Review by PickHut
"Boom Goes the Dynamite!"
In writing, Super Castlevania IV sounded like a game that was superior to its predecessors: it was bigger, Simon was more flexible, and it was pretty lengthy. Unfortunately, that didn't translate into a good game. There were a lot of opportunities to make things right, but the developers didn't go for it. In the end, what you get is something that's not terrible, but you could tell it could've been a great title if they went the distance. Well, thank goodness for Castlevania: Dracula X. Now that's a great game.
Now that Simon had the ability to whip his..... whip in several directions and attach itself to hooks, you would've expected Konami to make good use of this new feature, right? Well, in the first stage, they give you a couple of hooks to swing on, but that's basically it. For the following stages, there's not much use for this new attachment move besides simple "challenges" that require you to swing to the platform that's closely in front of you (of course, far enough to miss with a simple jump). There's this bizarre instance during the middle of the game that requires you to hang on to a hook while a room slowly rotates, but that's hardly anything to get excited about. However, towards the end of SCIV, the number of hooks that appear increase dramatically, and the way you use them are somewhat interesting. But you'll be disappointed that they waited till the very end to put this gimmick to some good use, instead of being spread across the whole game.
Nothing great happens for the first half of SCIV. It was hard to stay interested at times, mainly because the game doesn't even try to challenge you. All I remember doing was jumping on simple platforms, killing stupid enemies that appear on screen (it seemed like they were chilling out than posing a threat), and walking through a bunch of areas that could've been filled with tough obstacles. One example of this is the stage where you had to walk through a stream that changed directions every once in a while, and there were some spikes placed around that you had to jump over. Sadly, there were only two or three spikes, so all you did in that area was walk forward and whip anything that appeared. SCIV is filled with filler moments like this. It's also sad that a little frog happens to be the most difficult thing during the first half. I was expecting it to walk towards me like everyone else. But instead, it hopped around like crazy, being a difficult little booger and draining my life in the process. I mean, really, what the hell?
Man, this was just flat out lazy on Konami's part. About 70/80 percent of the enemies you encounter are skeletons. They may be slightly different in appearance and attacks, like the skeleton that can throw a bone.... and the golden skeleton that uses a sword.... and another that uses a whip..... but they're all skeleton encounters in the end. Hell, there's even a giant, skeleton head boss that takes you on. Too bad it's pathetically easy to defeat (just keep whipping it and dodge some falling rocks), like the majority of the boss fights (you SUCK, Frankenstein!). The other enemies that make their short-lived appearances are actually interesting, at least. Coffins will come after you when you pass them, two blobs of light will bounce around the screen, making your life a living annoyance, and you'll even fight ghost dancers at one point in this title. However, the skeletons will quickly rear their ugly heads again once these rare sightings disappear.
Surprisingly, the game actually kicks the difficulty up a notch once you get to the halfway mark. Getting from one point to another requires some skill and enemies give you quite a beating at times. This sudden change in SCIV's gameplay actually encourages you to play to the end. It's all fine and dandy at first, but things quickly turn sour. The game just keeps going, and going, and going.... never stopping. There were a lot of moments I felt the game was about to end, but then Konami decided to put me through more stages. It was like this at the castle; I thought I was at the end of my journey when I got to stages VIII and IX, until I found out I had to go through more stages with letters instead of roman numerals. By the time I had to go up against the various bosses in the last stage, I about had it with this title.
Super Castlevania IV, one of the many "Super" games released on the SNES, once again pitted Simon Belmont (supposedly over a hundred years old now thanks to the screwed up storyline) against that dude that never dies (aka Dracula). But this time, oh, baby, this time it had to be harder, better, faster, stronger. It had to be...... what's that word..... ah, yes, SUPER. Did Konami succeeded? Enough babbling, let's get to the actual review!
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 06/17/06
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