"A classic, no doubt about it!"

I don't remember when the Castlevania series first saw the light of day, but even the first installment was very enjoyable. Here's why.
Control 7-10. All right, granted, the controls could be a bit funky at times, particularly when you were trying to make a particularly dangerous jump that could mean your life if not done correctly. Then while you were making that self same jump you had to watch your back, because enemies could sneak up on you. Since you move quite a bit when you get hit you can find yourself plunging to an early death if you're standing too close to a hole or a cliff and an enemy managed to score one on you.
Audio 10-10. I loved the music in this game so much that, though I do own the game, I went and searched the web until I had amassed a complete collection of this game's music in Midi format, from the first stage music to the final battle with Dracula to the end. Favorites of mine were the themes for all six stages, the little intro theme, the boss music and the final battle theme. The SFX are NES SFX, but they're good ones. You'll immediately recognize the sound of Simon taking damage from games such as Kung Fu Heroes, (that was the ownly cool sound in that game), and incidentally that sound is used in all three NES Castlevania games. The victory theme, or should I say the two victory themes, are also very neat. Yes, Dracula's got a death theme all his own. And would you believe it? He's also got a theme for the room leading right up to the battle with him, and it's not even the normal stage 6 theme! The ending theme is a little bit on the sorrowful side, although I may just use that word for lack of a better word. It does have kind of a sorroful/hopeful feel to it, as of a vengeful warrior's long journey at last reaching its end.
Story 10-10. Ah, sweet revenge! They say that revenge is a dish that is best served cold. You play the role of young Simon Belmont, who journeys to Dracula's castle to avenge the curse on his family, which can only be accomplished by destroying the vampire in a one-on-one battle. But first ya gotta get there. The enemies and bosses will make a very good try at preventing you from achieving your goal. Basically, watch your back!
Overall 10-10. This series has always had excellent music and storyline. I can't say that for control, since Castlevania III was a bit disappointing in that area, but the series is still definitely a must-have. The excellent storyline and equally excellent music and sounds will in some ways make up for any funky controls. And who knows. You might suffer an urge to go find the MIDI files from this series for when you don't want to play the game but do want to treat your ears to its excellent tunes.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/03/01, Updated 03/01/03

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