Review by dtm666

"Look, Ma! I can save!"

In 1987, a curious game called Castlevania appeared on NES. For some odd reason it did well... just kidding. We all know the story behind Konami's franchise whip-cracking series. But while everyone is overjoyed with half-@$$ed "Symphony of the Night" rip-offs... ahem, I mean, exciting new GBA games, there's the select number who complain about why there aren't any "old-school" Castlevania games being made any more. Well, this isn't a new game, but it is the first... re-released as part of the Classic NES Series that sees old NES games being ported onto GBA carts.

The first set had Mario, Zelda, Xevious, and five other crap games that should have been stuffed into one cart. This second set includes 'Vania, Metroid (why?), Adventures of Link, and Dr. Mario.

STORY: Castlevania puts you in the role of the vampire hunter, Simon Belmont. As Simon, you have to navigate through six levels of various monsters to rid the land of the evil Count Dracula (simply known as THE COUNT). Back in the day the game was made, the story was nothing more than an after-thought. It holds true for Castlevania, but it sounds cool. You're not saving some princess or getting eight pieces of triangle. It's just a simple romp through a castle to kill THE COUNT... Okay, so I copied this from my Vs. Castlevania review. It's the same story. 9/10

GRAPHICS: The graphics are two steps above the typical NES graphics you'd see in most games, but not necessarily the greatest. The Simon sprite is the only one that has a sense of fluid movement, but that's okay. If you're worried about the game looking like crap because of the special technique they used to make the game fit the GBA resolution, don't. The game looks fine that you'd barely notice every forth line removed. 10/10

SOUND: The tunes are catchy and the sound effects, while simplistic, are appropriate. Perfectly emulated on the GBA. 9/10

GAMEPLAY: Anyone expecting to whip in multiple directions, carry an inventory of special armors, accessing crashes, be able to jump off stairs, and other staples of later 'Vanias might as well turn away. This is the first, and as a result, you only have the basic whip, jump, climb stairs, UP+B for special weapons, three lives and its over. Control is just fine, with the exception of when you want to execute special weapons from stairs. The level layout is simple enough to understand. No special routes, no secret spells. It's linear, it's straightforward, it's JUST FINE.

Oh yeah, you could save your progress. Mind you, it's a half-@$$ed saving system that will cause some people to complain over the Japanese having a superior saving system. All I can tell you is to be happy you can save at all. 9/10

CHALLENGE: While the first three levels are quite easy, the latter levels will beat the crap out of you three times each. These levels are so tough that the difficulty didn't have to be increased the second time around. Castlevania is a pretty tough game, but it's all about repetition. Once you know what to expect, things are still tough, but not as much. Bosses are tough. Nothing different here from the NES version.

Oh yeah, you can save. Whether that translate into the lowering of difficulty or not is up to you. 9/10

REPLAY VALUE: To say the very least, once you beat this game, there's very little reason for you to go back. Unless you want to try out the "hard" mode or see if you can make it to Stage 100 or something. 2/10

OVERALL: Twenty bucks may be a little steep for some people, but it's worth it if you want to try out the old stuff, when gameplay was a key factor and not a sidenote to all the eyecandy. Castlevania was a good action game back in the day, and time has not dulled it one bit. Highly recommended just to see where it all began... 10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/28/04, Updated 10/28/04


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