Castlevania Review (NES)

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Castlevania Review (NES)




Because real men hunt Dracula without any pants


If someone mentions a vampire in today's world, they would probably be met with groans and cries of disgust. Back in the 80's though, vampires were considered menacing and maybe even cool. In 1987, Konami released a game that reminds us how awesome vampires can be, and that game was Castlevania.



Castlevania is a fairly well known game and is regarded as a classic in many eyes. But what exactly makes the game so good? In Castlevania you take control of a man named Simon Belmont, who is tasked with defeating the terrifying Count Dracula and dispelling his evil from the land. Gameplay is a fairly standard 2D platformer affair. You traverse through Dracula's castle, killing monsters and jumping across the ever-so-dangerous bottomless pits. Simon has a whip aptly named the Vampire Killer at his disposal which you can use to dispatch enemies with ease. There are also various subweapons scattered throughout the stages that can be used in exchange for hearts. Hearts act like ammo for your subweapons and can be found by whipping the many candles strewn across Dracula's lair. For being the one responsible for putting Dracula to rest, Simon isn't the most agile of heroes though. When first picking up the game, you'll immediately realize how stiff the controls feel. When jumping, you have no control over Simon when he's in the air and getting hit by an enemy will send you flying back, often to your doom. Making a careless jump will lead to plummeting into a pit with no way to save yourself. This may seem very limiting at first, especially when compared to the smooth controls and momentum used in Super Mario Bros, but you'll slowly come to realize that the game is designed around this and it's your job to accommodate it. Each jump you take must be carefully planned and plowing through enemies isn't an option. Castlevania encourages you to think about your situation and it becomes a necessity if you want to survive the later stages.



In terms of visuals and audio, Castlevania gets it right. These aren't the best visuals on the NES, but there's a nice amount of detail and a good selection of colors. You may be in the main hall of the castle one level, but the next outside on the ramparts or in an underground cavern. The music in Castlevania give off a great gothic feel, but it's still very catchy and well composed. From the ever iconic Vampire Killer to the foreboding Heart of Fire, every track as great to listen to. Here are my favorite tracks from the game:

Vampire Killer

Wicked Child

Heart of Fire



Now one thing that Castlevania has in common with many games of its time is the difficulty. This is not an easy game. There are many tricky sections that require you to make tight jumps or fight through a barrage of enemies, all of which take chunks of your health. At first the levels may seem impossible, but with enough practice and careful planning, you'll be able to finally beat that stage that gave you so much trouble. At the end of each stage there is a boss and these encounters range from fun to infuriating. These bosses will be the cause of many game overs but finally beating them and collecting that red orb to end the stage is immensely satisfying. And that's where Castlevania really shines. Yes, the game is very challenging, but at the same time it gives you such a sense of satisfaction when you finally overcome that tricky platforming section or fiendish boss, all your struggles feel worthwhile. It's a feeling few games have been able to give me and it's what will push you to keep trying after you get a game over.



In short, Castlevania lives up to its reputation as a classic. The gameplay is unique and really requires you to think about your actions and how to conquer your enemies. Graphically the game has held up pretty well and the music is still great to listen to. There's just something addicting about the game, and the satisfaction of whipping Dracula and seeing him burst into flames is something that I won't forget any time soon. It may take dedicated gamer to see the ending of the game, but it doesn't take an expert to appreciate the masterpiece that is, Castlevania.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

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Capn' Pancakes
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Castlevania Review (NES) :: Comments

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 12:12 pm by Capn' Pancakes

Well it's been a while since i've reviewed anything besides Mega Man, so i'm not sure how this turned out. I had fun writing this though, so I hope you guys enjoy it.

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 12:27 pm by True Hero

Great review. I haven't played a Castlevania game before, but your review gave me a pretty good idea of what it's like. What system did you play it on?

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 1:37 pm by Capn' Pancakes

@True
I played it on the Wii's VC but you can get it on the 3DS as well if you feel the need for restore points.

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 4:05 pm by Ideal Hero

Nice review @Capn!

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 4:15 pm by Professor Clayton

Wow, that's a great review. Surprised
Good job!
I've been considering getting one of these games at some point.

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 6:36 pm by Wonder_Mask

I downloaded Super 4 a while ago, waiting for it to come out on WiiU VC.
But I don't believe really any 8 bit heroes simply wore pants. Mario wore overalls, Link was a Man in Tights, Samus wore a Power Suit, Mega Man's nekkid, and Batman wore his undies on the outside of his batsuit. Wink

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 8:14 pm by Professor Clayton

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Post on Thu May 16, 2013 11:54 pm by Cyb3Rnite

Love that tagline.

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