Super Castlevania IV
Review by JRedmond3
"Greatest Castlevania Ever? Nowhere Close"
I've heard this game being toted as the greatest Castlevania of the series. Since I didn't own a Super Nintendo during it's initial run, as I had a Genesis, it wasn't until after the year 2000 that I finally got to play this game. After playing and beating the game, I have to say that I was disappointed.
Graphics - 6/10 -
Okay, for the time this game came out these graphics were probably some of the most impressive on the system. It was, after all, released in December of 1991, just under six months after the launch of the Super Nintendo. Some of the effects present are quite impressive and the enemies are fairly unique. There's no getting around the fact that this is an ugly game though. It's not very colorful, everything has a dull and earthy hue to it. Even the NES Castlevania's seemed to have more life to them than this.
Controls - 9/10 -
Nothing much to complain about here. This game introduced some innovative features with the whip that weren't seen again until Symphony of the Night. Unlike the limited forward strike of the previous games, in Castlevania 4 the whip can strike in 8 directions. Also present is the ability to "flail" your whip around by holding in the button, but the damage it inflicts is reduced greatly. Though the controls are a unique innovation, they actually hamper Castlevania IV in some ways.
Gameplay and Design - 6.5/10 -
Here's where the game falls a bit flat, in my opinion. Anyone who has played a Pre-Symphony of the Night Castlevania can definitely tell you one of the main attributes of the series, difficulty. Unfortunately, there's not much of a challenge to be found in Castlevania IV. The first 9 stages could all be mixed up and based on the ease at which they can all be completed you couldn't really tell a difference. It's not until the last few stages that the game becomes even remotely difficult. This isn't something I would necessarily complain about if this was just a random game, but it's Castlevania.
Part of the reason for the lack of challenge stems from the new whip enhancements. I would imagine that any of the older Castlevanias would be made drastically easier if you had the abilities from this game. Castlevania IV should have required you to make full use of the new whip, but it didn't. Most of the boss fights can be reduced to a simple matter of trading blows.
Music - 10/10 -
A challenge, great music, and a fight with Dracula at the end. At least Konami managed to get two out of the three right. The original music here is more ambient than most of the other games in the series. Of course a few "remixes" of classic tracks are also present. If there's one reason to buy the game this is definitely it.
Overall - 7/10 -
This is by no means a bad game. Unfortunately, it's by no means a great game either, and it certainly isn't the greatest Castlevania.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/01/09
Game Release: Super Castlevania IV (US, December 1991)
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