Castlevania: Resurrection Dreamcast

Before starting, I would like to thank the following people:

  • All the people (dev, composer ect) involved in this project that never saw the light of day.

  • The owner of the prototype for placing his trust in me by entrusting me with the GDI.

  • Régis Monterrin for writing the article.

  • SiZiOUS and jc for exploring the game files.

  • Darcagn for modifying the game to run with a CD on a normal Dreamcast.

  • Sapass Krem for the creation of the cover.

An unloved machine (commercially speaking) brought to the rank of legend, the Dreamcast, like any other console, retains its share of mysteries. As we know, multiple prototypes lie dormant around the world and some will have taken more than twenty years to emerge. Like games like Scud Race or other Arles girls expected in vain, Castlevania Ressurection has long remained a pipe dream and fans of the license wondered if it even existed. Well, not only does it exist but it goes way beyond the simple technical demo of moving a character around an empty world without being able to interact.

Before taking a closer look at the outlines of this demo presented behind closed doors (journalists and VIPs only) at E3, let's take a look at the past of this work that never reached specialist stores.

Konami Logo Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast

Trailer for release

A promise ... fallen

The first information about Castlevania Ressurection began to fall during the magazines of the summer of 1999. It was indeed during this period, in their summer double-number, that the ducks presented in length, width and across the titles presented during the summer. of the Great Video Game Mass, namely E3. At the time, all the journalists were unanimous in praising the spectacular graphics of the game. Konami fully intends to take advantage of the capabilities of the Dreamcast and promises striking lighting effects as well as respect for the Castlevania license, particularly in terms of atmosphere. Looking at the screenshots of our mags, we had to face the facts: Ressurection's visual punch is undeniable! Detailed textures, quality lights, various creatures, Konami's software makes you want to.

And yet ... some media do not hesitate to make a reservation. Indeed, Castlevania Ressurection is the work of an inexperienced American team and the words of producer Ken Ogasawara , reported in Joypad n ° 88, are not very reassuring:

 

“Seeing as the Castlevania N64 sold admirably well in the United States, it was clear that the title remained a safe bet in that country. All the development part of the game is done in the United States with an American team. We want to market the game for Christmas 1999 in the United States. The Dreamcast version will be essentially action-oriented, because our wish is to create a real gamer game. "

 

Make no mistake, just because the title is being developed by a US team doesn't mean that players and the press are starting to have reservations. No, it's more that Castlevania has long been a franchise focused on action, adventure and exploration. And inevitably, the side "nag" of such announcements, especially for fans of the series, passed moderately. Clearly, many feared that the license would be distorted ...

The other element that we note, and it is to say how much we should be wary of such statements, is that we are being told an exit ... for Christmas 1999, that is to say only a few months after this interview with Ken Ogasawara . To draw a parallel, we have to imagine that the exceptional Skies of Arcadia , when it was announced, was totally embryonic. Worse, seven months before its release in October 2000 in Japan, the world (during the flight phases with the ship) was totally empty! What we want to show by this comparison is that in the summer of 1999… Castlevania Ressurection is probably only the core of what it is destined to become. And it suffices to take Joypad n ° 92 of December 1999, in other words the month of release envisaged by the producer, to learn that this brave Ressurection is finished at… 25%. Despite a start of enthusiasm, the title will finally disappear in limbo in the most total indifference - or almost. Canceled during the spring of the year 2000, it was therefore necessary to wait 21 years before we discovered the existence of an extremely rare version presented at E3 1999. A surprising prototypal version that we have tried and examined under all seams.

Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast château
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast vitrail
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast Joypad
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast ennemis
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast Hydra
Castlevania Resurrection Sonia Belmont

Fortune duo

The story of the game takes place in 1666. It plays Sonia Belmont , the first member of the Belmont clan, a woman born with a supernatural gift allowing her to feel the presence of spirits. His grandfather taught him to use the whip because he felt that this ability would lead his granddaughter to great dangers. In the Castlevania timeline, Sonia is also the heroine of Castlevania Legends, a Game Boy cartridge released in 1997.

Castlevania Ressurection therefore embodies Sonia and it is no surprise that we find his weapon of choice: the whip. Originally, it was to be accompanied (understand by this that the player could play a second character) by a certain Victor Belmont , a descendant of the Belmont clan. So there was a priori a notion of time travel and it was a question, during the adventure, of going from one of the protagonists to the other, perhaps at different times.

On paper, it really looked good.

A promising prototype

Castlevania Ressurection , at the prototype stage, has interesting qualities despite the unfinished implementation of multiple elements.

If we start the prototype on a standard Dreamcast, this is what happens: the Konami logo and the title Castlevania Ressurection fly by (probably to save time during sessions with journalists at E3 1999). ) and we immediately go to the so-called “ Courtyard ” level. We can then take control of Sonia.

To start, we sink into a recess on the right and we face a first wizard as well as a kind of evil totem that throws flaming balls. This little isolated corner appears as a sort of tutorial, even if the difficulty is not at all resolved. We are also surprised by the continual respawn of spirits that come to rub shoulders with the main character. Undeniably, action was the primary focus of the team at this point in development. We are literally assailed by these specters! To get out of the way, we decide to go to the left. After a fight against a sorcerer, we climb a low wall and access a larger area. We can then start to explore the place and strike the various wizards of the section but also the skeletons who do not hesitate, from their perch, to throw bones at us. Via the directional cross, it is possible to switch to an autoseek camera, which is not a luxury as the focal length is not optimal. In manual mode, the Y key allows you to re-center the camera. We thus find the atmosphere of Castlevania, at least at the level of intentions, and we can even have fun interacting with the flames (to make them turn blue, this should probably have an impact on the opening of the door of the cathedral that you can see). After a little adventure on the roofs, we are back on dry land. The bestiary is not extraordinarily varied, there are obviously bugs but there is an interesting approach. In terms of inventory and items, the items are not regulated but it is funny to see that hitting a candle causes, as in the originals, the obtaining of a heart of life. After cleaning this level, we can move on.

To do this, just press START to access the DEBUG menu. You can then choose another internship. The title Chapel (the chapel) leads us to the heart of a religious building. The atmosphere is much more marked than in the previous level with its lava, flames, stained glass windows and large arches. Here again, the specters, omnipresent, stick to the basques! But one takes a certain pleasure to wander in this place by defeating the wizards. We can have fun hitting objects to collect all kinds of items (flask, compass ...) and even a secondary weapon (a throwing knife that we throw with the B key, an ax, an explosive flask or even a protective book that revolves around the avatar). Upstairs, a few enemies are also waiting for you (and the skeletons are there to block your way). The atmosphere of this level is very interesting and suggests certain possibilities that the game could have offered to the players if it had seen the light of day. Obviously frustrating… especially since there is a clash against a boss: MEDUSA .

The boss: That must have been the small challenge for journalists at the time. By hitting the flames in the area, a door opens and you gain access to this mythological creature. This boss has two transformations and the confrontation takes place in a room large enough to facilitate movement.

The Stairs level is much larger and we can imagine that there was possibly a boss fight there. We move over a large area then we climb a large staircase on the right. For the occasion, the bestiary is enriched with new wizards who swing blue fireballs. We can get axes as a secondary weapon and even a kind of shield. Funny thing, by simultaneously pressing the side keys L + R and the analog stick, Sonia Belmont rolls… but remains motionless. This function was not implemented in this demo of 99. The level is just a preview and there is not much to do except the pleasure of beating a few enemies.

The Hall begins outside and then continues in a room where we face wizards. It had to be an area with a boss or, at the very least, a mini-boss. After defeating these dreadful, a door opens and if one touches the other door - which should lead to the next level - the soft crashes. Indeed, the last playable level on this version is called Corridor (the corridor) and it is not accessible with the original hardware. You have to go through an emulator to access it. On Demul , the level is not accessible so we tried Flycast and it worked.

Corridor is a chase against a Lerna Hydra , this mythological creeper with three heads. The camera is completely strawberry but we can guess the intentions of the developers and we say to ourselves that this sequence, adjusted and finalized, could have been very nice.

Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast Courtyard

"Courtyard" gameplay video

Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast Chapel

"Chapel" Gameplay Video

Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast Medusa

"Stairs" gameplay video

"Corridor" gameplay video

Castlevania Ressurection , in its prototypical version of E3 99, thus comprises 4 stages (and a fifth accessible via emulator). Knowing that the title, according to rumors, has not gone beyond 25% development, this suggests that there may still be another version but if so, it should not be much more advanced. The intentions were there, the realization is nothing spectacular for a Dreamcast but there are still some nice effects and some sets stand out. The title of Konami could have been a very good game but it seems that dissensions between the Japanese parent company and the American subsidiary (hey, it reminds me of another publisher) got the better of the project. It's a shame because the potential was there.

Build analysis

The peculiarities visible to the naked eye:

Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast exploration fichier 1
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast exploration fichier 2
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast prototype
  • The # 20 means that it is the 20th GD-R of this compilation that has been done. There are at least 19 more that have been created. At this point, it is likely that the remaining 19 have been lost or destroyed.

  • The music, composed by "Mark Lindsey" (Original Music Copyright © 1998) includes only one song that plays in a loop. You can listen to his other compositions on this site . Do not hesitate to credit him in the description of your videos with his 2 links and the copyright, you will make him happy.

  • As this prototype version is not optimized, it paddles or freeze. Bugs are present such as crossing the scenery.

  • The enemy "Lock" system is not yet implemented, we do not know if we hit our target. It's frustrating at first. In the long run, we get used to it.

  • When we use the "Start" menu to choose our level, we start the new environment with our health bar and our previous equipment. It is the same when we die, we recover our secondary weapon.

  • Secondary weapons do not appear to drop randomly. They drop according to the number of level uploads (to be confirmed). It may be necessary to start over 4 times "Chapel" to find the protective spellbook.

  • The more we load to new levels, the more powerful our whip becomes.

  • Arriving in front of "Medusa" , there is a freeze. It must certainly correspond to a cutscene not inserted in the beta. Upon killing the boss, an emblem appears. By taking it, the demo relaunches from the Konami logo this time with the player's indications (life bar) previously present in the game only. It will no longer be possible to face the Gorgon again.

  • By using a joystick in port "2" , pressing "Start" activates the "Free Camera" mode. You will have to hold "Y" to go up, "A" to go forward, "X" to go back, "B" to go down and the directional cross to orient yourself. The left trigger makes the movements faster.

  • Edit : Whip and sub-weapons (items) have a charge attack. Holding X or B will fill the blue bar to remove it. The sub-weapon charge performs an object crash, taking more hearts and performing a unique move (Thanks to GigaBoots for this feedback).

The peculiarities hidden in the files:

  • The "INTRO BIN" , like the "COMMON" or even the "E70_MEDUSA" are archives of textures.

  • No "Debug" other than those mentioned above, no "hidden level" .

  • The "Corridore" level hangs on a real Dreamcast because the code tries to access invalid memory areas outside the authorized ranges, causing crashes. It is not something that would be easy to fix. This works on some emulators because they simply ignore these memory accesses.

You will be able to read a dossier on the reverse engineering of the games by going to the "Castlevaninia Resurrection DC reverse" page .

Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast corver
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast jp co
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast jp co
Castlevania Resurrection Dreamcast jp co

If you want to dress up your game, you can download and print (in real size) a PAL cover offered by Sapass Krem :

If you want to dress up your game, you can print a JAP cover (you have to click on the image and then print it) offered by Gregg Super on this site:

The download pack includes, to read the "README":

  • GDI_ORIGINAL : Original GD-R dump in Raw format (BBA method).

  • GDI_ODES : 33 MB miniaturized GDI for use with GDEMU, USB-GDROM, MODE or emulators. Creation and addition of a 0GDTEX.PVR image for the menus.

  • CRDC-CDR.CDI : CDI image to burn onto a 700 MB / 80 min CD-R. Data padded on the outside of the drive for better performance. Burn with DiscJuggler or ImgBurn with the DJ plugin.

  • CRDC-NOPAD.CDI : Small CDI image of 113 MB for use with GDEMU, USB-GDROM, MODE or emulators. No padding added. Try burning this version if your DC has difficulty loading the top version from a CD-R.