Review by Bkstunt_31
"What Castlevania: The Adventure SHOULD have been..."
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge REALLY ISN'T the second Castlevania game... It's just the second Castlevania game to get released on the Nintendo Game Boy. Why they put in the number two to the title is a mystery to me. The first Game Boy Castlevania game (Castlevania: The Adventure)WASN'T that good... it had no sub-weapons, game play issues, and only four levels. So, is Belmont's Revenge any better? Did 2 years of extra experience pay off? After playing through it recently, here's what you can expect out of it.
The story again features Christopher Belmont (from Castlevania: The Adventure) and tells the story of his son, Soleiyu Belmont, coming of age. Being the next in line to receive the Vampire Killer, Soleiyu went through his coming of age ceremony and then disappeared. Christopher then finds out that Dracula used the last of his magic to turn Soleiyu into his ally, and four mysterious castles have arisen across the land. With no other choice Christopher most take up the whip again (after just passing it on) to stop Dracula... and his son.
Now, I don't ever expect a very good story from Game Boy games, ESPECIALLY for games in the action genre, but Belmont's Revenge adds in some actual story and back-history to the game, which is a first for the Castlevania hand-held games as Castlevania: The Adventure had NO story. The concept of a son turning against his father is intriguing, but the story that is in the game is VERY shallow and doesn't really turn into anything worth reading about beyond the introduction.
The game play is similar to other old-school Castlevania titles: you'll progress through a series of stages until you reach a boss. Christopher is NOT very mobile, as he is pretty slow with stiff jumping controls, but the game plays very well. Several improvements have been made since Castlevania: The Adventure. For example, Christopher can now find and use sub-weapons. True, he can only use the axe and holy water sub-weapons, but it's WAY better than having no sub-weapons at all. You can also now use your whip attack while climbing up and down ropes, which is a welcome change as well. The game is also significantly longer than Castlevania: The Adventure. You'll fight your way through the first four castles (each themed after a certain design, like "Cloud Castle" or "Rock Castle") and once you've defeated them all you'll then have to face your son and Dracula throughout three more stages in Castlevania itself. Oddly enough, you can CHOOSE and fight through the first four castles in any order you wish, Mega Man style! The stages are still timed and there is still a point system in place, which is good. Players will be glad to know that unlike the first game, Christopher KEEPS his whip power-ups upon being damaged, which is an improvement.
The graphics in the game are good for their time, with excellent (and recycled) enemy designs. The boss designs this time around are vastly improved in both variety and originality. The stages themselves also look good and have a good variety of obstacles to overcome. The audio in the game is good as well, with some catchy tunes here and there (Original Sin, Praying Hands), but the music may be the ONE thing that Castlevania: The Adventure has on this game.
Even though the game has seven stages (six, technically, as one is ULTRA short) it still isn't very long. It does have some challenging boss fights, but can be completed in a single afternoon with some effort. I also found it odd that while Castlevania: The Adventure got a re-release on the Nintendo Wiiware system (as Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth) that Belmont's revenge never did.
Overall, Belmont's Revenge is a good Game Boy action game, and vastly improves on the framework laid down by its predecessor. Better game play and graphical quality make this one of the best action games on the Game Boy. Castlevania fans looking to play through the series early games will enjoy this title, as would any action fan. Have fun and keep playing!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/25/12
Game Release: Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (US, 08/31/91)
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