Spanish indie game maker ‘Locomalito’ has just released a demo of his latest ‘big’ game.. The beautifully Ghosts n Goblins-esque Maldita Castilla. Time for a release-day interview!
But just before we do; a quick recap.
Just over a year ago, ‘Loco’ released his biggest game yet – the Gradius-like shmup Hydorah (interview, screenshots). Since that time, he’s released a number of smaller titles, like the Manic Miner-esque L’Abbaye des Morts and he vertically-scrolling gross-em-up Viriax. Both were fantastic, but I had the feeling that they were just entrees compared to the main course of Maldita Castilla .
Now, Locomalito spills the beans on Spanish heroes, dirty monitors, favourite arcade music and the levels you’ll never play…
<J-OMG> Recently, some fan donations enabled you to buy some new gear. Can you tell us about that?
<Loco> I needed an ergonomic (wave) keyboard and trackball. And then it was like a voice coming up from players, saying “Oh! let me just pay this for you”. It’s hard to describe in English. It feels somehow touching.
<J-OMG> You’ve said Maldita Castilla will pay homage to classic arcade games from 1985-1987 like Ghost’n’Goblins, Tiger Road, Black Tiger, Shinobi, Rygar, Karnov and Trojan. Although clearly, Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins is the biggest influence. What sort of timeframe are you working to, and what tasks take up most of your time in a title like this?
<Loco> Like in other games, I think it’s balancing everything to achieve interesting gameplay and good replayability. I feel a game must be interesting ‘always’, even if you already played it for 20 times, and that requires an incalculable amount of redesigning. From changing the notebook ideas into ideas that works with the game, to creating new enemies, situations…. Often, I cut out half of a level, sometimes entire levels I must admit!
<J-OMG> Maldita Castilla features real ‘FM/YM2203’ sound, as demonstrated in this clip. What are your favourite arcade soundtracks that used that chip?
<Loco> It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I like the music in Chelnov. In that era there were a few Yamaha chips that sounded very similar, both Gryzor87 and me like how powerful it sounds in Aliens.
<J-OMG> Arcade adventures, run’n’gun games…you can imagine they’re inspired by 80s action films. But this game is partly influenced by a book from the 16th century! Tell us more..
<Loco> I wanted to make a ‘chivalry’ arcade game, so I searched for a good old chivalry book to read. I then remembered that Cervantes wrote about this book ‘Amadis of Gaul’, in “El Quijote”. It’s described as the favourite of Don Quijote, and you know, he goes mad reading that stuff. I loved the book, it’s like the arcade of the books!, Things just keep happening non-stop. In 3 pages it can describe a romance, a travel and a battle, leaving many things to the reader’s imagination. And well, it’s amazing because it was written in 1508, and it’s still pure action these days!🙂
<J-OMG> Looking to visuals , Maldita Castilla has been filtered with ‘scanlines’ to look like an ‘old dirty monitor’. What do you think that adds to a game like this?
<Loco> I think it adds a cool ambience around the game. Like if we’re playing into a bar, where the screen is old and dirty, far from our flat and glossy monitors, you know…? Even the scanlines are ‘messed up’ to create the illusion of non-squared pixels, cause this is how they looked in the cabinets, back in the day. It also helps with the graphics, as it makes it look a little darker in the edges, creating a “bad feeling” of the surroundings.
<Loco> Someone asked me for permission to make a freeware port. I thinked it could be cool to make a revision to the graphics, and Gryzor87 thought the same about the music. It’ll be a cool exercise :-)
<J-OMG> You’re also working on an updated PC version, a “1.5 version” perhaps – with more levels. What’s the thought behind doing your 1.5 version of L’abbaye (PC)?
<Loco> We made (the original game) in about a week (two if you count the artwork and debugging). After some people liked it, we thought we can make it a little more polished, and add a little more to the story of Jean Raymond. Also (and mostly I think), this kind of ‘low detail’ game is really rewarding to make, as it gives much back result for not so much effort.
<J-OMG> Thanks Loco, and all the best for the rest of your development.
Hope you enjoyed our ‘demo day interview’ with Locomalito. I certainly enjoyed the demo! Within the first few seconds of play, the music transported me back to an arcade in 1985, playing Ghosts n Goblins. The FM sound is incredibly evocative of that era. Scanlines (those thin grey horizontal stripes in an old arcade monitor) give the visuals that lovely soft analogue look, sadly missing from modern screens.
The demo covers a full level, in two halves. Your character, Don Ramiro begins his quest in a spooky forest. A flash of lightning welcomes you – and in a moment you’ll see Maldita Castilla doesn’t just look like Ghosts n Goblins – it plays remarkably close to the original. So much so, I immediately started jumping/firing, hoping to trigger a ‘secret’ a la Ghouls n Ghosts. Alas, this didn’t work – but something else did, later on. Let’s leave it at that.
The Maldita Castilla demo isn’t huge, but it gives you a good taste. And, it’s now available to download, for PC.