Review by DarkSaiyan20

"If own a Super NES don't be without this one."

It's now about twelve years after the initial release and Super Castlevania IV is still one of the most talked about 16-bit era classics. It's held in such high regard that it competes with Symphony of the Night for popularity despite the fact that they are two completely different games. Regardless, anyone who owns a Super NES no doubt owns this classic. While not adding much in the way of innovation or new features to the series the gameplay, graphics, and music are still enough to keep fans satisfied. Unfortunately for us North American gamers we have to settle for the censored version thanks to Nintendo's anti-violence policy of the early 90s. Most remember that attitude being responsible for the butchering of the first Mortal Kombat. Not many know it started before that. I guess it all makes sense since Nintendo was always geared toward the younger audience. But as we got older that audience grew up and Nintendo became more lenient. But anyway here I go rambling on so I better get back to the introduction. So being censored and lacking innovation, nothing was taken away from this classic. Sadly until Symphony of the Night was released we didn't see a Castlevania title with the same level of quality. However the following releases were good games in their own right and just didn't meet the very high bar that Super Castlevania IV raised. Anyway let's get on with this review and see how it all turned out.

Story - 8/10
Not really much of a sequel in this department. Super Castlevania IV attempts to retell the story of Simon Belmont's first battle with Dracula. So as we see it's the same thing as the original Castlevania. Only this time we see Simon battle his way to Dracula's doorstep as opposed to just showing up and killing every demon in sight. Kinda interesting to play through as it feels like more of an adventure like Dracula's Curse did. Anyway I rate this story the same as I did in my NES Castlevania review so for more details feel free to check it out if you need more information.

Graphics/Sound/Music - 10/10
Being one of the launch titles for the Super NES Super Castlevania IV in no way pushed the envelope of the 16-bit machine. But it did an excellent job of showcasing some of the system's abilities. All areas were rich in detail and color as were the enemies and Simon himself. New to fans at the time was the Mode 7 graphics used in certain areas that really gave a strange feeling to those attempting to jump to different platforms. Mode 7 graphics allowed for some interesting backgrounds like the chandelier scene or the room that turns around in stage 4. As for sound it's top notch. It really gives the game that first generation Super NES feel. Sound isn't anything too exciting as it fits in where it needs to. But when it comes to the music it's nothing short of spectacular. Alot of recurring themes from previous titles as well as some new ones make a return in full midi glory. Truly a Castlevania gem to own in the audio and video department.

Gameplay - 10/10
Where to begin. First off jumping is made alot easier here as there's more control to determine where exactly you'll land. A big improvement over previous titles. The whip is still just as upgradeable as it was before. The only new innovations were the multi-directional control over the whip and short whip attack. Now you whip enemies above or below you without having to be on the same platform or in the air and whip enemies near you by holding the attack button. The whip is just as multi-directional in the air making for some nice jump-in attacks. Also subweapons are back with nothing new added and are a little easier to use as they are assigned to a separate button making for easier crouching attacks. And you can even move forward when crouching. Konami really did a great job in making Simon more playable. The biggest problem with this game was the fact that nothing new was added. Dracula's Curse gave you multiple paths and a spirit helper while Super Castlevania IV gives you a more controllable character. I would knock off a point but I do enjoy the play control and besides, my reviews are of the game not the prequels or sequels. All in all I'm satisfied in this department.

Fun Factor - 10/10
As in previous titles these games just become more fun with age. They tend to get easier the more you play them so popping them in from time to time just to have something to do is not uncommon among collectors. Since this is a retelling of the original Castlevania novice players might want to give this one a go over that title as it is significantly easier and uses a password system to save your progress. But for everyone there is much fun to be had here as it is a decently long game for the time and a fair and balanced difficulty will keep you coming back for more.

To buy or not to buy?
With alot to offer for almost any gamer you've just gotta have this one. Just like all the previous titles in the series it can had for fairly cheap. Usually around or maybe even less than $10 on Ebay. There's also plenty of copies to go around so finding one shouldn't be too difficult. Hopefully we'll see this game as a rerelease or remake on the Game Boy Advance in the near future and if we do be sure to pick it up.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 10/06/04

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