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Castlevania is one of my all time favourite franchises and regardless of the faults, the first NES title is still something of a classic and is a welcome addition to the VC. However I'd recommend that you download the superior SNES version (Super Castlevania IV, which is basically a re-telling of the first NES game) as it's a much more enjoyable experience.
500 Wii points is an excellent price of admission for this NES classic. The game blazed the trail for its hugely successful successors, and exemplified challenging and rewarding gameplay. It gets a little tricky from here on out, though. Super Castlevania IV, for only 300 Wii points more, seems like a smarter purchase, as it improves on almost every facet of the NES original, including mechanical and graphical upgrades. If you've already (smartly) downloaded Super Castlevania IV, are looking for an even greater challenge, and want to see where the series gets its roots, then give this one a download. For newcomers, however, frustrations may be more efficiently inhibited by downloading the SNES version first.
In the era of the Nintendo Entertainment System, publisher Konami was known for making maddeningly difficult but remarkably enjoyable games. Fortunately, games like Gradius and Contra at least had cheat codes to make the difficulty slightly more reasonable. Castlevania, on the other hand, had no such crutch. In fact, the game had an unlockable "hard" mode instead. But somehow, as frustrating as Castlevania could be, it was still an entertaining game because of its solid action and dark, appealing atmosphere. Castlevania is now available on the Wii Virtual Console for 500 points ($5), and it's every bit as challenging and playable as it was when it was originally released 20 years ago.
So, Castlevania. Taken on its own merits, it's a fine platform adventure with six linear stages of candle-whipping fun. Taken as part of the overall VC buffet, you should probably pile your plate high with the gourmet SNES version first, and come back for NES pudding if you like the taste.
It may be a little on the short side, but it’s satisfying throughout. The clever level design and excellent music make for an impressive presentation. It’s not perfect, though. The controls are occasionally misread, jumps are awkward, the whip attacks are terribly rigid, and the enemies are far too overpowered. It’s not unplayable by any means. It just gives you more of a reason to look forward to the next game. It paid off, too. Considering how many sequels Castlevania has spawned, it’s amazing how it could have started from this one, humble platformer about a guy killing Dracula. Godspeed, Simon.
The fact that Nintendo would release the original Castlevania on Virtual Console after the superior Castlevania IV almost proves that they're going after the hardcore "Vania" fans. Even so, Castlevania has managed to age a little more gracefully than most other NES games thanks to its top-tier visuals and audio. If anything, your 500 Wii Points will get you a challenging gothic platformer that'll keep you busy for a day or so (even if half of that day is spent trying to get past the Grim Reaper).
Dennoch sind die 500 Punkte für Fans der Serie sehr gut investiert. Die breite Masse der Spieler wird wohl bei diesem Liebhaberstück schnell frustriert sein. Zumal es heute auch wesentlich angenehmer zu spielende Fortsetzungen der Serie gibt, sollte ein Castlevania-Neuling lieber mit einem der neueren (DS-)Teile vorlieb nehmen. Wenn man aber gewillt ist, über die Mankos der Spielmechanik hinwegzusehen, dann erhält man ein atmosphärisch dichtes und abwechslungsreiches Game, mit dem man sich gerne die Zeit vertreibt und wenn sich dann doch mal (wieder) Frust einstellt, kann man getrost die Speicherfunktion der Wii in Anspruch nehmen und sich etwas vom anstrengenden Monsterjägerdasein erholen.