Game Review: Castlevania

Geek Specs:
Title: Castlevania
Platform: NES
Genre: Action
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Nintendo
Release: 1987

Introduction: The Castlevania series of games has spanned several systems from the NES to the SNES, Genesis, Turbo-Duo, N64 and PSX. This review will take the nostalgic route and introduce you to the game that began it all, CASTLEVANIA.

Review: In Castlevania, you play as the vampire hunter Simon Belmont who's mission is to enter Dracula's castle and rid the world of its keepers evil. The latest in a long line of Vampire-Hunters, Simon has spent his life training for the day he would have to take up his whip and destroy Dracula. That day has come. Join Simon Belmont in one of the NES's greatest adventures. Will you prevail against this ultimate evil? Only time, and your skills as a gamer, will tell. Aiding Simon in his quest against the damned are power-ups in the form of upgrades for his whip (that extend its length), and secondary weapons such as a knife, holy water, axe, cross, and a powerful stop-watch. To use these secondary items it is required that you find hearts. Hearts can be found hidden within candles and are often dropped after certain enemies are defeated. Each item uses a different amount of hearts. For instance, the knife uses one heart, while the stop-watch that halts certain enemies in its tracks temporarily uses 5. Suffice to say collecting hearts and deciding which weapon is best for each situation is crucial to your survival. A power-up also exists for your secondary weapon in the form of icons with Roman Numerals on them. Snag a II and you have double the use of your secondary weapon. If you snag a III icon, you have triple the use. As well as the afformentioned power-ups, there is a cross that destroys all on-screen enemies. Items can also be found by whipping certain blocks in the levels, but are often hidden very well. Finding these icons and hidden items along with the occasional invincibility jar is very useful for dealing with the minions of the undead that roam the evil castle.

Traversing the levels in Castlevania can range from relatively simple to downright frustrating. In the early levels, item and enemy placement is such that even the most inexperienced of gamers can make it through. However, in later levels the enemies become much more fierce and will often be placed in such a manner that can't help but take a hit sometimes. One leads to a fall into a nearby pit. The first time an enemy causes a premature death you will be tempted to throw your controller through the wall. The bosses who run the gamut from a Bat to Dracula himself, range from easy to downright annoying. However, its a treat to go through this game just to face-off against each and everyone. Castlevania, while tough at times can be beaten if you just stick with it and it is truly rewarding to do so.

Conclusion: If you've made it this far I owe it to you to give you my thoughts on this game. As an example of classic gaming this game shines. It has great control that is very responsive. If you die, it can be attributed to the games difficulty rather than control issues. The sound is classic, and the games scores stick in your head years after you play the game. Graphics are great when taken into account the games date of release, and hold up well even in todays era of 3-D intensive gaming. All in all, you owe it yourelf to give this great game a try. Its a classic that hold's hours of entertainment for gamers who enjoy a good old 2-D romp. You would be doing yourself a 'grave' disservice if you were to pass up this old school gem.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 5.0 Graphics: 3.0
An example of classic gaming at its finest. The controls, level design, weapons and bosses combine to make one hell of a gameplay experience. The graphics presentation is more then adaquate given the fact that its an NES game. Everything looks as it should and there are little to no cases of slowdown or flicker.

Sound: 5.0 Overall: 5.0
From the crack of Simons whip to the very catchy background themes, the sound is very memorable and none if it gets the least bit annoying. You will be humming this games tunes long after you've put Dracula down for good. This game shines as a sterling example of 2-D gameplay at its best. Everything in this game comes together to creat a gameplay experience that is tough to beat even to this day. It serves as an example of why the Castlevania series is still popular even today. Play it and enjoy. You owe it to yourself.

Written by CyberXion


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