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Castlevania: the game that made it to TV

A good story should never be confined to a quarter of a megabyte. By BRYAN TURNER

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From Super Mario Bros to The Legend of Zelda, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the first home to many iconic games that still live on today.

In the early days of home consoles, Konami dominated the action-adventure video game market with Castlevania – a gothic horror that launched on the NES. Gamers play as Simon Belmont, who comes from a long line of vampire hunters, as he fights his way through Dracula’s minions to eventually defeat Dracula himself.

The game received many more follow-up titles, with the latest instalment coming soon to Android and iOS. Loyalists to the franchise consider the last game that was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, to be the best. Castlevania III is a prequel to the game series that defined how the Belmont family came to fight against the super-human powers of vampires. Trevor Belmont, a forefather of Simon Belmont, wields a Vampire Killer Whip that he uses against Dracula’s minions.

The strong story and graphical improvements with the limited system hardware set this game in 5th place of IGN’s Top 100 NES Games, and it’s considered to be the title that kick-started video games into having strong storylines.

In a post on Facebook two years ago, US film producer Adi Shankar announced that a Castlevania game was being adapted into an animated mini-series. At the time, fans speculated about which game they’d chosen. All we did know was: it was going to be a Netflix Original produced by Frederator – the animation studio behind Adventure Time and The Fairly Odd Parents.

While those titles are more lighthearted, Castlevania is more of a horror drama. Shankar confirmed in an interview with Collider that “there will be a lot [of violence in the show]. The goal is to bring hard-hitting anime to America and be America’s first animated series for adults.”

When the show was released, fans were pleased to see the series was adapted from the third Castlevania game, with some twists. In the game, players got to choose between three sidekicks to play with, while in the TV show, the main character meets two of them along his journey.

In the show, simply called Castlevania, Count Dracula’s wife is burned at the stake for being falsely accused of witchcraft. He takes revenge against everyone in Wallachia by summoning an army of demons that overruns the country, causing everyone to fear him. Trevor Belmont steps up to the challenge of defeating Count Dracula with the help of a magician and Dracula’s own son.

Trevor is voiced by Richard Armitage, who delivers dry humour excellently while having an accent that conveys his former nobility. Matt Frewer, the voice for the wicked Bishop, does a good job of sounding evil, even when one isn’t looking at the screen.

A criticism of the first season is that it’s very short, at only four episodes. Thankfully, the second season is available now, with an additional eight episodes.

Overall, Castlevania is one of the best video game adaptations I’ve ever seen, as it stays true to the original story while adapting it to make it more interesting for viewers.

If you enjoy Castlevania, try these adult animations:

  • The Jellies!: A sitcom about a family of jellyfish and their adopted human son Cornell. The show was created by Tyler the Creator and Lionel Boyce.
  • Black Dynamite: Based on a film by the same name, this 1970s animation follows the misadventures of Black Dynamite, Bullhorn, Cream Corn and Honey Bee.
  • Samurai Jack: In the fifth season of this action animation, Samurai Jack must battle Aku, a demon who sent him 50 years into the future, as well as with his mental health.

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Spirit of the North comes to Switch and PC

A Nordic-inspired adventure game, Spirit of the North, will be released on PC and Nintendo Switch later this year.

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Merge Games have announced a partnership with Infuse Studio to bring the emotional exploration-puzzle adventure, Spirit of the North, to Nintendo Switch and PC later this year.

Spirit of the North is a single-player, 3rd-person adventure game inspired by the breath-taking and mysterious landscapes of Iceland. The story takes root from various pieces of Nordic folklore.

Breathe in the surroundings to solve various puzzles and speculate the meaning of a lost ancient civilisation. With the help of a companion, shed light on the ruins of the past and overcome obstacles.

Play as an ordinary red fox whose story becomes entwined with the guardian of the Northern Lights, a female spirit fox. As players journey over the mountains and under red-stained skies, they will discover more about their companion and a land left in ruin. Traverse tundra, glaciers, and mountainsides as they follow a foreboding scarlet trail that paints the sky.

Key Features:

  • Make your way across stunning landscapes, on an emotionally stirring journey.
  • Solve environmental puzzles to change the world around you, using ancient powers bestowed upon you by the guardian of the Northern Lights.
  • Follow the mysterious Spirit Fox across a land left in ruin as you discover more about a lost civilization.
  • Moving orchestral soundtrack featuring 14 original compositions.

To find out more about the game, visit here: mergegames.com/spirit-of-the-north

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Crash Team Racing gets Grand Prix season

The Crash Bandicoot-themed racing game, Crash Team Racing, gets a downloadable content pack with 50 more kart bodies and 51 new characters.

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The villainous Nitros Oxide has decided earth is no longer of interest, and has challenged Crash and team to one last epic battle on his home planet in the Gasmoxia Grand Prix.

During this toxic race to the finish, players will challenge each other on an epic new track high up in Gasmoxia’s atmosphere, where two rival fast-food conglomerates are battling it out for planet domination (and a CTR TV sponsorship). New skins, karts, an imperious new character to unlock and a new track to conquer, touted as the most technical track ever assembled in Crash Team Racing – players will have a wild ride in this Grand Prix season.

New characters: As if Oxide’s presence wasn’t enough, he’s enlisted help from the Galaxy’s self-proclaimed ruler, Emperor Velo. Unlock this devious new character in the Nitro Gauge.

New time trials: Velo isn’t just making an appearance this season, he’s providing a new challenge in Time Trials.

New karts: Your intergalactic ride awaits. Unlock three hovering new karts this season: the Void Manta, the Velo Chopper, and the retro-vibing Galactic Cruiser.

Pit stop items: When in Gasmoxia, do as the Gasmoxians do. Look like a local with a wide array of new Pit Stop items to swag out your racer and kart in the space-adventuring theme of the planet.  

The Gasmoxia Grand Prix season is set to go live this today, 20 February, at 5 PM SAST. With the launch of the Gasmoxia Grand Prix this week, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled boasts a total of eight Grand Prix seasons, 40 racetracks, 12 Battle Arenas and more than 50 characters.

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