sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein (the first of which is great while the follow-up is tragically less so). We're gonna go through and watch the all the individual monster first before diving into their shared-universe films, so expect a few more Frankie and Wolf Man flicks before we get into the cross-overs. We wanna do this all up right and proper.
Speaking of Universal and shared universes, we also put up a little article explaining the Dark Universe the studio's attempt to kick-start a Cinematic Monster Universe. Lord only knows if that will ever really take off or if it's back to the drawing board for them.
Going through the site for touch ups, we did finally post up the titles of the various Castlevania pachislot/pachinko games. We're never expecting to actually play these games as they are (a) Japan-exclusive and (b) barely video games at all (so not really something we feel we need to discuss as anything more than a curiosity). That said, if we ever stumble upon them one day we'll give them a whirl and eventually post real articles about them (but I wouldn't hold my breath expecting that to happen).
We also noticed that while we had a review up for Wai Wai World 2, we never posted a series page for it. That has been corrected, and Wai Wai World 2 is properly represented now.
Of course, we've also gone through and continued to tweak content to try and cross link everything we can and correct any typos or other errors we find.
I'm pretty sure this is the biggest update ICVD has had since we relaunched with ReBirth.
April 19, 2018
First update of the year. We realize it's been a little while, but we always have so many irons in the fire, sometimes projects have to get back-burnered. Still, we haven't forgotten about this site, so let's get to the updates.
Firstly, we had some minor updates to perform: bug-fixes for the mobile layouts, a few missed graphics here and there on some of the new articles, and just did a bit of a cleanup over all.
Reviewing over the site, we added in some information on the new Netflix Castlevania series to the cast bios for Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, and Alucard. We similarly also revised the Chronology pages for 1450 AD (also correcting some continuity issues we had in this article) and 1476 AD to make reference to the show's depiction of these events.
Speaking of boring movies, we also put up a review of The Howling which we hoped would be trashy fun and, instead, was neither fun nor trashy enough. The series is really just bad all around, as proven by the first few of it's sequels: II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, III: The Marsupials, and IV: Original Nightmare. We're just stuck on narrative momentum and have to finish this out at this point.
While we're talking about movies, we want to mention how we're going to focus that section in the future. Obviously we've already setup sections devoted to the big bads of the Castlevania series (Dracula, Carmilla, Frankie, Mummy, et al), but we've also put up an additional section to various monsters movies. While that allows us to pretty much review anything we want, we're going to keep it focused on the monsters directly related to creatures that show up in the game series (so while we may watch the Phantom of the Opera films we likely won't review them for this site as 'ol maskface doesn't make an appearance in Dracula's Castle). We also want to put the focus on the major monsters -- that means that we won't spend a lot of time on lesser enemies. Zombie films, for instance, won't get much attention beyond the big titles (by Romero) and a few related offshoots (Evil Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and some remakes).
Seriously, we could spend forever watching and reviewing anything in the horror genre, but this is a Castlevania site so the emphasis should remain on that series and not our own personal need to watch every scary movie ever. If it doesn't have vampires, werewolves, abominations of science (a la Frankenstein), and mummified freaks, we likely won't review it for this site (unless people really beg us to).
Of course, it would be remiss of us to not mention the new Castlevania game just recently announced, Grimoire of Souls. Sadly, not a whole hell of a lot is known about it just yet (especially if, like us, you can't read Japanese), but we have a page up with what little we do know, and we'll get more info up as it becomes available.
Finally, we filled in a few small gaps, adding a new bio for Hanz Belmont and updating the bios for Richter Belmont and Maria Renard to reflect what was to be their roles in Castlevania: The Bloodletting. We then added in Kokoro Belmont, creating a page for her game, Otomedius Excellent, and fixing up the page for Julius Belmont to reflect this added info.
Now, let's see how long it is before we make another update to this site...