Review by Jack

"This is Castlevania at its best!"

Ah, Castlevania. I love this series. It is my absolute FAVORITE 2-D action series. What sets Castlevania apart from the crowd is that it was probably the first game to have dark, gothic themes. In every Castlevania game, you play as someone from the Belmont family, and their duty is to defeat Count Dracula. Count Dracula rises every 100 years to spread fear and terror over Transylvania. The Belmonts are the only ones who can defeat Dracula, becuase they are vampire hunters. Super Castlevania IV was the first Castlevania game for Super Nintendo, and it caused people to drop their jaws in awe at the game. SCIV (Super Castlevania IV for short) was one of the first games to show what the SNES could do. Even I, being a little 2nd grader when I first played it, dropped my jaws at the awesome Golem boss who filled the whole screen. The music was incredible at its time, and still is. The graphics were some of the best ever on the SNES. And the control was the best ever in any Castlevania game.

Gameplay - This is SCIV's strongest part. Most heroes in games have guns or swords... but in SCIV, the main character's weapon is a leather whip. Now, you start out with a leather whip, but you can upgrade it if you get the Morning Star symbols. The first Morning Star symbol you collect will change your leather whip into a chain one, so it will cause more damage. The second Morning Star symbol will vastly increase the length of your whip.

You can use other weapons, also. The whip is your main weapon, while these weapons are your sub-weapons: Ax, Holy Water, Cross Boomerang, Dagger, and the Clock. You collect sub-weapons by hitting candles with your whips. Now, the sub-weapons are thrown, ya see. Since they are thrown, you have a limited amount. Well, you can increase the amount by collecting Hearts. Small hearts will give you 1, while Big Hearts will give you 5. All of the weapons are different and have their strengths and weaknesses. The Ax, for example, is great against flying creatures becuase it is thrown upwards in the air, but it is weak against grounders because aiming is tougher. Each weapon takes away 1 heart from usage, but the Clock will take away more, becuase it freezes all enemies.

Basically, you must fight your way through MANY stages ( Don't worry, there is a password feature! ) in order to get to Drac. Each stage has a boss, except stage 5. The bosses range from Medusa to a huge Zombie Knight in armor. If ya want variety in enemies, you got it. The most standard enemy you will find is the Skeleton. There are many versions of the skeleton. The standard white ones throw bones, the red ones will revive after you hit them, the ones with armor will take more hits than the normal ones, and the ones with whips can take more hits also. There are many other enemies, including the Medusa Head, Zombies, Ghosts, and Ax Knights.

Story - As explained before, Dracula raises once every 100 years. It's up to someone in the Belmont family to stop him. Well, this time around it is up to Simon to stop him. Of course, everyone knows that Castlevania I and II starred Simon, so Castlevania IV, story-wise, is just a remake of Castlevania I. Don't fret, the stages have been completely redone, and there are new stages. In fact, don't even compare Super Castlevania IV to Castlevania, becuase Super Castlevania IV is way better than the first one. Once a Belmont defeats Drac, he goes back to sleep, and he will rise again after 100 years.

Audio/Video - Castlevania has always had incredible music. Even the Nintendo games had some nice music. Well, Super Castlevania IV has some of the best music you'll ever hear on the Super Nintendo. In fact, it is one of its strongest points. The music isn't as varied as it is in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but it is still very good. Most of the music are remixes from older Castlevanias, but there are some new tracks. As always, the Clock Tower music is some of the best.

The graphics are awesome. This was the last Castlevania game to have the dark, gothic look. Of course, later Castlevanias still had some freaky enemies, but SCIV had the scariest. The Zombies look more menecing and the skeletons are taller and more realistic looking. An interesting fact is that the Japanese version of Super Castlevania IV was censored in the American release becuase it had blood and lots of religous symbols.

Replayability - OK, I'll be frank with you. Beating this game will not open up any extra modes. Instead, if you beat the game, you will restart on the first stage. A newer and harder version of the game will open up after beating it once. Enemies take more hits, they will cause more damage, and some enemies will appear on different stages. Think of it as a remixed version of Castlevania. Even though nothing new opens up, you will still want to play this incredible game just for the experience. This is one of those games that you will never get tired of.

To buy or to rent? - Everybody has to have this game. It's a simple as that. It is the best 2-D action game ever released for Super Nintendo, and it will always be. How can you not like this game? There really aren't any flaws. You can find it at a used bin at your local Babbage's or Electronics Botique. I'm sure the game will cost 5-10 bucks, tops. You will not regret buying this classic. It is an game that nobody should be without.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99

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