Inverted Dungeon Updates: 2020
December 31, 2020
And we have one last update to close out the year. This is a bit of a hodge-podge as we continue filling in various sections that need content. We start with an entry (finally) in the Arsenal, and area I've been ignoring, admittedly, to work on other sections of the site. We now have a discussion up about (melee) knives, for all you people out there that like to go "poke".
Meanwhile, two more enemy bios have been added to that section: the fantabulous rock-star/murderer Blackmore, and the giant crab literally named "giant crab", Brachyura. Of note, Order of Ecclesia really had an odd selection of monsters.
Finally, although I have other sections on the site I do need to finish out (something for us to tackle in 2021), I've been itching to finally open up another section of the site: the return of the Locations. Fans of the site will remember the old "Guidebook" entries that acted like "Romania on $5 a Day" entries for a travel guide. We have a bit of that in this new section, along with legitimate discussions on the areas, and we kick it off with the Villa. Entries in this section will come slowly over time (I really do need to finish a couple of areas first), but this at least highlights my plans for the area.
And with that we finish out a very successful 2020 for this site. We added easily over 150 new articles for the site, updated a bunch more, and generally improve the quality of everything on display. I'm going to continue to try and do weekly updates for this site, with the goal of finishing out the Series, Reviews, and Related Games sections of the site by this time next year. So here's to 2021 and may it be better for the world than 2020!
December 20, 2020
This week we tackle a Related Games side adventure, the Ghosts 'n Goblins spin-off Gargoyle's Quest. Honestly considering how punishingly hard the main games are, I felt this hand-held adventure was pretty fair, and rather fun, albeit a little short.
Meanwhile, we have more for the Bios section, as there are plenty more monsters left to tackle over the course of the entire series. This week we cover a goddess, Astarte, and a fallen god/demon prince, Beelzebub.
December 13, 2020
We start off this weekend update with a duo of boss bios. We cover the demon-lord Adrammelech, who appeared as a boss in one game in the series, and then the insect-queen Arthroverta, who got their start as a minor enemy in a couple of Game Boy titles before expanding into a boss in the late era of the series.
And then we cover another classic NES title, the demon-fighting oddity Holy Diver. This is an interesting game, in the history of the NES, but also one of the most frustrating action titles I've ever had to suffer through.
December 3, 2020
We begin today with a pair of fan games. The first Castlevania: Yuutsuki no Minuet, is another hack of Aria of Sorrow, this time trying to posit the adventure in an inverted castle. It's also pretty hard (maybe kaizo hard) by the end of it and, really, isn't the best hack around. But it does feature some interesting ideas I really did like.
This is joined by the fun little arcade-style title, Vampire's Bit. This one has more in common with Pac-Man than Castlevania, but there's still a core idea here I really like. It's still in beta, and may never escape that status, but for what it is I like the game and I hope a more complete version (with just a little re-balancing) eventually comes out.
November 26, 2020
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving for all the fans of this site living in the U.S. While it's a holiday here, this site is still updating, and we begin with a new entry in the Related Games section, Dead Cells, a Metroidvania from a couple of years that I finally got around to playing. It's a solid game, if very hard, which might just appeal to a certain kind of gamer.
Over in the Fanworks section, we have our first article about a rom-hack, the "Master Quest"-style adventure Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Alter. While I don't play many rom-hacks, I really enjoyed my time with this game. Honestly, a hack this good ruins my expectations for any other hack I'll play in the future.
Finally, we add coverage for DSVania Randomizer, probably one of the most robust and fully featured randomizers we've yet seen. The fact that it works for all three DS games in the series is just icing on the cake.
November 19, 2020
We start this week with a big get for the site: an interview with the lead developers at Migami Games discussing their new title, Wallachia: Reign of Dracula. Check it out and, as soon as the physical copy for the game is in our hands, we'll have a review of that title up as well.
Speaking of Related Games, we've added coverage of another of Konami's NES adventure titles, 1987's The Goonies II. This is an interesting title that really pushed the exploration genre. While not my personal favorite entry from the canon, it is still a solid title that many gamers continue to enjoy even now.
We also have coverage of Rygar for the NES. While the arcade editions of the game functioned like infinite brawlers, with your dude running from one end of the level to the other killing anything that go in his way, the NES edition added on exploration aspects that turn the game into something closer to Castlevania-meets-Contra. It's interesting.
November 12, 2020
Taking the week off from updates as I'm attending and working at SpeedGaming Live 2020. You can check out the events, and so much more, from their official website.
November 5, 2020
We're back with another fan-game review, although I actually consider this just the first part of an eventual two-part review (if I can ever find a more complete version of the game to play). We're taking a look at Castlevania Dracula LCD Chronicles DX, a loving tribute to the old Tiger games from way back, but right now I've only been able to find a version of just the LCD games. There's a more complete version out there, somewhere, and if I can ever track down that game (supposedly it really exists) I'll give it a try as well. Still, why anyone would want to make a loving tribute to the LCD games is beyond me.
The bigger news comes from the Reviews section where, finally, I've posted my look at Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. I'll be honest: I really don't like this game. I played it out so I could review it, but frankly this is one of the worst entries in the series. It's not fun, and more than anything else that's the point of a video game. At least I don't have to play it ever again... I'll just have to get through its expansion. Ugh.
October 30, 2020
We finish out this dedicated week of Castlevania updates with one more fan-game. This time, though, we're taking a look at what might have been with coverage of the canceled Castlevania Chronicles: Dracula's Curse project. It's a gorgeous demo (if you can get it work work, mind you, as the game requires specific C++ stuff installed on your computer) but far from complete, which makes all the work that went into it even more sad.
Meanwhile, we have another monster movie to entertain you this Halloween: Dawn of the Dead (2004). This is a movie I enjoy and hate at the same time as the acting is great but the direction is awful. It was a hit, but I can also see why people don't talk about this film much anymore.
October 29, 2020
It's nice finally giving some love over to the Fanworks section. It has been ignored for a while, but this week we've been putting in the effort on it. That's also my way of saying we have another fan-game review for Castlevania: Kyuketsuki no Kirachimu, which is a fun retro-looking game that finds it ow strange, over-the-top, arcade style to build from.
Meanwhile, there's another monster movie review to add to the pile, this time for The Vampire Doll, the first of a trilogy of Toho-produced vampire films. This isn't the kind of movie I'd expect from the Godzilla guys, but it was surprisingly good. Good enough, in fact, that I'm looking forward to the next entries in this unofficial series.
October 28, 2020
Continuing our dive through fan-games during this Halloween week, we have a review for the pretty well designed Castlevania: Hell's Lullaby. I actually rather likes this title, a game that goes for solid (if basic) retro game play without trying to be too much or get too ambitious. Sometimes it good to stick to the basics and show how well you can do them.
And then, along with that we have another monster movie review, this time for the 2001 Wolf Girl. This one is an arthouse-style film that tried to be something more than a gory monster film and simply fails on all counts. It's really bad.
October 27, 2020
Day two of Halloween week and we get another entry for the Fanworks section: a review of Haunted Castle III: Trevor's Quest. This is a much improved game over its predecessor, a game that's actually worth playing and one I'd recommend for anyone looking for a bit of a fan-game fix to sate their Castlevania needs.
Elsewhere, we add another article to the Horror Cinema section with a look at the 1997 sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris. I liked this film when it came out but I have to admit that it really doesn't hold up after all these years.
October 26, 2020
It's the week of Halloween, and since Castlevania is all about Monsters and Mayhem I feel like we have to do a lot of updates this week to celebrate. To start, then, we visit the Fanworks section with a review of a pretty old fan-game, Haunted Castle II. It's not great but it's interesting to see it from the perspective of where game make Migami would eventually go with his own works.
We follow this with another fan game, one that I honestly forgot existed for years largely because the original creator, Sprite, fell off the face of the planet. The game, Vampire, is a fun little freeware creation that managed to perfectly capture the look and feel of the classic series (even if it may have cranked the difficulty up to 11 in the process). Having finally tracked down a copy of the game after all these years, it was finally time to add this game into the fanworks archive.
October 22, 2020
Another week, another batch of Castlevania gambling machines. This week we tackle the tangentially related Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle, the outside-developed, officially licensed CR Pachinko Akumajo Dracula, and then the made-by-Konami Pachislot Akumajo Dracula: Lords of Shadow. After this we just have the four more recent Pachislot games and then we'll have full coverage of all the Konami Castlevania gambling machines.
We then bounce over to the Bios section which has been added to again after I went through the various gambling machines and found a new selection of additional characters to add. This unlocks the bios for three more helpers: Angela, Felicia, and Victoria Florescu. Plus, I was reminded that two canceled characters hadn't made our list yet: Coller and his female foe, Coller2.
The biggest update, though, is a review of Castlevania: The Arcade which I finally got a chance to experience. It's a weird game, for sure, as I would never have thought to mash Castlevania against a light-gun shooter, but it works in its own odd way. Along with that review I also updated the series page for the title.
October 15, 2020
We start things off this week with another batch of Castlevania gambling machines with coverage of Akumajo Dracula: The Medal along side Pachislot Akumajo Dracula, Pachislot Akumajo Dracula II, Pachislot Akumajo Dracula III. These were Japan-only pachinko parlor games unlike to ever make their way over to the U.S. so while we have basic coverage of the games I wouldn't expect reviews for them any time soon, sadly.
and then, following that, we have coverage of the new Parodius game in the series: a series page and review of Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius. I honestly wasn't impressed by the game, which feels too much like a retread of the previous title. But hey, there's only one more of these to go (that tie into Castlevania, at least) so maybe Konami will nail it on their next attempt.
October 8, 2020
As we continue to fill in gaps in our coverage of Konami's Castlevania-related games, we have up a review (and series page) for Gokujo Parodius. This was actually a really fun little shoot-em-up and I'm sad it's taken me this long to finally play that game.
We're also finally getting around to supplying coverage of the various gambling machines Konami has made (since those are a big part of their release library now). Although we can't review these Japan-exclusive titles (at least not until we manage to find a rare collection of them in the West), we are supply informative pages about the machines, and we start with Wai Wai Bingo, Piccadilly Circus: Konami Wai Wai World, Wai Wai Jockey, and Wai Wai Poker. This actually covers the early era of Konami gambling machines, right up until the late 2000s when they went whole-hog on Castlevania-themed medal/pachislot titles.
Over in the Related Games section, we have coverage of two titles: the Metroidvania precursor The Legend of Zelda and Konami's own first steps into the genre, The Goonies. Neither game is a true Metroidvania, for various reasons, but they both show where that genre was soon headed and how it came together.
Finally, Netflix just released the fun horror-comedy kid-adventure Blaxploitation film Vampires vs. the Bronx, and we got a review up for it. In short: go watch it, it's great fun.
October 1, 2020
A smaller update this time as I've had other stuff I had to work on. Still, do have a trio of goodies for ya, and we start with two new additions for the Related Games section. We finally finish out the Ninja Gaiden series (at least of the games I plan to cover here) with the Sega-produced Master System entry. And, speaking of finishing series, we also have the second (and final) Actraiser title, a game far inferior to what came before.
Meanwhile, in an effort to finish out all the main sections as best as I can, I'm going through all the tangentially-related Konami titles, and we start with Hai no Majutsushi, both the Series Page and Review of the game, which is just a pretty generic Mahjong title with the thinnest mascot branding attached to it.
September 24, 2020
We begin with an article I wrote over on Asteroid G, ICVD's sister site. Although I can talk about Castlevania endlessly here, there's not a good place on this site for random thoughts and musings, but that's exactly what Asteroid G is meant for. Over there I have an article up about my ideal new Castlevania title, a revival of the classic games in a new and exciting package. Give the article a look.
Filling in another gap we had in the reviews section, I finally get a chance to review the cellphone version of Aria of Sorrow for Cellphones. Although getting the game to work in anything like it's GBA incarnation is a feat, the final product is still missing that special magic that made the original work. It's sequel, though, fares better as Dawn of Sorrow for Cellphones actually isn't bad. It's still a compromised experience, yes, but one that's acceptable if it's the only version of the game you had.
Sadly, for now, that's as far as I can go reviewing the missing cellphone games. Both Castlevania III and Kid Dracula are impossible to find in their cellphone ports. Even other Castlevania sites have little more info than, "yes, these existed." Until I can find and review copies of those games, just knowing they existed is the best we're going to be able to do at this juncture. Maybe one day...
Over in Related Games we get the next Ninja Gaiden title, Ninja Gaiden Shadow for the Game Boy. It's barely a Ninja Gaiden title, really, but for completeness of that main, classic series, it felt like we needed to at least discuss the title a bit.
Next up, we get back to the Cast Bios section as we wrap up the "Other Allies" part of the page with articles for Rosa and Vincent Dorin. All we need is some info on Moonlight Rhapsody's Elvis (once more details of that game are known) and we'll have ever hero and associated ally covered. Excellent. SO, in celebration, have an enemy as well: Igor (and other Flea Men)
And finally, I have a review up for Metroid: Other M. While I still won't do a lot of work on the Metroid section of the site -- I want to get as much coverage done on the main meat, Castlevania, before I devote too much time to Metroid -- I recently picked up this game again and had to talk about it. Boy, does it suck.
September 17, 2020
This week we being with a look at another fan project, the Super Castlevania IV Randomizer. This one is a solid little rando that provides a few interesting features that help to shake up the original title. If only it hadn't been abandoned a couple of years ago.
We also have a look at a bootleg Chinese game, Castlevania DX. This one, developed for the Game Boy Color by knock-off game company Sintax Technology Limited, this is a cruddy little game that steals a bunch of Castlevania assets to make a game bearing only a passing resemblance to the real series. And yet, as far as Chinese knock-off hacks go, it's actually not bad. Even fun in places.
Meanwhile, as I was going through a lot of classic gaming articles, I was reminded of the existence of the Nintendo Vs. System for arcades. That caused me to remember that I had intended to post an article about Vs. Castlevania. Thus, finally I have my review up for that. In the process of writing that I also tidied up the Reviews and Series pages, adding in some entries to cover later and removing some superfluous stuff that didn't need to be on both pages.
Heading over to Related Games, we have the next entry for the Ninja Gaiden series, the one for Game Gear. Honestly, since this was developed by a different company other than Tecmo (and under license by Sega), this hardly even counts as a Ninja Gaiden game, but for completeness we gave it a once-over.
September 10, 2020
Lest you think I've forgotten, I have been working my way through Lords of Shadow 2 so I can finally get a review up for that game. Frankly, I hate this game so much. Maybe not as much as the first Lords of Shadow, but I find it in no way as engaging as any of the mainline titles. It's just a slog for me to get through it, but I will all so I can finish off that missing content on the site.
Today brings another trio of characters as we add Dolores and Zoe Belmont, Rinaldo Gandolfi, and Sara Trantoul to the Cast Bios section. I need to stop finding more and more characters to add to that list or I'm never going to get through it all.
And finally we continue to flesh out the Related Game section with a look at the third Ninja Gaiden title, The Ancient Ship of Doom. It's not a bad game, but by this point in the series it was already starting to feel just a little stale.
September 3, 2020
As we head into September we have another batch of Cast Bios for the week. This time around we cover Morris Baldwin, Renon, Seward, nearly finishing out the "Additional Characters of Note" section on the page.
Following that, we take a look at another Related Game, Quintet's 1991 SNES masterpiece, Actraiser. Seriously, that game is so good and its such a pity it never got a proper sequel (the actual sequel it did get felt like a sequel in name only).
August 27, 2020
A nice chunk of content for today, and we start once again in the Bios section where we have new pages for Lydie Erlanger, Marie Belmont, Master Librarian, and Mina Hakuba. It's going to take a little while to fully cover that page, with how many NPCs and monsters I added on recently, but we are slowly filling in the gaps.
August 20, 2020
Our big news for this week is another mobile title recently announced by Konami. This time developed, so far, for Chinese markets, this new game, Castlevania: Moonlight Rhapsody looks like another mobile-only, series-spanning rehash title. We wouldn't expect anything else from Konami at this point as the company seems perfectly happy milking the storied franchise for mobile titles and pachinko games.
Meanwhile, going through and adding all the lesser characters and bosses to the Bios page, I realized there was a version of the Forgotten One I have completely forgotten about (no pun intended). I've added bio information to that page to get it up to date, and then noticed I was also missing some content from the Elizabeth Bartley, so I had to add stuff in there as well. I have a feeling other pages will need this same kind of treatment eventually, too.
While I was on the bios page, though, I added in a bunch of new character bios. We have new entries for: Ada, Charlie Vincent, Elisabetha Cronqvist, Julia Laforeze, Lisa, and Rosaly, helping to fill in all the blanks on our allies and incidental characters.
August 13, 2020
It's a big update for the Bios section as we add in a bunch of long ignored character. We have pages up now for Annette Renard, along with fellow kidnapping victims (the useful) Tera and Iris (who is... not). And then, along with we have full pages for The Ferryman and Hammer. Plus I've added a few more names to the listing there for characters I really need to cover in upcoming updates.
That page is really starting to look nice and full, but I also know there are more bios I'll need to add even after I finish off all the characters currently on the to-do list. This series has had a TON of characters over time, after all.
August 6, 2020
I've started in on playing Lords of Shadow 2 finally, so while I don't have anything written for that game yet review-wise, that'll probably happen in a couple of weeks or so once I finish the title.
In the meanwhile, we do have other content added. For the Related Games section, I reorganized the content a little and added in a look at Ghosts 'n Goblins. Then, in the Cast Bios area we have a bio for the Puppet Master.
Of course, since I had time, we have another trio of Horror Cinema reviews, this time covering the fourth and final (and only okay) Hammer Mummy film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, the actually pretty decent An American Werewolf in London, and the better than it should have been Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
July 30, 2020
And here we go, the big update all about Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2. We start with the main meat, whatever all of you were waiting for: the review of the game. In short: it's pretty solid and a great addition to the series.
Since we have a new game in the series, that of course forced a bunch of supplementary content to be added as well. We have a new Chronology page for the game (which also forced minor updates for the Chronology pages for Curse and Ritual). And then, along with that we have bios for new characters Hachi and Robert.
Of course, we also had to add a bunch of stuff to the bios for the other characters in the series since they practically all show up in this new game. As such, there are updates to: Alfred, Dominique Baldwin, Gebel, Miriam, and, naturally, Zangetsu. There's still more work I want to do -- I'd like to get a bio written up for Gremory, and there was a new demon added in at the end of the game that I want to look into and write about. Maybe also fill in some of the side characters from Ritual while I'm at it...
There's always stuff to do, darn it.
July 23, 2020
I'm most of the way through Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 and could probably write articles about it at this point, but I want to finish it so I can be sure of all the details and give the game it's full and proper due. My time has just been short because I'm competing in the Final Fantasy Randomizer Sumer Co-Op 2020 Tournament, and practices have been eating up what free time I've managed. Soon, though. Soon.
Meanwhile, I do at least have three movie reviews to tide us over for today: the 1979 version of Nosferatu, the pretty mediocre 2005 werewolf film Cursed, and the even worse conclusion of George Romero's zombie filmography, Survival of the Dead. I also reorganized the Horror Cinema section some since that area has gotten even larger as of late.
July 16, 2020
First order of business, as you probably noticed if you frequent this site, is that, yes, we have a new look once again. I suppose it's better to say we have a "refreshed" look as the basic site is still the same, I've just changed up the colors and styles a bit, while tweaking a few things here and there. As I've noted in the past I'm a compulsive site re-designer and this site has gone largely unchanged since 2017. Even though I'm happy with the bones of the site and didn't want to change them much. I still had to tweak a bit because it was, over all, starting to feel just a touch stale. This will help the look and feel last for at least a couple of years before I have to change it again.
In case you were curious, I've put together a little gallery of the various versions of the site. Due to computer reformats in the past I don't have the best versions of the oldest sites (the ones that look like they might have been from the Geocities era even though this site was never hosted on Geocities), but for the purposes of basic preservation, this is at least workable.
In other news, apparently Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls is already shutting down before it even got a worldwide release (or even had all its chapters out, from the reports I can find). The game was a mobile experiment for Konami, a kind of Harmony of Despair for the cellphone and tablet set, and while I wasn't totally stoked about playing it on my phone, I was at least going to accept any new Castlevania content. Now, though, I've marked it as a "canceled" game, wiped away the old "preview" of the game, and written an obituary for the title instead. To go along with this we also have a Chronology update for the game as well, which will remain incomplete as long as the rest of the story for the canceled game is unknown.
Crap, I'm going to have to update a lot of bios now to take Grimoire into account... Dang. I do at least have a bio up for Lucy Westenra, introduced in Grimoire, so that's a good start.
Of course, while Konami continues to allow Castlevania to languish, IGA has already come out with yet another Curse of the Moon title. Released just a week ago, Curse of the Moon 2 went from "hey, this is a thing coming out," to in people's hands in a matter of weeks. I'm still working through my copy right now so I won't be updating the various articles for the game just yet -- Chronology, all the bios, and the review, of course -- but I should have that in another week or two.
And then, in more Bloodstained news, I have another game making its way to me to review as well: Kingdom: Two Crowns. Although not developed by IGA, this game does feature an expansion, Dead Lands, that includes crossover content with the Bloodstained series. My physical copy of the game shipped a couple of days ago and should show up soon, so as soon as I'm done playing through (and writing about) Curse of the Moon 2, that will be the next game I tackle... and then I guess I have to go back and finally play through Lords of Shadow 2 at some point (sigh).
Finally, we have a pair of vampire movie reviews up: the Tom Cruise-starring Interview with the Vampire and then the unrelated, Ethan Hawke-starring Daybreakers. At this point you know, week-to-week, I'm gonna review movies.
July 9, 2020
First off, in news of Bloodstained, the new sequel Curse of the Moon 2, which was only announced a couple of weeks back, already is coming out... tomorrow. Obviously we're going to need a little bit of time to play the game and really get into it so expect a couple of weeks yet before we have reviews and full details on the title, but that's pretty darn exciting news. Great stuff for that series.
Now, with that out of the way we get back to our customary movie reviews, of which we have three more for this week: a double feature of 1988's Waxwork and sequel Waxwork II: Lost in Time, plus we continue our journey through the George Romero zombie series with a look at Diary of the Dead.
July 2, 2020
We begin today with a look at a game related to the Castlevania series, one that hails from the back catalog of Konami's classic era. We finally have a review up for Getsu Fuma Den, a title that most people outside of Japan had ever heard of until it's lead character, Getsu Fuma, appeared in the big crossover release Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. With a review up we now also have a Series page up for it as well as a Chronology page to go with as well.
And then, of course, we have movie reviews. This week we finish up the Black Lagoon series with The Creature Walks Among Us, and then we get a big monster group number out of the way with the utterly goofy The Monster Squad, plus we also finish out the current run of the Re-Animator series with Beyond Re-Animator.
June 25, 2020
Went through and tidied up the site a little further, doing typo checks on many of the recent Horror Cinema reviews that were posted. I also added more images along the sides of many pages, upgrading the layout some and giving the site a little more pop.
Following that, we have another set of movie reviews for the site, with coverage added for the second Creature from the Black Lagoon film, Revenge of the Creature, as well as the 1970s horrible skin flick with the fantastic name (and not much else going for it), Sexcula. Neither of these films, it's worth noting, were any good (but for completely different reasons). We also have the Creature sketch, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Creature from the Black Lagoon", that helps to round out our canon of Universal Monsters material.
Of course, the big news of the week is the fact that IGA and IntiCreates are unleashing Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 sometime soon. The game already looks to be well under construction from the trailer and images revealed so far. How the game will shape up, and just how it fits into the continuity that's slowly developing, is up in the air, but this is certainly exciting news for fans of that series, Castlevania in general.
June 18, 2020
Hey, we have yet another triple-feature in the Horror Cinema section for today as we take a look at then 2005 Land of the Dead (no relation to the Pixar film Coco), Creature from the Black Lagoon (finally getting coverage of the Gill-Man on the site), and Bride of Re-Animator (helping us to cover even more of the Frankenstein-related material on the site). That section is really looking good at this point.
And, in honor of finally starting on the Gill-Man's movies, I added a bio for Merman (and other Fishmen) to the site. Another creature down.
June 11, 2020
Another triple-feature in the Horror Cinema section for today as we take a look at Fright Night 2: The New Blood (a decent little Bathory film), The Mummy's Shroud (another terrible Hammer Mummy film), and Bubba the Redneck Werewolf (which I found painful to get through). The Cinema section is really humming along now.
June 4, 2020
We start today with a look at another Fanworks entry, the Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Item Randomizer. This is a solid, if basic, randomizer that helps to add new life into the classic Game Boy Advance title. Really fun for what it does.
There's also a double-feature of movies added to the set: the Hammer Mummy sequel The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, along with Universal's totally not a Wolfman film Werewolf: The Beast Among Us. Neither of these are very good but they do help to flesh out our collection and finish sections out.
Finally, in rumor news, supposedly there's a Castlevania game in development based on the Netflix anime. This is something that apparently came up a couple of months ago (that I only just found out about), alleging some kind of Castlevania III-inspired game, using those heroes, in some kind of team-play campaign. Now, the original post that alleged this rumor was removed, so who knows how real this rumor is. I simply report it and you make up your own mind.
May 29, 2020
We have yet another trio of monster movie reviews for the Horror Cinema section: The Mummy (1959), The Wolfman (2010), and Night of the Living Dead (1968). This actually finished up all the werewolf films I had planned so far, plus it completes the original Romero trilogy, and gets us into the Hammer Mummy films.
While we're at it, I also finished out all the Belmont Bios with the addition of Soliel Belmont. Just have some lesser bosses and other characters to write about and we'll have the who Bios section completed.
May 21, 2020
Another trio of monster movie reviews for the Horror Cinema section: 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), and Day of the Dead (1985). I love watching, talking about, and writing reviews for horror movies so when I don't feel like writing any other content for the site I will always default back to that.
May 14, 2020
Still mustering the energy to get back into the Lords of Shadow games so I can play through the final game in the series. Until then I'm distracting myself with other content for the site. No clue how long it's going to take me to get into that but I do have to do it sooner or later so I can finish out the Reviews section of this site (at least until Grimoire of Souls is officially released worldwide).
In the meantime, we're having a bit of a movie watching party today with Horror Cinema reviews of: Chastity Bites (a bad movie), the 1978 Dawn of the Dead (an absolute horror classic), and the 2010 Let Me In (a decent, if uninspired, remake). It's nice to get some solid work in on the cinema section of the site.
May 7, 2020
Just a small update this week as I focus on other stuff. Life is busy some days. Still, we do have a review up for the 2001 vampire flick, The Forsaken, which I had the pleasure of going back and watching again. Solid little movie, all things considered.
April 30, 2020
I have finally made it through Mirror of Fate and have it's review Online. It took me as long as it did to get through the game because, honestly, I just didn't enjoy it all that much. It wasn't terrible but that doesn't mean it was good, either.
While that's the big update, helping me to check another big box off for the site (and finish the series page for that game, too), there's more content for today. We also have a movie review of ReAnimator and a new bio for Chaos. There, now I feel accomplished.
April 23, 2020
I'm continuing to make my way through Mirror of Fate. Believe me, I will have many thoughts about that game. In the meanwhile, though, we're continuing to progress through the Bios section, with articles about Akmodan II, Balore, and Rohan Krause.
More updates will, of course, follow. I really want to get the next game review up soon, darn it.
April 19, 2020
Spent a bit of time trying to figure out what I wanted to write about while I played my way through portions of Mirror of Fate. Thankfully, getting to the end of Simon's quest gave me the next page to add: a bio for the Succubus, who acts as the end boss for that first section of the 3DS game.
Adding her in, too, made me reconsider how the Bios section was organized and I've now better broken out some of the bosses in that area. I've also added a few more characters to the list to cover, over time, so expect a few more bios to get added to the site in the coming weeks. But first I really need to finish the 3DS game so I can properly write about it. Sigh...
April 13, 2020
Holidays always throw up my update schedule just because I get super lazy and don't want to do anything the holiday comes up. That's why this update is going up later than I would have liked, but never fear. I'm still planning to post another update this week as part of my normal schedule.
Anywho, for today we have coverage of a Fanworks project that has been getting a fair bit of attention lately. Castlevania II: Blood, Sweat, and Code is a randomizer for Castlevania II that remixes just about everything. It's pretty darn solid and a lot of fun. I highly recommend it.
April 2, 2020
I'm working my way through Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate so, soon enough, we'll have content up about that game. Hopefully I'll be able to get up more than just a review of it, but we'll have to see if there are any other characters worth highlighting from that game once we make it through.
In the meantime, I've working on building out other sections, and since the Bloodstained area could be a little more complete, we have a bio for Dominique Baldwin, the real antagonist of the second game in the series.
March 26, 2020
We start with coverage of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Resurrection, the review of which we finally have Online. This completes our coverage of the first game in that sub-series, checking a big box off our to-do list. Hurray!
Additionally, since he's the big boss of the second DLC for Lords of Shadow, we also have a bio up for The Forgotten One. At this point, all the major protagonists and antagonists we can think of are in the Bios section now, although we're sure we'll see a few characters from Mirror of Fate and Lords of Shadow 2 we'll want to add.
No, please never make me play the first Lords of Shadow again. I don't think I could take it.
Also, if you're looking for more Castlevania bonus content, I'd also like to direct you over to Asteroid G for our article covering Sony's attempts at buy Castlevania (among other IP) from Konami.
March 19, 2020
This week we're covering the first of the two Lords of Shadow expansions, with a review of Reverie. In comparison to the original game, the expansion isn't bad. That said, it's also not good.
And since we covered that expansion we also have a new bio up for Laura, a minor character in the original game who becomes a assistant and playable character in the Reverie expansion. And since we cover her here, we get to mention all her other appearances in the classic series. Plus, it gave us an opportunity to revise the bio for Carmilla.
March 12, 2020
When new Castlevania content comes out you can always rely on there being a flurry of activity on this site. We had one of those great content releases this past weekend when Netflix put out Castlevania: Season 3. Naturally we have that review up, but it also allowed us to do small bio updates for: Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, Alucard, Hector, Isaac, and Carmilla, as well as adding the anime to the bio for Dracula.
And then, because he shows up in the anime as well as Curse of Darkness, it seemed fitting to finally write a bio for Saint Germain. Whew, that was a lot for one week of content.
March 5, 2020
We first have a couple of minor updates. Both the series page for Symphony of the Night and the review for Symphony in the Dracula X Chronicles have been updated to note the Castlevania: Requiem and cellphone ports of the classic title. We also noted Requiem over on the Rondo of Blood series and review page.
Now, on to new content, and we start with a bio for Satan, lord of the underworld and primary antagonist of the Lords of Shadow series. There are still a few more bios I want to do (especially over in the Bloodstained section) but we're getting very close to completion here, which is really nice.
And then, for good measure, we add the 1990 Night of the Living Dead to our collection. Still need to go back and re-watch the 1968 original at some point.
February 27, 2020
A weird week threw off my update schedule for all my sites but, thankfully, I was able to at least crank out a little bit of content here. Today I bring you a review (finally) of Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night, an odd little game for iPhones and Windows Phones (who the hell even cares about Windows Phone anymore?). It's fun, but not something I'd expect anyone to really sink themselves into for any length of time. This review, of course, also prompted a minor update for the series page for Castlevania Puzzle, and we can now consider that page complete as well.
I also updated the page for Grimoire of Souls because it's been out for a bit in Canada. It's still not officially available worldwide, though, so a true review (and all the other proper content) for it is still pending. One day, maybe...
February 20, 2020
As I continue to fill in gaps across the site, we have a review of a version of the original game I really wanted to post for a while now. The problem has been tracking down a way to play it as I don't exactly own a Nokia cellphone, nor do I live in Japan circa 2008. But, through the marvels of emulation I was able to get a copy working of Castlevania for the J2ME Platform working. It was an amusing little diversion and a neat piece of Castlevania history.
If only it were so easy to write any coverage of the Pachislot/Pachinko games for the series. There are five of them in total (starting with Castlevania: The Medal) but not only do I not live in Japan, so I can't just play these games myself, but I also can't find any footage of the games in action. And emulating them is out of the question since they're physical pachinko-style games -- if you don't have the hardware you aren't playing the game properly. So, sadly, those games may never get proper coverage on the site (at least in the form of reviews).
Meanwhile I also have another movie review up, this time for Kenneth Branagh's ill-conceived Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. God, this is a horrible movie. I really hope I don't have to watch it ever again (although I'm sure I said that the last time I reviewed it for this site, way back when, and look at me now). Ugh.
February 13, 2020
Another seemingly small update, but that's only because we finally have one more big article out of the way, the Biography for Gabriel Belmont. There's just Satan, main antagonist of the Lords of Shadow sub-series and then we'll have biographies for every major (and prominent minor) character in the series. That's quite an accomplishment there.
Now to finally get through Mirror of Fate and Lords of Shadow 2 so I can write reviews for those games and make this site feel nice and complete.
February 6, 2020
With two of the largest articles finally out of the way I can get back to filling gaps around the site. To that end I've gotten another Biography written, this time for side character Claudia. There's only two more bios left -- Satan and Gabriel -- and we'll get those posted within the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, I realized I had to finally stop avoiding the series altogether (despite how much I hate them) and settled into finally document all of Lords of Shadow properly. That starts with finally adding Lords of Shadow 2 to the Series section. Now the only games remaining without proper documentation in that section are the Pachinko games and that weird light-gun Arcade game. Maybe one day I'll be able to play those for the site, but that day isn't today.
I also finally wrote up my Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and, let me tell you, that game was a slog. If I never have to play that game again, it will be too soon.
Of course, adding in all this extra Lords of Shadow content meant going through the site and doing a bunch of cross-linking. I've done when I can so far but there will come a week sometime soon where there won't be any new content, just me going through the site re-reading everything so I can fix any errors and make a bunch of stuff work better. With the way this site is setup my job is basically never done.
January 30, 2020
This week I took care of the last of the upgrades for the site I wanted, fixing the random tiles on the front page. After I increased the font size of the site a couple of weeks ago, the tiles were no loner properly fixed in height, so I spent some time redesigning all of them, getting them into a new format that is, once again, fixed in height and snazzy looking. I'm very particular.
And then, for content we have another long article: the bio for Death. Just one bio to go in the main section, and thankfully we're past the worst of them at this point. Whew.
January 23, 2020
A small update for now. I finally managed to snag a copy of The Horror of Frankenstein, the only Hammer Frankie film we were missing from our collection of reviews, so I have that up now. It was honestly better than I expected it to be.
Of course, when I say it's a "small" update I only mean that because I didn't do a bunch of upgrades to the site. As far as content is concerned we have one really big article to add to the mix: the bio for Dracula. This was an absolute beast to write and took me the better part of a week to compile it all. So, yeah. Enjoy.
January 15, 2020
As you might have noticed, I've gone through and made a number of basic improvements to the site. Although the layout itself is largely the same (aside from recoloring and enlarging the top logo of the site), I have adjusted the font size of the articles across the site (after a few requests to do so), and then I made other basic layout changes to articles for ease of viewing. This included adding stills from the various movies to the Horror Cinema section of the site to make those article more interesting to read. I probably have a few more edits I'll want to make but I do think this refresh helps to keep the site lively for another year or two (until I feel the need to completely redesign this place again).
And speaking of the Horror Cinema section, while I was working on the refresh of the articles within I also took the liberty of running every page through a spell check. I can't guarantee it caught every typo but that should help the readability of the immensely. I then also went through and cleaned up the layouts for the Chronology and Game Reviews sections, making everything much nicer to view.
On the topic of the fact that this site regularly sees new layouts and designs, I really wanted to post more items for the Time Capsule, such as the very earliest layouts for the site (at least in an image gallery). Sadly I don't have any version of the site predating the time capsule, so all those really old designs were probably lost in a computer wipe years ago. Even the Way Back Machine doesn't have a good version of the old sites, so sadly they're gone for good. Oh well.
Now, for new content: today we have a review of the 2013 Dracula TV show from NBC Universal. The series was actually pretty decent but, unfortunately, only went one season. I would have liked to see where the show could have gone in future seasons but, at this point, I think we all have to agree it's never getting revived.
January 8, 2020
So I know, I know, I tend to say this once a year, but I haven't forgotten about this place. I usually try to check in a couple of times a year at least, but I do have a lot of projects that take up my time and it's sometimes hard to come back to this place to work on whatever it needs. I'm going to try and do some weekly updates for a while, though, to at least get some new content on here. Something is better than nothing.
To that end, we start this year off in the right way (for this site) with a review of the new Dracula mini-series from Netflix. If you haven't checked it out, it's really good although the ending doesn't quite come together.
Meanwhile, if you want more monster cinema than what's posted here, I'm also covering the Invisible Man over on Asteroid G. That's a monster that doesn't really fit into the stable of creatures for Castlevania, so I never really touched it before it. It's always felt like a hole in the review collection, though, so we're finally getting around to it. And this may lead me to more cinema reviews for this site in the coming months.
So, hopefully, I'll see you again next week for more monster content.