Review by Vegita
"A cutting-edge classic!"
Play Control: 6/10
Group Enjoyment: 5/10
Single Enjoyment: 8/10
Loosely based off of the old Vampire tales, and Bram Stoker's book ''Dracula'', Castlevania takes place in Transylvania, at a time where the countryside was being ravaged by the legendary myth, the walking undead: Dracula. Unable to face the light of day, he was forced to roam the countryside at night, feeding on the blood of the innocent and raising the undead to do his bidding. Transylvania had decided it would take no more, and they sent in their number 1 Vampire Hunter: Simon Belmont. Taking with him is family's trusted leather whip (whip? I thought Crosses and wooden stakes hurt a Vampire...), Belmont arrives at the gates of Dracula's mansion, seeking to rid the evil from the land. So, does Simon successfully destroy Dracula, or does he merely delay him, so he can arise again in a multitude of sequels?
This game was VERY original. Featuring great music, a wide variety of living and undead opponents, and huge bosses, this game was quite the interesting challenge. Instead of saving a princess in a fantasy world, you have to take on old European myths and destroy them in the very mansion they reside in? How odd...well, this is also a VERY faithful port from the arcades. Good job!
Well, it's too short! I would have loved to see an option where you got to pick which part of the house you went to. You could go to the Library and fight off Sir Grakul, or maybe take a trip through the treasury, and destroy the Zapf Bat...hang on, this sounds an awful lot like Super Castlevania IV...
Graphics: While not amazing, this graphics are still great. This is a near-perfect port from the arcades (and I actually remember playing this in the arcades!), so the graphics stand out on a home system. The enemies, while nicely animated, seem bland in their coloring. Couldn't they have used more than just 3 colors for Simon? I mean, suppose the guy wanted to wear some blue? Oh well, at least the backgrounds are extremely well done, as are the bosses.
Sound: Also great, but not quite amazing. The sound of a whip cracking, the sound of Simon getting hit, and the sounds of items getting picked up are easily remembered. Sounds that might not be remembered, but should be revered nonetheless, are the things like the hurling of the boomerang (it sounds like it's flying off, then flying back!), or the landing from a jump (the smack of the concrete against your leather boots).
Music: Wow. I love the music for this game. Heck, one day I got bored and figured it all out on piano, just because I loved all the music so much! If you really want to find out how good this music is, and how much of an effect it's had on people, then go to www.minibosses.com, and see how these guys pays tribute to Castlevania.
Play Control: Let's face it, this isn't Ninja Gaiden. If you jump, then there's no varying the height of the jump. If you're jumping in 1 direction, you can't turn and whip in the other direction. Sometimes, when you're jumping over an obstacle, you end up soaring past where you meant to land, and end up falling in water, dying in the process. The play control for this game just isn't THAT good. Of course, it IS better than SOME games...
Originality: I want you to find me a game that is even REMOTELY like this. No other vampire-hunter games for quite a while, no games featuring a whip as the primary weapon. In fact, the only games I can compare to this on any level are Ninja Gaiden and 8 Eyes. Ninja Gaiden has the same button procedure to throw a special weapon, and 8 Eyes is just similar to this game.
Enjoyment: People aren't THAT enthusiastic about watching this game, but if you're playing it solo, then the music, challenge, and gameplay are good enough to keep you entertained. Now, let's just hope the Reapter doesn't get you with his multitude of scythes.
Challenge: Wow. While the challenge isn't paced very well (namely the first 3 stages are easy-normal, while the last 3 step up the challenge a GREAT deal), it is still a great game. The bosses seem a little too unbalanced, though. While the Vampire bat is easy to take care of, and Medusa might give you SOME problems, the mummies, Reaper, and Frankenstein & Igor will give you nightmares. Let me just suggest that you hit Igor first (stunning him), THEN go after the big guy.
Ending: I like the credits. It shows that the programmers don't have to take their jobs THAT seriously.
This game is great. It's a VERY faithful port from the arcades, with an original plot and great weapons. The monsters and bosses are VERY diverse, and well drawn, but a little bland in coloring (in my humble opinion), as was Simon. Overall, though, this is a GREAT game, and if you don't own it, I suggest you buy it. Now. GO NOW!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/14/00, Updated 04/14/00
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