Review by Megaman1981

"Where's the Grim Reaper?"

Castlevania is one of the oldest game series in the history of gaming. The series became an instant hit with the original Castlevania on the NES. Many sequels later, Castlevania arrived for the first time in 3D on the N64. While not an instant success, the game sold well enough for a sequel. I played all of the original games on the NES, Castlevania Chronicles, the two N64 Castlevania's, Symphony of the Night, Lament of Innocence, and Curse of Darkness. Many years ago Nintendo games were being made for the Game Boy as well. The first Game Boy Castlevania was decent, but in all a pretty average game.

The big difference with this Castlevania game is that it isn't like Symphony of the Night. There are no RPG elements to the game, nor are there any adventuring levels like in the N64 Castlevania games. The game is basically modeled to be just like the original Castlevania games on the NES. Your character must get from point A to point B, and then defeat the level boss. The basic weapon system has your character using a whip. There are no sub-weapons like in the other Castlevania games. Also, while other Castlevania games have a mix of platforming elements in them, this game is all about tricky and difficult platform jumps.

All in all, this game is pretty difficult, thanks in part to the fact that you only have three lives, and the fact that each level is very long. If you die at the end of the level, then you will have to start the level again. What also makes the game difficult is the fact that your character moves very very slowly. Another difficult element is the weapon system. You can collect a chain whip and then a flame whip; both of which make you a fighting machine. The problem is if you take a hit from an enemy, you will lose your whip upgrade (Super Mario Bros. anyone?) and revert back to your main whip which really is a terrible main weapon. On a brighter note, the bosses aren't that difficult to beat! How difficult is the game? The third level is covered all in spikes, and the walls which have spikes on them will try and crush you for the entire level. The controls for your character is about on par with the first Castlevania game for the NES.

The graphics are okay. Everything is in black and white, but the graphics aren't that bad at all. The music is like every Castlevania game, excellent. The story is pretty weak. Christopher Belmont sets out on a quest to defeat Count Dracula. Pretty basic storyline; much like many of the earlier Castlevania games. One interesting fact is that the stories in the Castlevania games got a lot better soon after this game came out.

The replay value is lacking. There are only four stages; forest, cave, spike tower, and Dracula's castle. The game can be beaten fairly quickly, but the difficulty does drag the game down a bit. In all, this isn't the worst Castlevania game I have ever played, but it isn't the best either. I'd say that Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and this game are my least favorite Castlevania games.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 02/16/06

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