Back in February there was news that Konami was working on a Castlevania arcade game that made use of a motion-controlled whip mechanic. It sounded intriguingly awesome at the time, and the trailer that came with the announcement looked promising. There's only so much that can be told in a trailer though, and in the end we need actual commentary from someone who has actually played the game before passing judgment. 1UP's Jeremy Parish played the game on a recent trip to Japan and he's not very satisfied with it. Read what he has to say about Castlevania: The Arcade over at 1UP's Retro Gaming Blog.
Each player can choose to control evocatively-named characters "Vampire Hunter" and "Lady Gunner." Both play more or less the same way: you point and shoot by using the trigger on a weird-looking light gun, or you can activate a short-range melee attack by making a whipping motion. The ranged attack requires Hearts, which you acquire by breaking items in the scenery.
Some of the game mechanics are poorly explained and hardly intuitive, such as: How do I keep Death from damaging me when there's no way to duck his scythe? How am I supposed to take out enemies at a distance consistently when ranged attacks require Hearts which don't appear nearly often enough?
To make matter worse, my whip controller was horribly mis-calibrated. I had to hold the thing gat-style like some medieval gangsta in order to get my targeting cursor to appear on the screen at all. Five minutes of the game made my arm and wrist cramp up something awful.
That's a terrible shame. Even though it was unlikely that this game would have landed in North American arcades, I was hoping it would be worthwhile. I like the Castlevania franchise and Konami is capable of creating memorable products, so whenever the company drops the ball and comes up with something so mediocre, it's a major disappointment.