Castlevania Judgment (悪魔城ドラキュラ ジャッジメント Akumajō Dracula: Judgment?) is the first Castlevania game on the Nintendo Wii, and is also the first in the series to be a one-on-one versus 3D fighting game. It was released in November 2008 in the United States, January 2009 in Japan, and March 2009 in Europe.
- See also: Judgment Timeline
According to Iga: "So as many of you know, the Castlevania timeline goes over 1000 years", "And there is a character trying to destroy that timeline. Due to magic forces, a variety of characters from different eras are brought together."
Galamoth plots to send the Time Reaper from 10,000 years in the future into the past to destroy his rival Dracula, and change history. Aeon discovers this and pulls together champions from different eras of history into a time rift, in order to find a chosen one capable of destroying the Time Reaper.
- In this world, a battle has been raging between vampire hunters and their prey for ages. Thirteen people from around the world have been called into an alternate dimension through a gap in time. A mysterious man named Aeon appears before the thirteen and tells them "if you pass the trial, you can have your wish..." The trial is a battle between those assembled. But what will they gain if they pass the trial? And how do they escape from the time gap? An epic, era-spanning battle of destiny is about to begin!
Like most traditional fighting games, there is a story surrounding each character.
- Main article: Castlevania Judgment/Gallery
|Warriors of the Light|
|Image||Name||Game(s)||Super Finishing Move|
(The wielder of the Holy Whip)
|Castlevania, Simon's Quest, etc.||Vampire Killer (Simon Ver.)|
(The man who defeated Dracula for the first time)
|Dracula's Curse, Curse of Darkness||Vampire Killer (Trevor Ver.)|
(The most agile man in Valachia)
|Dracula's Curse||Million Edge|
(A witch who made deals with spirits)
(A girl with mastery over animals)
|Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night, etc.||Group Cooperation|
(A boy entrusted with the devil's spear)
|Bloodlines, Portrait of Ruin||Alucard Spear|
(Glyph Master who was deprived of her memory and emotions)
|Order of Ecclesia||Storm Glyph|
|Warriors of the Night|
|Image||Name||Game(s)||Super Finishing Move|
(The half vampire son of Dracula)
|Dracula's Curse, Symphony of the Night, etc.||Inferno Blade|
(A female vampire who loves to bathe in blood)
|Simon's Quest, etc.||Heaven's Gate|
(An artificial being that has an unnatural soul)
|Rondo of Blood, etc.||Thunder Beam|
(A beast man who is under an ancient curse)
|Legacy of Darkness||Blue Crescent Moon|
(A god who swears his allegiance to Dracula)
|Almost all games||Hell's Gate|
(The Lord of Darkness)
|Almost all games||Demonic Megiddo|
(The Guardian of Time)
|Judgment||13th Hour Lament|
Castlevania: Judgment is a 3D fighting game, complete with sub-weapons, Hearts and generation bending characters. Players move the Wiimote to perform combos. They may also hold down the B, Z or C buttons to use different combos. To make sure players can't win by simply "chopping" the Wiimotes and nunchuck, players are able to dodge with the nunchuck as well as block with the Z button. Players can perform powerful but slow "unblockables" to break guards as well as chain these into combos along with the B and Z button combos. Characters can use hearts to power up sub-weapons as well as use a magic bar on the bottom of the bar to fuel special abilities (e.g. Cornell's rage mode or Golem's roll) as well as super attacks.
The game features several modes:
- Story Mode (personalized stories for each character)
- Arcade Mode
- Survival Mode
- Versus Mode
- Castle Mode
- Viewing Mode (music and art)
- Accessories (enables you to customize the appearance of your fighters with your retrieved items)
Connecting Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia to Judgement unlocks
- Hard Mode level cap raises to 255 in Order of Ecclesia
- Queen of Hearts item in Order of Ecclesia
- Aeon and Shanoa in Judgement
- New accessories in Judgement
Each character has four sub-weapons which they can use. These are as follows:
|Character||Axe||Dagger||Cross||Holy Water||Jagged Earth||Gravity Circle||Gale Force||Bat Swarm||Poisonous Blow|
The game has ten locations in which you can fight. They are:
- Abbey Ruins
- Alchemy Laboratory
- Castle Gate
- Clock Tower
- Crystal Cavern
- Dimensional Rift
- Ghost Ship
- Throne Room
- Torture Chamber
Shortly after a patent for the game Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the Nintendo DS was found, a patent for another game called "Castlevania: Judgment" was found. In late 2007, Iga had indicated that the next game Konami was planning on releasing after their third Dual Screen game would be a next gen game. At that time Konami was leaning towards making the game an Xbox 360 exclusive game due to the success of that platform in the United States. However, the July issue of Nintendo Power revealed that Castlevania: Judgment was a fighting game for the Wii, with character design by Takeshi Obata, famous for his work in Hikaru No Go and Death Note. About the decision to make a fighting game, Igarashi says, "I guess some fans may worry about the game quality, but I am confident that we can achieve a very high-quality game. I think that fans…will see that it stays true to the Castlevania series. Even though this is a fighting game I can guarantee that it will be fun.”
When the game was first announced, six characters were confirmed: Simon Belmont, Dracula, Death, Alucard, Maria and Shanoa. Other playable characters include recurring enemies and bosses of the Castlevania franchise, and a new exclusive character named Aeon.
Other non-playable characters roam the games stages, serving as obstacles that can be eliminated to replenish energy. These characters include common Castlevania enemies such as Zombies and Minotaurs.
Criticism and reception
The largest forms of criticism for Judgment is that it is a fighting game and thus rather disconnected from the rest of the series; secondly, the character designs are quite a bit different from franchise standards. Addressing the second, the nebulous 'Castlevania feel' - a factor hard to quantify or describe - is often deemed absent, with most character designs showing heavy leanings towards a style most commonly seen in contemporary generic anime (with character designs from this installment also appearing generally incongruous with established appearances from other games.) Another commonly cited disappointment with the installment are the stock 'fighting game' character motivations and interactions (Maria's fixation on breasts, for example, and the cliché love triangle plotline among the CV III crew), and also several characters being rendered out of character (such as Eric Lecarde being made into a smug and arrogant child, and Sypha Belnades being made into a single-minded character in her attempt at eliminating children of the night regardless of whether they are on her side).
However, it still stands to reason that playing a long adventure game on Wii using the motion controls would be very tiring - IGA himself admits that precise movements while wagging the Wiimote might require a superhuman degree of coordination. The Wiimote can still be used as usual, with the player able to control Alucard's sword and other weapons by swinging the Wiimote. Other control schemes are available in the form of the classic controller and GameCube controller.
While many people have issues with the gameplay itself, most praise the remixes in the game. Some fans have also called it an "over hated" game, praising the fresh breath of air it brought to the series.
- 1UP.com: D-
- IGN: 7.5/10
- Nintendo World Report: 7/10
- Nintendo Power: 7/10
- X-Play: 1/5
- GameRankings: 51%
- Metacritic: 49%
- Game Informer: 5/10
- GameSpy: 1.5/5
- GamePro: 1.5/5
- G4: 1/5
- Official Nintendo Magazine: 68%
- Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia - Related games which can give each other bonus unlockables when the DS and Wii are connected.
- Castlevania Judgment Original Soundtrack
- GuitarFreaks / DrumMania V6 - Contains a rock version of Vampire Killer with scenes from Judgment playing.
- Judgment Promotional Calendar - Preorder bonus in Japan.
- Official Koma - Comic panels associated with this game.
- Ultimate Judge Guidebook - The official Japanese strategy guide to this game.
- Konami Style Judgment Action Figures - Figures based on Judgment characters (Simon).
- Akumajō Dracula: Prize Collection - Volume 1 has two figures from Judgment that can be won from an arcade (Simon and Maria).
- Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX - Contains music from this game on Disc 16.
Referenced news articles
- SuperVoodoo's Castlevania Judgment Article
- Exerpts of Nintendo Power review, confirming the above characters
- Castlevania Judgment manual, pg 1.
|Warriors of the Light|
|Simon • Maria • Trevor • Sypha • Eric • Shanoa • Grant|
|Warriors of the Night|
|Alucard • Cornell • Carmilla • Golem • Death • Dracula • Aeon|
|Zombie • Merman • Minotaur • Iron Gladiator • Giant Squid • Giant Fish • Time Reaper|
|Abbey Ruins • Alchemy Laboratory • Castle Gate • Cathedral • Clock Tower • Crystal Cavern • Dimensional Rift|
Ghost Ship • Throne Room • Torture Chamber
|Darkness of Fear • Castlevania Judgment Original Soundtrack|
|Ultimate Judge Guidebook|
|Bestiary • Inventory • Timeline • True Story Mode|