Review by Vegita

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 11/01/99

An exceptional game for an exceptional system.


Sound Effects:10/10
Originality: 7/10
Play Control:10/10
Group Enjoyment: 4/10
Individual Enjoyment:10/10
Challenge: 6/10
Overall: 9/10

Good Points:
This game is simply amazing. The first Castlevania game to come to the Super Nintendo, and boy did it generate a lot of attention. Utilizing all of the new technology it could, Castlevania 4 is still considered one of the greatest video games of all time.

You play as Simon Belmont in this one, the protagonist of the first two Castlevania games, and the Gameboy incarnations. Simon has thwarted Dracula’s attempts at taking over the countryside on several occasions, so he’s used to what’s coming. The basic story line for this game is told in the game’s intro: Dracula waits every 100 years to resurface and try to retake the land, each time being stopped by one of the Belmont clan. As shown, lightning strikes the gravestone of Dracula, releasing his terror upon the land of Translyvania again. At once, Simon sets off, along with the family whip, and all the courage he can muster, to destroy the evil demon once and for all!

Simon has the standard equipment of all the games: tight-fitting leather armor, the whip, his courage, and whatever he finds on the in candles or the remains of enemies he has slain. He picks up the standard weapons of the Belmont clan to aid him in his quest to destroy Dracula (at least, temporarily, so there can be more sequels!). The Dagger flies fast and furious, the axe arcs up and away, the Boomerang flies straight ahead, then comes back, the Holy water sets fire to the ground it occupies, and the cross destroys all the unholy enemies within its range. Simon can also pick up the intertwined serpents item to increase his whip to a chain whip, then another to upgrade it to the full morning star.

This game didn’t introduce any new weapons, but it did create a new defensive item. Just like the previous games, there was the jar of invisibility, which rendered you invisible and invincible for a few seconds, and the pork chop, which restored a portion of your life. This Castlevania incarnation created the leg of lamb, which was smaller than the pork chop, and restored less life, but was more frequently, and could even be dropped by an enemy! As a bonus, Simon can even whip in any direction he wants. You can aim up, down, left, right, or diagonal. You can even hold the attack button down, and continue to swing the whip in any direction you see fit, giving Simon the ability to destroy any object that is coming for him.

On a graphics level, this game is truly amazing. The bosses are large and well animated, the regular enemies look like they did on the 8-bit system, but more well drawn and colored, and the scenery and backgrounds are awesome. The beginning of the first stage takes you to the drawbridge of the gatehouse, with the gigantic Skull Rock looming in the distance. Other stages include the Gallery, with sinister paintings attacking you; the dungeon, where the less fortunate souls have come alive again to destroy the newcomer; the clock tower, where Simon must ride gigantic gears to the top, and more. This game uses the ability to rotate objects everywhere, where sometimes it’s a boss moving around, and sometimes it’s the entire room, while Simon’s left dangling by his whip in the center!

The sounds in this game are awesome. There are sounds of creatures coming alive, sounds of creatures dying, sounds of things moving, opening, closing, fighting, etc. There are even several sound effects for Simon dying (a simple hit, falling, falling with an echo, etc.)

The music for this game is superb. The beginning stage features a haunting melody, accentuating the dismal decay of everything about you. The dungeon features a sort of tribal drumbeat, giving you the chills. This game also featured some music from previous Castlevania games, revamped (get it? Nevermind...) so as to sound even better. The last run up to Dracula’s chamber has some of the eeriest music I’ve ever heard. Kudos to the writer on this one!

The play control is simply some of the best ever. Simon has the normal abilities he had before (whip, jump, duck, throws special items). Simon also has even more neat attack abilities, such as the aforementioned whip abilities, and the ability to throw special weapons without having to hold up and press the B button (because the Super Nintendo has added buttons). He can also crawl along the ground, jump onto and off of a staircase instead of having to walk all the way up or down it, and even the ability to whip “rings” located in various places, and hang from them or swing across large gaps. These only make things easier for you and your quest.

The classic elements of the game are still here, with all the old enemies (zombies, skeletons, bats, skeletal dragons, etc.) and new ones (the baseball bat-swinging demon, wall archers, gargoyles, etc.) meshing together to form an awesome game. Even some of the old bosses reappear in this one: The Mummy, Medusa, The Grim Reaper, The Monster (a.k.a. Frankenstein), and Dracula himself. Along with new arch-demons (The Giant Gargoyle, Koranot, Fred Askaire and Paula Abghoul, etc.), this game is a very tough to beat (on a marketing level). Replay value for this game is great, because it’s always fun to go back and see how awesome it looks, sounds, plays, and feels. If you’re considering renting this game, don’t bother. Just go ahead and buy it, man!

Bad Points:
Actually, there aren’t any, really. If any, it’d be that the game is a tad too easy at first, but then you reach the dungeon, and an occasional bat shows up and stops you from crossing the disappearing bridge.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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