Review by Larcen Tyler
"Vampire hunters wanted, only limited spaces available, apply ASAP!"
In a time where many have tried to put the Castlevania series into three dimensions, only to utterly fail (OK, not that many, but still) those who are fans of the series should be glad to know there is a classic two dimensional game which, had it not been for the generous minds at Konami, we may have never seen unless we were importers. While at first glance it may seem like the first game, there are new tidbits that you won't find in the previous games!
The game was originally released on a 16-bit computer known as X68000 (only available in Japan) so the graphics are slightly dated by today's standards. However, the game also offers an enhanced mode with new cinematic sequences rendered in beautiful 32-bit graphics! Even if the actual game is just two dimensional, it's still all the classic whip snapping excitement you'd expect from Simon Belmont!
Some of the tunes you'll hear are remixed from the original Castlevania games on the NES, and you can listen to them in 16-bit or with an orchestral theme to them, either of which gives the Castlevania series a more spooky theme than ever. Other sound effects, like the sound of the whip cracking, monsters being destroyed, and even the groan Simon makes when he's hit by an enemy give the game that classic Castlevania feel!
Simon has the ability to whip vertically as well as horizontally, making things a little easier than they were previously (save for Super Castlevania IV.) He can still gain special weapons, including the stopwatch, fire bomb, and the dagger. New additions include a healing item which, at the cost of hearts, will restore your health, which saves the pressure of looking for a hidden pork chop, albeit the fact it is kind of rare!
Another positive tidbit is the fact that you can save your game at the end of each block (three stages = one block) meaning you don't always have to start from scratch every time you play.
Although there aren't many differences between the two modes (Normal and Enhanced,) you can unlock a time attack mode once you finish the game, allowing you to test your vampire whipping skills in your favorite block of the game without being able to continue. See how fast you can finish that block before falling prey to one of the creatures of the darkness!
If you're a Castlevania fan, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this game soon, as only a limited quantity of these will be made, and once they're gone, they're gone for good! If you're smart, you'll whip up a copy of this game before it has to return to the coffin forever!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/03/02, Updated 01/03/02
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