"Three Point Zero One"

While some people love this game and others despised it, I fell in the middle mark. I had enjoyed Castlevania on the NES and Castlevania: Bloodlines rocked liked Spinal Tap! Playing this title was a huge risk on my part, I had Nick Evil (someone who always seemed to nail the truth on the head) & bluberry telling me it sucked, but I had loads of credible sources telling me the exact opposite! So, since I had sources from both ends of the spectrum feeding information into my brain, I simply had to take a juicy bite into the neck of this title. (Ok, I promise I'll have no more vampire jokes in this review.)

Count Dracula is a persistent bastard. For someone, who's been dead for centuries and has been pimp-slapped by Simon Belmont three times, he still just won't quit. He's decided to get resurrected again to unleash his dark and possibly generic forces across all of Transylvania, prompting Simon Belmont to trek to his lair and give him the Devo treatment. It sounds like a walk in the park, only it's more like a walk through haunted gardens, troves of treasure, ancient underground ruins and a horrible rotating room which uses the tragic Mode7 engine. aka “the brain twister.” However, we shall laugh at that part a little later.

The fourth instalment of this series takes the classic method of play and glosses it over with 16-bit POWER!! Remember when you could only whip on one direction? Simon's new sex toy can now whip in a total of eight directions. Can you even name eight directions? The freedom of choice here is quite unique. With the whip, Simon can beat enemies into shape, connect onto hooks to swing to higher ground, and to smash open lanterns to grab hearts. For an unexplainable reason that has made Castlevania fans scratch their heads like chimps, these hearts do not give you health. Instead, they supplement your sub-weapons. Instead of using your whip to beat Dracula's ass, you can collect a number of secondary weapons which make your life a little easier. You can throw axes, knifes, holy water and even a use a stopclock to pause the game!

However, using this tool is for the truly idiotic. All of the enemies don't deserve all of this specialist treatment. Most of them either stand there waiting for you to kill them or run around in a predictable fashion. An enemy will slowly crawl towards you, giving you enough time to run around the block, make a Pot Noodle and complete Altered Beast before he actually poses a threat. With a long ranged whip and various longer-ranged weapons, you'd have to either very lazy or just plain dumb to get killed by anything in this game. While most bad guys really don't pose as much of a threat, the bosses are slightly more challenging. When I say slightly, it means that they're a bit faster and a little less predictable. For example, the dancing ghouls you face fly around in a boring predictable fashion. The mummy boss was a joke. He teleports from one end of the room to the other and throws one of most feeblest attempts of an attack ever. He even reappears in the same places all of the time! What the hell were they thinking? Other bosses simply rely on the old-fashioned “hammer on the attack button until they die” approach. Something that a two year old kid could accomplish!

While the game's visuals are pleasant enough, the use of Mode7 on one level is the only particular gripe I have. Mode7 was a joke, it looked bad then and it looks even worse now. The rotating chandeliers in the background of one the levels look like a rusty glitch., then you get another level where the |entire screen rotates. Was I the only one that got a swirling headache at that part? Whoever came up with that idea should be forced to listen to Mr. Bungle's epic suite The Bends at full volume for the rest of their lives!

While this game has its fun parts, the straightforward enemies are boring. Killing, like, forty knights and skeletons that pose little threat to you isn't that brilliant, neither is waiting in the same place which not only avoids all attacks from a boss, but gives you a clear shot of him, or pulverising the attack button into submission. While the game has a lot of things going for it, such as the varied whip system, numerous cool weapons and pretty looking levels (ignoring Mode7, of course.) the fact that it can get boring because I've had bigger challenges tying my shoelaces than I have had from Super Castlevania IV is a real downer.



The dancing ghouls on level six are called Paula Abghoul and Fred Ascare. This game gets a 3/10!

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 08/30/07

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