Review by score101

"1987 In the Palm of Your Hands"

Why is it that a game released in North America almost 20 years ago is still better than most games today? The story is cool, the atmosphere is great, the controls are spot on, and the game takes talent to beat. The fact that I can play this game on my NES Limited Edition Classic Game Boy Advance SP makes the nostalgia factor all that much sweeter. I don't really know who I'm making this review for as I'm certain any old school gamer already knows how sweet this game is and the young ones might be put off by playing such an old game, but it's important to understand why the series has lasted so long, and it's worth looking at its roots.

STORY:

Defeat the Count and his bloodthirsty minions in this Classic NES adventure for the Game Boy Advance! Dracula's out for blood and it's up to you and Mr. Whip to show the Count who's boss. There's no damsel in distress here to save, it's you and your wits against the greatest monstrosity's the world has ever known. Zombies, bats, skeletons, demon knights, Frankenstein, Death, and the Count, kill them all, and you'll be humanity's savior! Fail and the world will be plunged into eternal darkness. Hey no pressure eh!!

GRAPHICS:

The graphics are faithfully reproduced from the NES classic and look great on the small little GBA screen. The game is quite atmospheric and every level has a distinct look ranging from the ballroom to the dungeon. Enemies are clearly distinguished and looking at them on the GBA makes me proud of how good this game looked on the old NES. Enemies are all inherently evil ranging from zombies and hunchbacks to ghosts and fishmen. Old school enthusiasts can rest assured their classic game has not been tampered with in the looks department and for the newbies the game has aged remarkably well like a fine wine and not like that burger that fell behind the seat of your car last month.

MUSIC:

The music is great and totally fits the Gothic castle atmosphere. Every level has different theme music and it all sounds great. The music quality sounds exactly the same as the NES version.

GAMEPLAY:

The game is like one of those movies that you have to watch 3 or 4 times before you understand how truly great it really is. The controls are spot on giving you no excuse other than blaming yourself for any mistakes. Just like the NES game B is for whipping, A is for Jumping, and up and B is for using your special item ranging from the watch, dagger, boomerang, and axe, to my favorite the firebomb. Nothing is sweeter than firebombing Frankenstein and Igor to the afterlife.
The point of the game is to traverse through the Count's inhabited castle destroying his minions to reach the evil one himself. My question to you is how do you kill something that's already technically dead? Anyways, what's unique for the GBA version is the save feature, and let me tell you how much I love it for that. If it wasn't for this feature I'm almost certain I would have probably never had the patience to beat the game. The Grim Reaper is one tough monkey and I can't tell you how proud I was of myself after beating him for the first time. I never had the patience to play through all the levels leading up to Death only to then get my butt handed to me. The save feature allowed me to play the harder levels over and over again right away making it much more convenient to learn each levels nuances. It was quite enjoyable watching myself get better and better at each portion of the game, and then ultimately beating it.
The fact that I could play the same level over and over again and never give up in frustration is a testament to the quality of the game. This game has no cheap deaths. If you play smart and have decent timing then you can beat it. There's little luck involved.

REPLAYABILITY:

Well the ending kind of sucks, but like I said earlier, the level design is fantastic, and once you beat the game you can try it out again on a harder difficulty.

SUMMARY:

I bought this game right before Christmas when I should have been buying gifts for other people. I was greedy, and it paid off. There is something incredibly cool about playing this game as a portable on a small screen. Those of you that remember playing this game back in the 80's, if you enjoyed it then, you'll enjoy it now. The save feature is the beer chaser to the tequila shooter and the night I had insomnia and finally beat Death at 4am in the morning stands out as my greatest video game accomplishment in a long time. Do yourself a favour, buy this game and kick drac's butt.

9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/13/06, Updated 03/14/11

Game Release: Classic NES Series: Castlevania (US, 10/25/04)


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