"Konami's classic vampire hunting series makes the leap from 8 bit to 16 bit in style."

Castlevania IV was one of the very first games released for the Super Nintendo (around late 1991) and like it's NES predecessors it proudly caries on the vampire hunting tradition of Konami's classic series. This was also one of the first games I ever played on my Super NES and I must say I have fond memories of this little gem. And now onto the review.

In Super Castlevania IV you control Simon Belmont the vampire hunter. Your objective is to navigate through eleven stages full of Count Dracula's evil minions including water ways, a clock tower, dungeon, Bell tower, swamp, and many other creepy environments. Each stage has a powerful boss monster waiting at the end to confront you such as the skeletal horse back rider, orphic vipers, ghost knight, mummy, Slorga, and giant vampire bat. You are armed with a trusty chain whip which serves as your main means of fighting enemies but you will also have a wide variety of other useful weapons at your disposal including knives, axes, holy water, a crucifix, and a stop watch which freezes time. The play control is excellent in this game and when compared to the controls in many of the earlier Castlevania games it is clear that this game was a vast improvement in this area. The game is challenging in many stages but luckily is a lot of fun. The gameplay element is where it really counts in action games and Castlevania IV shines in this department.

The story is basically the same as the first Castlevania game, every one hundred years Dracula and his minions rise up and threaten the lively hood of the people of Transylvania. Luckily the Belmont family has always been prepared to defend the country against this threat by passing down the skills of vampire hunting from generation to generation. Simon Belmont is thus called upon to destroy Dracula. This story like the ones in most games of this genre is quite poor but fortunately story is not a major element to these kind of games.

The music is by far some of the most memorable music I have heard on the Super NES. With a great sound track of classic Castlevania tunes it is hard not to like the creepy music that fits so perfectly with the games atmosphere. I especially like the music in the first level, the clock tower, and the water ways. The graphics are equally impressive. Despite the fact that this was a very early Super NES game the visual aspect is very well done. Everything looks very detailed and color was used very well. However you look at it you can't deny that Konami knew what they were doing when they made this game.

This is the one area of this game that is often criticized by many gamers. This game is not as replay able as Castlevania II or Castlevania III because it does not have any hidden items to find or multiple path ways like it's predecessors had. They game is fun so you may find yourself playing through it again simply because of that but there is also a harder difficulty mode that can be accessed.

Definitely a must have for Super NES owners and Castlevania fans. It can be a little hard to track down a copy of Castlevania IV because of it's age of almost ten years (where does the time go) but fortunately it is usually not to expensive to buy. If you like great gameplay, graphics, sound, and sheer fun and entertainment than you can't go wrong with this game. And if you haven't already you should also give the other Castlevania games a try.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/29/01, Updated 09/29/01

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