Review by dtm666

"Good ports of classic NES games - who needs extras?"

Released in late-2002, Konami Collector's Series: Castlevania & Contra contains the early NES releases of their two franchise video game series: Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Contra, and Super C. Since this is a compilation, there's no point in reviewing the specific aspects of the package, such as graphics and gameplay, since each one has its own specific. If you are curious about the actual games themselves, I'll sum up each game in a couple lines.

CASTLEVANIA: The original has fair gameplay with a good soundtrack and great 1987-ish graphics. Notorious for its difficulty and the inability to fight on stairs properly, but overcoming both has its rewards. 9/10

CASTLEVANIA II: Repetitive backdrops and uninspired A.I. brings the score down a bit. However, the fact that the game is non-linear and the soundtrack is pretty good (although somewhat limited) balances the whole thing out. 7/10

CASTLEVANIA III: Considered by many to be one of the best games in the series. Besides the excellent graphics and music score, the ability to ''morph'' into other characters, almost non-linear paths, and the general longetivity is proof of that claim. 9/10

CONTRA: Challenge may seem overwhelming but there's that 30-man code if you can figure it out. Pseudo-3D behind-the-back levels are a nuisance. Graphics and sound are average at best, but this was originally an arcade game. 6/10

SUPER C: Better looking game than before. The difficulty is a little more balanced out but is still present. I missed those pseudo-3D levels... no I don't. This is a little better. 7/10

In retrospect, all of the games are based on the North American versions of the NES releases, which is either a good thing or bad thing depending on your point of view. Everything is converted nicely with nothing but the Nintendo references left out. There are a couple of minor changes here and there, but nothing particularly noticeable.

In addition, you have the ability to save your progress at any point in the game... sort of like an emulator. You can also load your saved state on the fly... sort of like an emulator.

Regretfully, there are no extras in this package. No special features, no extra additions, no art galleries, no interviews, no ad campaign, no nothing. Many people see this as a turn-off, because they're essentially paying for nothing more than five Nintendo games that are straight ports and not enhanced in any way. However, the lack of extras present isn't really much of a loss, especially since I paid money for the games, not to see art galleries with little or no relevance to the core product or some boring interview with generic designer about some future project that may or may not emerge. Extras are nothing more than dressing that is rarely (if ever) touched upon and if you are more interested in extras rather than the core product itself, I suggest you go buy a DVD movie. Besides, there isn't much in terms of content they could add that you can't find on the Internet anyway, so why bother?

This is a fairly decent compilation that is worth buying if you're a fan of either the Castlevania or Contra games. If you're new to either series and have a pretty decent PC, this package is a good introduction. If you're looking for extras, look elsewhere.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/09/03, Updated 07/09/03


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