If you've been a happy Game Boy or DS owner at any point in the past five years, you're likely a fan of the immortal Castlevania series. Each one pits a lone hero against the forces of Dracula, but the latest entry in the series, Portrait of Ruin, bucks that trend by teaming you up with a magical young girl. To get the straight talk on the change, and just generally gush a little praise, we sat down with series creator Koji "IGA" Igarashi and composer Michiru Yamane.
GamesRadar: Portrait of Ruin has two characters and a different gameplay style to the more recent games - with multiple smaller stages instead of one big castle. Can you talk about that?
Koji Igarashi: The two player characters, the game system, and the [new style] map all came for different reasons. With the game system with the two playable characters, we have been reviewing the past two games. The team members and myself concluded that we've done most of the things [we could] with the Tactical Soul System, so let's start the [new game system] and the conclusion was, to use the two playable characters.
From the map, we have been discussing this with the team members, but there are so many closed areas in past Castlevania games, surrounded by walls... we sort of had really closed experience, in that I wanted to open out to the outdoor and get more varations. So we sort of blended the game system and the map, and that's what you're looking at. Portrait of Ruin is a totally different style.
GR: Have you looked at any of the older Castlevania games (like Symphony of the Night), for that kind of gameplay structure, or is it all new ideas from you and your team?
KI: So I do take a look into the pre-SOTN games, and like you said, the two playable characters you could see it in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse [for the NES]. But we wanted to give it more of a cooperative atmosphere, so we sort of researched and made more depth to the game system. But I guess when you're asking about looking into the pre-SOTN, this is it.