This is an edited/updated repost of an old blogpost I made over at my Castlevania 64 Hi-Res page (Original). Since I feel the content is pretty much in line with the rest of what I do here, I might as well has it here as well.
My Problem With Castlevania Judgment
A Rant About Maria Renard
A Rant About Maria Renard
|But not about this version.|
If you followed my progress on my old Castlevania 64 retexture project (which has since more or less stopped due to all the technical difficulties that popped up that I became unwilling to deal with) you might have noticed that I took a fair share of visual influence from Castlevania Judgment (2008) for the Wii. So let's talk about Castlevania Judgment. Mainly the biggest problem I have with the game.
You see, screw complaints about the odd fighting engine, the characters being redesigned by the artist of Death Note (which resulted in Shanoa looking like a nun so they didn't have to render her hair and Dracula somehow sporting udders), the good guys being bigger jerks than the forces of evil, alternate costumes just being palette swaps and the overall game not feeling overly polished. Those things didn't bother me that much and being given the opportunity to play as Cornell from Legacy of Darkness made up for a great deal. No, for me the greatest evil in this game isn't represented by Dracula, Galamoth or the Time Reaper, but by Maria Renard.
Yes, 12-year old Maria Renard from Rondo of Blood.
Her character design (what's that supposed to be anyway? Pink BDSM loli?) and high-pitched voice acting alone make me want to scratch her entire existence from the disc, but then there's her moveset. Most of the time she's just randomly flying around the screen, being lunged at her opponent by the owl in her staff. Her special attack has her falling to the ground so her owl can do all the work for her. Every hit she makes sprinkles Microsoft Clip Art all over the screen, and she NEVER EVER SHUTS UP.
So it's a fighting game and in fighting game fashion there's a story mode which details the motivation of why each character in question is there. We are introduced to newcomer Aeon who provides the plot device as to why people from different time periods can interact, and from there they just kind of have a go at each other until the most powerful warrior is chosen who will attempt to defeat the Time Reaper, thus saving history itself.
Now Simon Belmont takes the opportunity to test his abilities against the legendary three warriors from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Shanoa just wants to get out of the Time Rift as fast as possible to continue her mission to hunt down Albus. Cornell seeks someone to help him control the werewolf form. A Golem who has gained sentience fights for his right to exist. Dracula obviously seeks revenge for his many defeats (yet because of the greater threat of Galamoth he also seems to be the most reasonable and practical of the playable characters).
Maria Renard's story and motivation? Beating up the other Castlevania girls because they have larger breasts than her. No, really, that's her story mode. We have the most annoying 12-year old on the planet running around seeking fights with both allies and enemies because she is insecure about her body image.
|vs. Sypha Belnades|
I mean seriously? Who thought this was a great idea for a Castlevania game? Did we really need to ruin a beloved Castlevania character (... even more, YMMV) for this game just so we could have some more extreme close ups of Sypha and Carmilla's boobs? Nothing about having to find Richter or Annette. No tie-in with either Rondo of Blood or Symphony of the Night. Just a 12-year old girl throwing a tantrum over tits.
There's a lot of Castlevania characters that I would have liked to see in this game (Carrie Fernandez being my #1, although I love that her game was at least acknowledged at all by having Cornell) and it didn't have a ton of features anyway, but I would have seriously preferred just not to have Maria Renard at all. At least not like this.