35: Castlevania

Genre: Platformer

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Year: 1987

Basic Idea: Defeat Dracula just like Jonathan Harker did: with a whip!

Review: It’s hard to believe I have thirty-four games listed above this one, but there it is.  From the title screen to the opening music, it’s hard not to be in the mood as soon you begin.  The music is appropriately haunting, and the background visuals are terrific.  Unlike most platformers on the NES, the enemies actually fit the theme of the game.  It never feels like you’re not in Transylvania.  The difficulty gradually increases on each level and the boss battles are intense but not impossible.  The special weapons are a blast to use.  Planning which weapons to use against which boss was also a great idea.

My only real criticism of the game is that there are many cheap falling deaths.  Simon Belmont can barely jump as it is, and oftentimes bats or eagles will come flying out of nowhere (especially after you’ve already begun jumping), sending you flying backwards and often into chasms.  It’s certainly not the only titles on the NES to be guilty of this, but considering how little agility Simon has, having another strike against him makes the game seem impossible at times.  And with limited lives and continues, it makes the game a beast to finish.  The farthest I’ve made it without a game genie is the Grim Reaper.

It’s easily been surpassed by future incarnations in the series,  Nevertheless, the game is a fantastic experience that is still a blast to play.

One thought on “35: Castlevania”

  1. I’m pretty sure the Reaper is as far as I made it without cheats as well.

    There’s nothing I can disagree with here. This game is fantastic, but the jumping mechanism is just appallingly terrible. I also love the comment on the rare platformer with thematically-correct enemies; that’s not something I ever think about, but it’s totally true. I wonder why that kind of thing happened. Bees in Back to the Future, why I oughtta…

    This is the first game I ever played on NES. Not SMB…this. I went over to my friend Bryan’s house and he showed me this before SMB, and I was hooked.

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