Review by RageBot
Reviewed: 10/26/11 | Updated: 10/27/11
Squeezed the most of the seemingly puny system.
Somewhere between the horrendous Castlevania: The Adventure and Castlevania Legends with its great plot, yet only average gameplay, comes this game. It is somewhat complementary to Legends, because its plot is quite basic, but the gameplay rocks. In everything concerning presentation, this game is way better than the other Gameboy Castlevania titles, and all in all, this might just be my favorite Gameboy game, following Super Mario Land 2. The latter has an unfair advantage anyway, because it is based on what could very possible the best platformer of all times.
Just like in Castlevania: The Adventure, you control Christopher Belmont. This game takes place 15 years after the first Gameboy adventure, and features a new Belmont to the lineage: Soleyu. While he is most likely Simon's father, there is no concrete evidence that points to that. He could theoretically be his uncle as well. This is the first time where a human is controlled in order to resurrect the Count, but it won't be the last time. The dark priest Shaft would copy this method two hundred years later, controlling Richter's mind.
Let's delve into the fickle one more time. To this day, nobody knows for sure if Dracula himself controls people's minds from the grave, or if it is one of his minions. A cult of Dracula's worshippers was exposed in Chronicles and Rondo of Blood, but they were only humans. After he had deceived Hector all along Curse of Darkness, I point my finger towards Death. He is an everlasting being with an unearthly mind and body. And Christopher didn't beat him fifteen years before this game, although that doesn't mean much after so many Castlevania games.
Anyway, whomever controls Soleyu's mind, put up four castles to serve as barriers around Castlevania. For the first and so far, only time in Castlevania history, you can choose the order in which you go through the first four stages. They are each made of an element of nature: Crystal, rock, plant and cloud. They all look different, but to my disappointment, all play the same. I would like it if Crystal Castlle had enemies made of crystals and slippery floors that makes platforming harder, Plant Castle was full of vines and spikes, etc.
The gameplay still has all the new things we encountered in The Adventure: Ropes to climb, rolling eyeballs that explode when hit, climbing spikes that shoot out horizontally from the walls, weird brain looking thingies that shoot orbs that ricochet diagonally, and only very little secrets to find. However, it's much better now. You are much quicker now and can jump platforms quite easily, the platforms themselves are wider and they never drop, although there are platforms that crumble under your feet. Best of all, there are subweapons! Only the holy water and the cross have made it to this game, but it's something and it includes what is inargueably considered the best subweapon. In the American versions, however, the axe replaces the cross.
This game is again like Castlevania 3, 4 and others, in the fact that you only enter the castle near the end of the game. However, there are only two stages inside it this time. The first is very tough, and in the end is a ryu (Asian dragon) that enters and exits the ceiling and floor, that are made out of dirt, as you run through a tunnel that is scrolling fast to the left. The second stage is shorter, and in the end you fight Soleyu, and then you are immediately thrown to a battle against The Count. He is much more doable here than in the first game, but there is only one form.
Alright, as usual, presentation time. This game looks AWESOME. The backgrounds all look amazing, with tiny little details polished like it was at least on the NES, and things like platforms and enemies look even better. Unfortunately, Christopher himself is still the lame Christopher from The Adventure, with his body that can't show much movement, even though he at least walks normally here, instead of his old man's pace from the last game. The soundtrack is extremely good, as usual, but just like the last time, no track has ever gotten a good remake to do it justice in a more capable console.
One last thing: Konami remade both the early Gameboy games in their Gameboy Color compilations. That means you can play both those games in color. Even the coloring looks much better in Belmont's Revenge: Everything looks like it should be, except for the ravens which are colored too bright a green. The Adventure is colored rather dull, using only basic red, yellow, green and purple. Many enemies are blended into the background, and it seems Konami didn't want to work again on this game, probably because it's so horrendous.
If you have a Gameboy, get this game, but it's too short to justify spending money on any console. It's decent enough a game, but it could have still been much better.
Final grade: 8.1/10
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (US, 08/31/91)
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