Review by ROM647
"The Castlevania Dudventure"
The story behind this game is to go and whip Dracula until he just can't take it anymore and returns from whence he came.
This game is... ugh. Not quite Phantasy Star 3 level ugh, but perhaps the closest thing to it. Made in the late eighties, this game is the first conversion of Castlevania to the handheld medium. Maybe, maybe not, considering the TIGER handheld thing I can barely remember. Anyways, it is not pretty. Each level is timed, and this is the only Castlevania game I can think of where the time is actually measured in minutes:seconds format. So instead of 620 at the bottom left of the screen, it is 6:20. There are four levels, two of which will ruin your day at any given time. There are no subweapons. No cross, no holy water, no axe, not even a stinking dagger. There are however two whip powerups, the second enables your whip to blast out fireballs. Yet they are not BATSEEKING CATACLYSMIC ETUANNIC DRAWING ATROCITY ARTERIES, and thus are not worth your time or my time or even some fool like huminaboz's time. The whip length upgrade is what you really want, and there are parts where that length upgrade will be all that stands between you and an empty life bar. So you'd better be at the top of your game at all times; a single hit from anything will downgrade your whip by one level.
A few things you should know about these two games. See, in 1989 the concept of programming in stairs, staircases, stairways seemed to be too much for Konami to handle. Instead the programmed in rope. So instead of climbing up a staircase to the next floor, you'll climb up a rope to the next floor. Also, these two games have their own little clique of enemies not found in any other version. There are bats, sure, and ravens too but no medusa head, no skull cannon tower, no mummy or axe armor and certainly no Grim Reaper. Instead we have punagoitichi spitter creatures, rolling eyeballs and dual harvester wielding Zeldos, who function in the same manner as any axe armor.
Apparently when this game was made back around 1989, the concept of JUMPING was something else that was too difficult for the programmers to understand. Instead of the tight, controlled jumps in the NES versions, in Adventure the physics are just dudsville. If you make a jump you will make it at the barest possible instance, believe that playa. This, coupled with the HANGING PLATFORMS SUPPORTED IN MIDAIR BY NOTHING YET UNABLE TO SUPPORT ANY WEIGH WHATSOEVER DROPPING AT THE VERY MOMENT YOU SET FOOT UPON THEM ensures many grumesome, splattering deaths at the UNSEEN NEVERSEEN ravine bottom.
But still, its only four levels and hlf of that is cake, provided LUCK is on your side for the hanging platform parts. The game really picks up in difficulty in the third level, which is an endurance test against more spikes than you can shake a stickboy at. And the last level, The Top Floor, The Keep WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT is impossible if you get hit anytime after the second whip upgrade. ******* Hall is not a friendly place for those with short leather straps, now you better believe that.
At the end of every level is a boss. Well, I'm not quite sure about that, seeing how the first level boss shows up as a regular enemy in the last level and is a very good reason that level is nigh on impossible. What we have here at the end of the first level is an armored knight, Golbanz, with a greater range than your level one whip. The second level is guarded by twenty fleamen, thankfully only one is ever on screen at a time. The third level is guarded by a dud of a gargoyle who just flies up into the corner and hopes the time will run out before it is forced to fly back down and get whipped about the head and shoulders. And the fourth level.....
Seems to me that the programmers realized how eyegougingly difficult they made this game, so they served up a Dracula with an extra side of CHEESE. Seriously, this Dracula gives the Simon's Quest version a real run for its money. Instead of coming in from the right of the screen from the castle keep, this game has you climbing down a rope and dropping into Dracula's SECRET UNDERGROUND LAIR. Once you figure out his simple pattern, the humanoid form DOES THE JOB MARK and we have the Phantom Bat from Castlevania's first level as our SWERVE BAYBEE. Except this Phantom Bat flies across the screen, from right to left, in a single line. Sometimes it remembers it is supposed to be killing you and barfs out a flock of lesser bats, yet he might as well take his ball and go home because these lesser bats are too slow to raise anybody's blood temperature in the slightest and too easily disposed. I MEAN WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE EVEN SIMON'S QUEST DRAC SPLIT INTO FOUR EQUALLY WEAK ******* AND CIRCLED AROUND THE ROOM SOME NITWIT MIGHT GET DIZZY FROM ALL THAT YOU NEVER KNOW A STRAIGHT LINE OH WOW DRAC WHAT A DEFENSE YOU GOT GOING THERE lll
I don't think I will ever play through this one again. The music is quite good, not memorable like MARIO LAND but nothing to barf all over. I mean you crawl through broken glass through stage 3 and 4 and you find the weakest Dracula ever??? Not enough for me sorry :( Let me say right now that I really don't remember these games having unlimited continues; guess that the frustration factor was too high by the time I FINALLY EMERGED FROM THE MINEFIELD THAT IS THE THIRD STAGE to really have any success with the last stage. Thank Allah for Gameboy SP backlighting, thank Erinye for Gameboy SP rechargable battery.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 06/30/08
Game Release: Castlevania: The Adventure (US, December 1989)
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