Review by discoinferno84
"Dracula has nothing to worry about..."
Over the years, I've become a casual Castlevania fan. I've only played and handful of Castlevania games which left me satisfied and wanting more of the series. So when a friend of mine bought a copy of Castlevania: The Adventure, I jumped at the chance to add it to my old Gameboy collection. Perhaps I've become too spoiled with other Castlevania games. But this game is just a poor excuse of an addition to a franchise.
This was the Gameboy's introduction to the Gameboy. Maybe the developers were betting on the Castlevania fans rather than come up with a decent background for the new Belmont. Or maybe no one really cared about the story in favor of seeing the Castlevania series go portable. Either way, there is hardly any story to speak of. You play as Christopher Belmont, another in a long family lineage of vampire slayers. As a Belmont, it is your sworn duty to stop the return of Dracula. You brandish your mighty whip and slay Dracula's minions.
This Castlevania is short and has linear level setup. There are four stages of evil minions to traverse through before meeting your foe. Four levels may not seem like much, but this game moves infuriatingly slow. Christopher Belmont must have started his adventure after eating a large dinner, because he barely moves. It's like playing Viewtiful Joe in slow motion, but with no way to speed up the action again. I've probably been spoiled with the fast-paced realms of Tetris and Super Mario Land to appreciate this game. The timer at the top of the screen serves as a painful reminder of how slow you're going.
The unresponsive controls just add to the aggravation. In some levels, you must slay enemies and climb up a rope to the next section. So you watch in anticipation as the minion wanders closer and closer. You press the button to smack it with your whip, and then watch in dismay as Christopher waits just a little bit before dishing out the pain. By then, the enemy has bumped into you, causing you to bounce back as if hit by an unseen force. Are you driven back by the force of evil, or the game's control lag? Whichever it is, you recover and try again. This time you hit your mark, and then plod slowly to the rope. You climb hand over hand, reaching the very top of the screen...only to be knocked back down by another minion falling from above.
The worst part of the controls is easily the jumping. Whatever alternate dimension Christopher lives in, it has very strong gravity. There are some parts where you have to jump across a chasm, using only narrow ledges to keep you from falling. You must time your jumps to the very frame to execute some of the jumps. Add in a few bats and crows to impede your progress, and you are facing a very difficult obstacle course. Maybe the programmers did that intentionally, but the difficulty of this game goes beyond the fine line of challenging fun and pure annoyance.
Considering Castlevania: The Adventure hails from 1989, the graphics almost make up for the poor gameplay. Christopher Belmont is literally a faceless hero, but the basic human form is done well enough. It's certainly a step above the design of the first Gameboy Mario. The details of the enemies don't showcase the Gameboy's graphical abilities, but there is enough detail to make sense you what you're fighting. The level designs are typical of the early Gameboy games, as are the music and sound effects. While the music is more electrical noise than orchestration, it still adds to the overall mood in the game.
Since this is one of the older Gameboy games, Castlevania: The Adventure can make up for some of its shortcomings. However, this game still suffers from a lack of decent gameplay and controls. For those who have little patience, steer clear of this Castlevania. This game is better left to collectors and Castlevania fans.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/04
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