Written by  :  *Katakis* (38327)
Written on  :  Jun 10, 2013
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Platforming fun

The Good

The NES came out in the Eighties, and it was popular among the kids who pestered their parents into buying it for Christmas. Even more popular were the array of platformers released for the system, mainly released by Nintendo themselves, and these included the likes of Super Mario Bros. and Metroid. Konami later decided to get in on the action with their own platformer. And for a game that would later spawn many sequels, it was very impressive for its time.

The player takes on role of Simon Belmont, a handsome young man who decides that it is time to follow in his family's footsteps. Armed with a whip known as "Vampire Killer", he ventures into Dracula's castle and navigates from floor to floor in search of the evil one. He must use his whip to kill a wide variety of creatures that stand in his way, and he must face Dracula's henchman in order to proceed.

Castlevania is a side-scrolling platformer with a dark vampire theme, and it was unique in two ways. Additional weapons can be obtained throughout the game, and these weapons are more effective than the Vampire Killer. With the dagger, axe, or boomerang, every boss creature can take more damage in a single hit. Every element in the game, including the creatures, is taken from iconic horror films of the earlier twentieth century, and this is amplified by the negative strips on the title screen as well as the credits at the end of the game.

I always like the scene where Simon is standing outside the castle's gate, looking up at the castle before him. The dark sky and the crescent moon blends in with the dark theme of the game. Also, the map displayed in between stages, where you see Simon walking along the screen, is a nice touch. In-game, stage five looks nice.

The game's soundtrack is brilliantly composed by Kinuyo Yamashita, and some of the tunes are easy to remember. For me, I can only remember the ones in the first two stages. Only the later stages have more than one piece of music, and this usually indicates that you are heading towards something really big.

The Bad

When you get hit by an enemy, Simon will jerk back -- to his doom in most cases. I can remember many times where you have to jump on a series of short platforms protruding out of the water, and some creature often knocks me down into the water. Also, I have to agree with most of the reviewers here: the hunchbacks are hard to kill.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Castlevania has everything that fans of platform games would want - a simple plot, nice graphics, and excellent sound. The game is unique for its time as it contains elements that other platform games at the time didn't have - the ability to use more than one weapon, movie references, etc. Sure, there are certain situations in the game where one hit by an enemy will lead to your doom. But once you overcome this problem, the game will be much easier to complete. Anyone who decides to play a game in the Castlevania series should at least play this one.