Review by Tarrun

"Finally, A Game Boy Castlevania Worth Playing!"

For anyone who's played Castlevania: The Adventure, it's easy to feel hesitant about paying money for another Game Boy Castlevania. The first game was terrible, anyone could see that, and apparently, someone at Konami did. After realizing what a horrible mistake the game was, a team was set up to make a new Castlevania for the Game Boy, to right what they had wronged. Thankfully, they succeeded, and Belmont's Revenge is not only the best Game Boy Castlevania, but it's also an amazing addition to the Castlevania series.

Belmont's Revenge is a direct sequel to CV: The Adventure, taking place fifteen years after the said game. After Dracula's defeat by the hand of Christopher Belmont, the retiring Vampire Hunter, has been training his son, Solieyu, to become the new Hunter. As Solieyu's fifteenth birthday is nearing, the ceremony to hand down the Vampire Killer from father to son is nearing; however, trouble is brewing. Somehow, Dracula has managed to come back from his century long sleep early, and he's out for revenge against Christopher. The night before the ceremony for Solieyu is to take place, Dracula kidnaps the young Belmont, forcing the aging Christopher back into action to rescue his son and defeat the Count once more.

The graphics in Belmont's Revenge have been improved upon, although there's less detail then there was in Castlevania: The Adventure; only because Belmont's Revenge is longer, so there isn't as much extra space for detail. That being said, some of the backgrounds are quite memorable; the horse-mounted skeletons and chapel in the first section of Castle Dracula, and the skeletons with scythes are simply amazing.

One of the only good parts about Castlevania: The Adventure was the music, and nothing has changed in that department. While the soundtrack lacks anything familiar, it makes up for it with new, interesting tunes like Psycho Warrior and Original Sin, my favorite track in the game.

Instead of throwing you into the action like the other games in the series have, Belmont's Revenge takes the Mega Man theme by allowing you to choose which levels you wish to complete in any order. It doesn't go as far as Mega Man did by granting weapons to make other levels easier, in fact, it doesn't benefit you at all no matter how you beat them, but it was an interesting idea. The four castles, Rock, Plant, Air, and Crystal, need to be beaten first before you're allowed to enter Castle Dracula itself, which are made up of another two levels before the fight with Dracula. Like some of the other Castlevania games, Belmont's Revenge shows off what the Game Boy can do; rivers reverse flow as you travel through them and floors break away as you travel over them. Also, in one level, Christopher has to kill a group of spiders and then use their webs to traverse across a long gap, and yet another has him climbing up ropes being pulled by gears, which change direction, forcing Christopher to jump to another rope before being crushed by a gear. Even more interesting are the rooms the become dark when you whip the candelabras in them, and who could forget sliding down a series of ropes while spikes close in to skewer Christopher.

If you compare Belmont's Revenge to Castlevania: The Adventure, the former seems ridiculously easy; which is both true and false. While I'd be lying if I said that Belmont's Revenge was harder than its predecessor, the game's challenge comes from thinking out strategies for bosses and enemies. If you're into intense action, you might get bored with the first four levels, but fear not, the Bone Dragon, Solieyu, and Dracula are more than enough to make up for the mediocre challenge of the first part of the game. I found that beating Solieyu takes more luck than anything, and you need to memorize Dracula's patterns perfectly in order to survive. It does become a bit frustrating with Solieyu, but eventually you'll be able to defeat him.

Like Castlevania: The Adventure, the levels in Belmont's Revenge are long, except now there is a halfway point in every level, so even if you get game over you begin there. The impossible jumps are long gone; the one time I died from a jump was my own mistake, which is more than a relief after the horrors I've lived through. In a surprise move, the sub-weapons have returned, even if it's only the axe and holy water; as well as meat, although both are pretty hard to come by. The whip is exactly the same as it was before, and the morning star symbols are as rare as the sub-weapons are. Speaking of the whip, for the most part, the downgrading system has been abolished; there's only one enemy that can still downgrade it. Coincidently, it's the Punaguchis that made your life hell in Castlevania: The Adventure.

Unfortunately, there still aren't any stairs, but at least the ropes have been improved upon. Now, Christopher can whip left or right to protect himself, and he can also slide down ropes at a quicker pace. Staying on the subject of speed, Christopher has at least doubled in walking speed. Sure, he still isn't as fast as say, Juste or Simon Belmont; he's at least at a fast walk.

In short, Belmont's Revenge is one of those games that doesn't get the credit it deserves; it takes everything that was bad in Castlevania: The Adventure and fixes it, which is always nice. Knowing that game developers actually try to make their games good instead of throwing something together because it will sell anyway because of a name. Belmont's Revenge is an amazing game, by fixing everything wrong with its predecessor and adding a Mega Man style with classic Castlevania action, it really makes the game fun to play. Even if the game is a bit difficult to find, it's well worth the ten dollars it usually goes for.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/07/04, Updated 08/07/04

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