Review by BimmyandJimmy

"Dracula, a dark castle and a hero with a whip...all in one game? Awesome!"

Its time to pull another video game review out my butt...

Its time for me to review the grand daddy horror classic for the NES, beloved by many gamers around the world. That's right, I'm talking Castlevania, and seriously, how could you go wrong with a game like this one? Never before in a video game have you ever met a character who destroys the ever loving crap out of everything which a sound-breaking, soul destroying whip. That's right, a whip…uh ya, so Simon Belmont may not be the definition of a manly hero in the video game universe, but damn, does that really matter? This game still kicks some major ass.

Granted, besides what you might think, Castlevania isn't exactly about just going around and whipping things to death. The idea of the game is to travel from level to level, engage in grueling battles with all sorts of horrible beasts such as classic movie icons to ancient folklore creatures, eventually leading you up to fight the big boss vampire himself, Dracula. That's right, I'm talking about thee Bela Lugosi Dracula…well maybe not Bella Lagosie himself, but you get the idea. Hell, just take a look at the cover of the game and it will just drive a shot adrenalin through your body like a roller coaster ride from hell. Just the sight of that cover makes you want to wipe Dracula's evil smile off his face.

One of the better aspects of the game is its artistic value. Sure, while it might not be the pretties looking game in the entire NES library, for it`s time, they are quite spectacular. The coloring, shading, hell even down to the bizarre architecture of the levels, everything just has a pure classic horror feel to it, and combine that with the stylish, typical 80's style of NES audio and you've got yourself one hell of an intimidating game ahead of you.

Indeed, intimidating is the correct word to use. You have to overcome your fears and take risks to beat this holy monster of a game. Every move you make has to be subtle and one step ahead of the enemy because if it isn't, your dead meat, cause Castlevania is one hard little piece of work. Unfortunately, its challenge usually drives from its major problems, and believe me, there are quite a few of them.

Sure, for the first few levels, everything is pretty much what you would expect. Whip a few candles to obtain items, kill a couple of bad guys from time to time, oh so much fun to be had. Even thought I had a few problems getting use to using the stair controls (which are a little tricky I`ll admit), everything was just OK. The real problem started around the second level, because it just seems to me that anything on this and later levels to come, there are pits everywhere. Even if some pits have stairs connecting to each other, if you fall in between them, they will not break your fall and instead go right through them. Still, pits are common, so whats to complain about? What really started to get to me were the enemies. To be blunt, they are annoying as all hell, especially the flying enemies. Since Simon cant whip up or on an angle, most of the time, you will never hit your foe and instead, you will get hit yourself. If that wasn't frustrating enough, when Simon gets hit, he jumps back, so if your near a pit or in the middle of a jump over a pit, your gone. It's ridiculous.

Then there are some parts were your path is just flooded with bad guys and you cant dodge their attacks, especially later in the game were some enemies take all day to kill them. The absolute worst guys in Castlevania are those little hunchback monsters. Those guys will attack you from anyplace but directly in-front of you. Hell, in one level, the game just decides to show no mercy and a whole murder of seagulls drop them like atom bombs, killing you instantly, and trust me, the rather stiff controls really shine in this part than of any other. Luckily, the game has the mercy to give you 3 lives and unlimited continues, so if you have a whole day to blow, this is your ticket.

Beside all the negatives, there are a ton of fun little gadgets to find and a whole area to explore so boredom is almost impossible to come across, and while it might not be a total perfect experience like Super Mario Bros 3 is, nor will it ever become, Castlevania really is a game that stands up on its own turf. I would highly recommended that you play this game next Halloween. Just turn the lights down, light a few candles for atmosphere and your set to go.

Happy Hunting.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/10, Updated 04/05/11

Game Release: Castlevania (US, 05/31/87)


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