Martin Robinson – The Art of Castlevania – Lords of Shadow

art ofAuthor: Martin Robinson
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Video game art
ISBN 13: 9781781168950

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Castlevania is a multi-generational video game series developed and published by Konami. The franchise was first released in 1986, but has evolved from a side-scrolling platformer into a full-scale adventure series – and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The series is a fan-favourite, and has influenced generation after generation of games since first being released.

Review: Encompassing three Castlevania titles, the book is a showcase of the art of the game. Debuted in 1986, Castlevania has been around a long time. An adventure game, Castlevania art tends towards the dark and gothic. As the 25th anniversary of Castlevania approached, it was reinvented by MercurySteam, a process that is explained in the Introduction to this book. Kudos on a complete redirection of the game without losing the integrity of it.

In this book, much of the space is dedicated to depictions of characters, weapons and environments (my favorite part) with some commentary. It is very interesting to see the evolution in areas. Carmilla, for example, begins as an almost humanoid character. With the advent of MercurySteam, she undergoes a transformation to a much more human incarnation (and in fact reminds me of Kate Beckinsdale for some reason).

The depiction of the full map from Mirror of Fate act 2 (Trevor; page 167) is beautiful and haunting enough that I could easily see something similar hanging on my wall.

Just a warning – there are game spoilers included within the book, so be aware! I loved the dust cover art, Gabriel at his finest.

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