Castlevania (NES Review)

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Simon was in no mood for Halloween

Simon was in no mood for Halloween

To say that the NES isn’t short on platformers is an understatement.  The Super Mario Bros raised the bar and games have since failed to capture the imagination.  Until now.  Diverting from Nintendo’s usually cuddly, kid-friendly shtick –Castlevania finds our protagonist Simon Belmont on the hunt for none other than the Prince of Darkness himself, Dracula.  Castlevania’s theme is obvious from the beginning which is tribute to Konami’s use of vision and sound.  The graphics are incredibly moody.

 

Like, I don’t wanna know how you just did that

Like, I don’t wanna know how you just did that

The castle’s backdrops are dark and well detailed, although some of the sprites clearly suffer due to the NES’s small colour palette (3-colour panther anyone?).  Simon is well detailed, well animated and is easy to control, whipping foe with glee.  Yes, he whips the bad guys and you can even get an “extension” power up.

 

It works, and I’m really not going to argue with Konami (although a kick-ass sword might have been better…). The music (as I’ve previously touched on) is a tad repetitive but fits the game, bringing the lower octaves to the fore.  Well, as much as you can on the NES.  The sound FX also does the job, no more than that.

Level design is good, you can take a few different routes through certain levels and travelling up and down stairs gives a hint of 3-D.

 

It wasn’t really the greatest time for a BBQ

It wasn’t really the greatest time for a BBQ

This also brings me to the few negative points, and there really are only a few.  Enemies blur if there’s more than one on the screen, which is often.  The collision detection is poor in places, noticeably some of the boss fights and when using the throwing axes (yup!).

 

Even though the learning curve seems well judged, the huge life meter and abundance of power ups seems a tad too generous at times.  Certain parts of levels look like solid floor where in fact they’re holes.  Couple this with getting hit in the air by rapidly flying bats makes certain sections very frustrating.  But all of these can be overlooked because Castlevania is a fun platformer which captures that Transylvania feeling and that definitely has more positives than negatives.

 

Castlevania-Review

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