Review by Maxx
"Konami's second attempt hits the mark."
This game is a definite improvement from the first game, so much so that it would probably be a better introduction to the Castlevania Game Boy games than Castlevania: The Adventure. All of the existing elements of the game were improved and some new features were also incorporated.
First off there's actually a story this time. You again assume the role of Christopher Belmont, but this time you're off to kill Dracula not just because he's Dracula. Your son, Solieyu, is set to take your place as chief vampire killer until he is possessed by the reincarnated Dracula and forced to do his bidding. It's then up to you to take up your whip and once again set off for the vampire's castle to rescue your son and kill off Dracula once again.
It's up to you to wade through seven levels (three more than the first game) of Dracula's minions on your way. These levels, in some parts, are easier than those of the first game. But they're also harder in other parts so it balances out. In this game you are given the choice of what order you tackle the castles in. There is no advantage or benefit to this, but I think it's the only Castlevania game where you're given a choice like this so I thought it was worth mentioning. The bosses at the end of each level are easier to deal with and are overall a lot cooler.
The graphics, or at least the level of detail in the environment and characters, have also been improved. You still don't have a face, but they're not exactly necessary in Game Boy games anyway. The castles all have an unique look that tie in with their themes (although in some levels this is only slightly noticeable).
Unlike the previous games, you now can use secondary weapons. The only ones available are the ax and holy water, and their usefulness is debatable, but at least they made it in this time. For me, actually throwing them was sometimes more trouble than it was worth but there were a few instances where I was able to successfully use them. Your whip is a lot more useful this time around because you don't automatically use your upgrades once you get hit.
The music is slightly better than the first (not that the music in that game was bad at all), but since this is a Castlevania game the music can always be expected to be good. Another slightly improved mechanic is maneuvering Christopher. He's still slow but watching him make his way across the screen won't piss you off as much this time. His jumping has also been fixed. The precision jumping from the first game is gone, replaced with a much easy (and more forgiving) system. Of course there are some problems with jumping when you have spikes over your head. Good luck not impaling yourself there. He also has a new move that lets him slide down ropes quickly, which is important during some of the rope segments of the game.
This game also has the icon-based password system of some of the console Castlevanias. You can also use this to input special codes for extras like a sound test and more lives. This is another improvement over the original, where you had to start over from the beginning each time you turned it on.
So I'd say you're better off picking this game up instead of the first. There's really nothing in the first game that isn't fixed or improved in this one. Of course there are also better titles than this one if you want handheld Castlevania action but if you're limited to the first Game Boy run, this is a good game to look into.
Replay Value: 5/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 03/27/07
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