E3 2005: Level Up
Konami Delivers the Goods
Product: Konami Console Lineup
Company: Konami
Date: 05/25/2005
Avaliable On:

Konami never fails to please with their diverse and attractive lineup.

Castlevania fans can rejoice, with two new titles to cut their teeth on. First up is Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, a 3D action-adventure game very much like Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. One bit of good news is that this time Xbox owners will have the opportunity to go toe to toe with Drac?s hordes as the game is being released on both PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This rendition of Castlevania will put you in the role of Hector. A former servant of Dracula, it seems his leaving his master's service left Drac vulnerable to the Belmonts, and now the rest of the dark lord?s servants are rather upset at him. To go along with this new hero is a new system of battle. Hector can forge ?Innocent Devils? to assist him in combat. This is only a minor change, however, and the gameplay remains firmly rooted in the same pseudo-RPG, action-adventure gameplay we saw in Lament of Innocence.

The Castlevania legacy also moves to the Nintendo DS in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. A direct sequel to the Game Boy Advance title Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow once again puts you in the shoes of Soma Cruz, the reincarnation of Dracula. With their master finally gone, the former servants of Dracula have decided to create a new dark lord, and it?s up to Soma to stop them. The game plays nearly identically to Aria of Sorrow in most respects, with Soma taking on the power of monsters and using them. The touch screen displays your menu and map information. It?s really nice not having to stop the game every time I want to look at my map. Both titles will be coming out this fall.

The always popular Dance Dance Revolution series is still in full swing with two new titles. If you?re a PlayStation 2 owner, you can get busy with Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME 2. Xbox owners will be able to challenge their hand/feet coordination with Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX 3. Both offer new modes of play and songs to learn.

If Dance Dance Revolution doesn?t offer you enough of a challenge anymore, you can try out Konami?s new party game Karaoke Revolution Party. You take Dance Dance Revolution and Karaoke Revolution, put them together, and you have a pretty clear picture of what Karaoke Revolution Party is all about. You sing and dance at the same time. What could possibly be more challenging for a gaming geek? I think we?ve found the ultimate game for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube owners.

Personally, of all the ?rhythm games? showcased, Beatmania was my favorite. This probably has something to do with my hand/eye coordination being exponentially superior to my singing voice or my dance moves. Though it is called a ?DJ simulation?, it?s more actually described as a ?keyboard simulation?. The game has 7 keys placed in two rows and you must hit the right button as little indicators fall. Additionally, there is a turntable you must turn when one of the turntable indicators fall, but honestly, that feels extremely tacked on and the game would be much better off without it. If you don?t own a PlayStation 2, you?re out of luck though, as the game will be PS2 exclusive for now.

Crimelife: Gang Wars is an Xbox and PC title coming in the fall that puts you in the leadership position of an inner city gang. Featuring voices and likenesses of the actual hip-hop artists D12 (sans Eminem), the setting and flavor seemed to be what Konami was trying to sell as the gameplay itself seemed like a pretty typical third-person beat?em up. Konami does assert that there will be consequences for certain actions, so that may prove interesting.

S.L.A.I. is an arena robot fighting game for the PS2 that reminds me of Robot Wars. You fully customize your own mech and send it into battle. The game includes a 50+ hour story mode, but the real action is online.

There was also some news on the Metal Gear front. Similar to what was done with Metal Gear Solid 2, PS2 owners will receive the newest Metal Gear game, complete with all new additions, called Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (no that?s not a misspelled Substance, its called Subsistence). It will also include online play in some form, how exactly has yet to be seen.

There was also a brief teaser for Metal Gear Solid 4. It was just a humorous little skit rendered in the PlayStation 2 engine, but it was announced that the game would be for the PlayStation 3.

Alucard aka Stephen Triche

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2