Back again this week with another retro classic for you, this week I played Castlevania. This was definitely one of my more rememberable titles from the NES days. Although I can honestly say before playing to review for the site it has been ALONG time since I’ve thought about this one. But before I get ahead of myself, for those of you not familiar (shame on you) here is the story:
Castlevania, released for the NES in 1986 by Konami, is a typical platform game in which the player takes the role of Simon Belmont, a descendant of the Belmont clan, a family of vampire hunters. He travels to Dracula’s demonic castle, Castlevania, and fights his way through the castle as he battles numerous bosses along his way, including Frankenstein’s monster, Igor, a pair of Mummy Men, the Phantom Bat, Queen Medusa, the Grim Reaper, and Count Dracula himself. Belmont’s main weapon is a whip called “Vampire Killer”, while the secondary weapons are powered by Hearts, collected by attacking candles and killing monsters. Secondary weapons available are Daggers, Holy Water (Fire Bomb), Flying Axe, Stop Watch and the Cross (Boomerang).
The game’s graphics are what you would expect from an early NES title such as this. Nothing to call home about but they do a nice job of making it very clear what exactly you are fighting and what it is supposed to be. The music (which becomes a staple in this series) fits the gothic tone of the game, so much so they continued to used remix versions of most of the themes in virtually all future titles.
Make no mistake, this game is NOT EASY. It took me many attempts both back in the day and as I replayed now to get through it. There are many rage inducing boss battles and some tricky stages to navigate as Simon, well he’s not a very nimble fellow. Jumping in this game can be quite difficult and takes some trial and error. One of the more annoying points is you can’t even jump off the stairs, which always seems to be the best time for enemies to show up (and they can jump at you) and take you out as you casually try to walk down the stairs at an oh so leisurely pace one would have inside Dracula’s castle. The whip is also a pretty crude weapon to use as a primary as you can only whip directly in front of you and it’s not always fast enough to help out.
It is quite a feeling picking this one up again after all this time, and if you are a veteran of the series and manage to beat the original know this it is quite a feat! Bonus points if you manage to beat Dracula without swearing or throwing something!
So while it didn’t really age 100% well, it’s still one of the all time best NES experiences you can get out there!
Overall while Castlevania didn’t age very well, it still is an enjoyable experience and it definitely laid out the groundwork for what has become a memorable series. If you like this play Super Castlevania IV instead, it’s very much the same story but looks and plays alot better!