Review by Centurion

"The crappy case of Super Simon."

Alas, the deceitful battle between good vs. evil strikes again. More of a “remake” than a brand new adventure, the courageous Simon Belmont must stand face-to-face with the deadly and frightening Dracula once more, only to discover a dramatic increase in his overall performance. While braving through Dracula’s Castle to confront with the evil himself is an absolute necessity, Simon must now travel through greater obstacles and dangers that lie ahead of him. Instead of appearing in front of the Count’s Castle immediately, Simon is required to traverse through dangerous and malevolent mansions, treacherous underground caves, and a dark and gloomy forest. At first glance, these obstacles might have been a little too much for the Belmont, but in actuality, the transition to the Super Nintendo must have given Simon some glorious and unique new powers. I, detective Centurion, shall now mention these new powers I’ve discovered from this “Super Simon” creature.

A multiple enemy onslaught is no longer a fear for the courageous hero, as Simon is now equipped with a beautiful, steel whip, capable of traveling in eight different directions when unleashed, including vertically and diagonally. Simon can easily watch now, as magnificent medusa heads fly above him in an up-and-down motion, only to unleash his whip straight above his head to destroy these pesky suckers. You see, death-defying leaps and dodges are no longer required for Simon to execute, since he can now use his whip to crush any foe from anywhere on the screen.

Of course, after realizing Simon’s powerful multi-directional whip, Dracula’s minions had a different tactic up their sleeves. Instead of entirely focusing on a head-on collision with the Belmont, only to be injured by his powerful whip, some enemies, such as Bone Dragons, decided to attack with a projectile flame, in hopes of avoiding Simon’s direct attacks. Pretty smart, eh? Well, it seems that Simon isn’t the man we thought he was before once again, since he can now twirl his mighty ‘ol whip like a shield in the air to block anything coming his way. As you can see, Dracula’s minions are no longer a heavy threat to Simon, since his whip can easily destroy the mightiest of all foes with ease, and thus, greatly reducing the difficulty of his entire escapade. Furthermore, Simon’s whip has other practical uses other than for battle. With the help of special hooks suspended in mid-air, Simon can swing across endless gaps with his whip, Indiana Jones-style.

While Simon’s whip has tremendously increased in power, he can still use his trusty Warakiya Weapons, such as the cross, axe, and holy water, located throughout his adventure. Conversely, this time around, Simon is a bit perplexed when using this weaponry. As a result of the superiority of his steel whip, the Warakiya Weapons are more obsolete, and thus, are less valuable whenever he obtains them.

In conclusion, Simon Belmont’s whip alone has tremendously increased in strength, but why exactly? I have thoroughly researched this mission and have landed three possible explanations.

First, Simon might have decided to work intensively on upgrading his whip, simply so he could gaze the graphical beauty of the environments around him, or maybe himself, actually. He probably realized how much more detailed and clear his appearance was this time around, so he decided to concentrate more on his looks rather than his main mission. In addition, instead of focusing on the rough battles ahead, Simon decided to go a little sightseeing along his adventure. He easily ventured under the beautiful forest canopy in the second stage, as well as experiencing an enjoyable ride along the clear, rushing waters. Traveling through a cave full of stalactites and stalagmites in the third stage is still not a match for Super Simon, experiencing only minor problems battling the immense Bone Pillars and Mudmen. Emerging from the visually beautiful cave, it seemed like Simon had finally encountered some troubles, as he was greeted by massive amounts of angry Bone Dragons, prepared to rip his flesh off. However, Simon was once again victorious, as he continued to view the beautiful sights of this submerged city, after firing his whip in every direction the dragons breathed their flames at him.

In Stage 4, the Belmont once again had no major problems, as the weak skeletons and knights were no match for his steel wonder. Furthermore, after terrorizing a giant skull with Simon’s vertical and diagonal attacks, he was treated to a pleasant ride, where he suspended onto a hook, only to experience the entire room revolving around 90 degrees twice. While traveling through the hallways of Dracula’s Castle, Simon was immediately stunned, as he continued to gaze at the marvelous statues, after annihilating every axe knight with ease. The library and art gallery was another graphical wonder, as towering bookshelves and creepy paintings populated the entire screen. Super Simon courageously battled all the creatures in this stage, only to be greeted by a terrorizing Knight at the end. Once again, with his trusty whip, this maniac proved to be no match for him. After this critical battle, Simon was venturing through an underground cellar and treasury, inhabited with dangerous acid dripping from the ceiling, and mountains of gold, respectively. Finally, no adventure would be complete without a trip through an ‘ol Clock Tower, complete with beautiful and detailed gears to view in both the background and foreground.

Second, I’m not positively sure, but Simon must have made preparations in advance, since he was certain he would experience more dangers traveling across branching paths to Dracula’s Castle. You see, unlike his ancestor’s adventure in Castlevania III, where Trevor could choose multiple paths to travel through, as well as allying with new people, these features are completely nonexistent here. Well, I guess Simon was wrong here, since his adventure is completely linear and solo. This is a major disappointment from its predecessor, since replay value is dramatically decreased because of this.

The final reason why I think Simon needed to upgrade his whip is so he could listen to the fabulous tunes played during every stage, and thus, making it easier for him to breeze by all enemies. Well, maybe it’s impossible for him, but still, it is still an aspect to be considered in this adventure. In honesty, Super Castlevania IV probably contains the most remarkable tunes for a Super Nintendo game. In stage 1, the solemn, captivating music of the “Theme of Simon” can seriously keep you motivated to complete the entire game. The “Pillared Corridor” and “Bloody Tears” tracks played in the library and the first part of the clock tower respectively will vivify your eardrums with their sweet, pleasant tunes. Finally, Simon is greeted by a beautiful return of the “Vampire Killer” track in the second part of the Clock Tower.

Well, it seems like my lousy work here is done. Whether or not my theories were meager, at least everyone can realize that Simon has dramatically changed in this Castlevania installment. Not only is his appearance more detailed to the human eye, his power is incredible, capable of destroying any of Dracula’s minions with ease, as well as ruining your overall enjoyment with the lack of difficulty. Super or not, this installment is still worthy of being a Castlevania.

Final Score – 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 07/27/03, Updated 07/29/03

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