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Sorry for the late reply.
Yeah you nailed Castlevania's feel very closely, that's always good in my book.
I'm now very curious about the movement gimming and how stuff will work around it, sounds really interesting.
Have you tried using "stolen" sprites and animations as placeholders until you get the real assets? It could help you a lot with the stuff that's difficult to code without a visual reference.
Anyway, the project sounds really promising so I think you will find an artist eventually.

saw this the other day, wasn't sure what I wanted to say, then forgot about it

the movement gimmick will involve being sort of grounded

I've looked all around for sample versions, free versions, preview versions, any way of getting the sprites I need, they're just not there; I'm going to try some ghetto rotoscoping of myself doing the required movements

Don't worry, that happens all the time to me.
Sounds really interesting, can't wait to see that gimmick working in game. I personally love rotoscoped sprites, they remind me of Prince of Persia and Karateka, two wonderful games I used to play a lot as a kid. 

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well this would be more to have a usable animation, I don't expect it to look very good, but we'll see how it goes