Review by RageBot
Trevor had been a bad, bad grandfather.
Wow. Never have I seen such a horrendous game, let alone forced myself to play it till the very end, swearing and screaming. This game is Castlevania: The Adventure for the Gameboy, another case of making mince meat out of a popular NES game, and shoving it up a handheld console. I have played Super Mario Land before, and it wasn't so hot either. But that game is based on an NES game I really love, and Castlevania: The Adventure is based on an NES game with many, many flaws, despite its nostalgic value.
Let's get right down to my main issue. Christopher Belmont, who is this game's Belmont, as well as Trevor's grandson and Simon's grandfather, walks very, very slowly, as if he is taking a walk down the park. What happened, had Trevor forgotten Dracula would rise up from the grave every century, or had he just been too busy making love to Sypha? Anyway, at times, you just have to walk and whip enemies, and those parts are fine. But when the time to make a series of jumps is at hand, the game suddenly turns from alright to exasperating. You must jump up very narrow ledges in perfection. When you fall, you must either do the whole jumps all over again, or lose 1 life and start the whole stage again. The wider platforms are even worse, because they fall once you are on them, so you have very little time to jump.
All is still well, until you get to stage 3. Oh my. During the whole stage, spikes either drop down on you from above, come from below, or from the right. There are enemies to harm and hinder you, tough jumps to jump, and places where you must move towards the spikes before you can proceed. During the part where the spikes come from below, you will find that you can't make a jump until enough of the screen is revealed. Many times have I jumped too early and couldn't reach the platform. That is so cheap! Oh, and if that wasn't obvious enough, if you touch a spike, you die. Good luck! Stage 4 is also filled to the brim with spikes, but they are stationary.
Surprisingly, the bosses are terribly easy. Stage 1 features an armored knight, whose range is only a bit longer than your whip's. Stage 2 features a series of little dinosaur-like creatures that drop from holes and jump around, but each die in one hit, and no more than two of them can occupy the screen at once. Stage 3 feature a gargoyle that could do you much harm, if only it didn't fly next to a ledge where you can stand a get free shots at ease.
And then comes the head honcho, and damn is he hard. Dracula has, as usual, two forms. The first teleports around the room, shooting fireballs, and the second one is a bat that flies around the top of the screen. Problem is, both his forms are so quick, and poor Christopher is so slow. For the first form, you can crouch in a place where the fireballs won't touch you, but the second from is merciless. The window of time when you can jump and hit the Count and not get hit by it is so slim, you'll be hit more often than not.
Before you ask, yes, there are only four stages. You basically HAVE to beat the game within an hour. Well, giving that this game can be used as a method of torture, I guess this is for the best. If I may use one of AVGN's popular quote: "I guess they decided that because this game is only four stages long, they had better be the hardest four stages ever".
This is the main problem that makes the game unplayable, but there are many, many more problems. First of all, it can barely be considered Castlevania. Stairways are replaced by ropes. There are no subweapons, although hearts remain (They restore health). The regular menagerie of undead horrors is gone. No zombies, no skeletons, no bone heads, no fleamen, no white dragons, no ghosts, NOTHING. Instead, make way for mudmen (They were not a part of the Castlevania army until Castlevania 3, that was released after this game), rolling eyes, dudes throwing boomerangs, and little dinosaurs!
The graphics also suck, but that is expected from the Gameboy. Everything is black and white, beneath 8-bit, very crude. The music is this game's one saving grace. All four tracks are awesome, even on Gameboy's poor quality, and it's a shame none of them has been used out of this game.
Other disappointing Castlevania games, except for the redundant Castlevania 64 and butchered port that is Dracula X, I recommend to at the very least try, if you're a fan, as they are decent enough as games, but a shame on the franchise. But not this one, no, this one is utter hell and is as fun as going to school on Monday morning after Christmas ends. Well, let's give it one point for the music.
Final grade: 2.3/10
Rating: 1.0 - Terrible
Product Release: Castlevania: The Adventure (US, 12/31/89)
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