Review by scrubking

"Dark days for the Castlevania series."

When I and most people think of Castlevania the first thing that pops into my head is a courageous hero that wields a whip who is out to destroy Dracula. Castlevania started out to be such a good story and series, but now it has been reduced to a shadow of its former self. This is a good game, but the story, characters and feel of the game are NOT Castlevania-like. It feels like I am playing a cheap vampire hunting clone made by some unknown game company. It is very disappointing to see the legend of Simon Belmont flushed down the toilet with such disrespect.

PRESENTATION:
Like I already said this game feels like some vampire hunting clone and not a true Castlevania game. For starters there is no whip in this game; period. With that said I should end this review because what is Castlevania without a whip? Vania(I am not going to type it out anymore), was founded on two things: a whip wielding hero and Dracula. Neither of those two fundamental elements are in this game. Yes, the names of Simon Belmont and Dracula get thrown around a few times, but that is about all you will get. However, I want to go back to the whip situation which is a great disappointment for me. For all of the different types of weapons there is not one measly whip in the whole game. Unless it is a secret weapon that I missed there is no whip, and when you consider the amount of weapons available 3 or 4 whips is not much to ask even though the whip should be the hero's main weapon. For goodness sake you can even find a 9mm handgun!! What are we supposed to do now, cap Dracula to death like some gangster? To add to the disappointment of the absence of a whip wielding hero all of the main characters are modern and even futuristic looking. The game is supposed to take place in the present where some part of Dracula still lingers(his castle), and every x amount of a years a new Dracula is chosen to inherit his powers. They could have come up with something better than Dracula's castle floating around in an eclipse for all eternity calling on people to become the new Dracula. Frankly it's plain dumb because the main character is made aware of this and yet does nothing to get rid of the castle or take away its power so that Dracula is never revives again. So now we have no whip, dull story, and now we have weird characters. I understand that the game takes place in the present, but it is very awkward to see your hero dressed in a business suit and a trench coat running around a medieval castle fighting the undead. Apart from the weirdness factor the characters look pretty cool. So I would say that this game is not worthy of the Castlevania name.

GAMEPLAY:
Although this game is not Casltvania worthy because of its great deviation from the Belmont tradition it still is a pretty good game. It is also fairly deep when you consider the plethora of weapons, armor and accessories available to you in your mini quest to leave the castle. And yes, exiting the castle of Dracula is your main priority and not finding or killing Dracula's successor; very lame indeed! Anyway, the game is in the style of Simon's quest, but on a bigger scale. I would think that the map is a bit larger even though there are still about 4 or 5 bosses. You get the ability to absorb your enemies powers and use them for yourself which is the main attraction of the game, but sometimes you have to kill countless numbers of the same enemy to get it. And getting all of the enemy abilities, if it is possible, will take a lot of luck or a lot of time. There are a lot of useless things in the game like Dracula's books which you do not need to beat the game. Also there is a store(ridiculous!), that a crazy military man sets up at the front door to aid you in your quest. He doesn't even tell you why he is there, but for some reason wants to sell you things in the middle of nowhere. Also you never see him inside the castle more than once and yet he manages to get powerful items that you cannot and sell them to you. Why isn't he finding a way out of the castle if he can get a hold of powerful weapons and items that you can't? It makes no sense, but you will find yourself making a trip or two to his store to buy gear.

This is very important for those who want to buy this game. This game is extremely easy! Be warned! The only reason it takes any length of time is because you want to get experience and gain enemy abilities(which can take forever).Most of the gear you use you can buy from the guy at the store so you don't even need to explore that much. I stumbled upon the last boss by accident and still defeated him completely unprepared.

SOUND/MUSIC:
Although the tunes are undead-like and haunting there is nothing that sticks out at Castlevania worthy. I literally hummed the tunes of Simon's Quest while I played because everything else was dull. The sounds are interesting and well done; especially the evil butcher screams as he dies and squirts blood everywhere.

SUMMARY:
This game is a pretty good game for those who want a quick romp with no story or logical reasoning. The story makes no sense, the bosses are wimps(except for one or two), and the game isn't even about killing Dracula. The hero is also a wimp, but he looks cool. Once again this game is not worthy of the Castlevania name and I can't stress it enough. So to close I will say: good game - yes, Castlevania - no.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 05/08/03, Updated 05/08/03


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