Ugly green colors, serious gaming nostalgia.

Castlevania was responsible for making Dracula what he is today: A man who shoots fireballs from his crotch.


The very first game for the NES consoles, Castlevania was the answer to any horror fan that wished to duke it out against Hollywood movie monsters. You are in charge of Mr. Simon Belmont, culprit to the whole vampire-slaying mayhem in many versions of the game.

The controls are simple as pie: Jump, Attack, and use a combination of the attack button and the joypad to shoot a subweapon. Hearts that could be collected by destroying some enemies and candles measured the number of subweapons you were allowed to shoot. Said subweapons would include:

Axe- a weapon that could be thrown diagonally and dispose of airborne enemies as well as ones below your character.

Dagger- Weakest of the lot, but faster. Can go horizontally through the screen.

Holy Water- A bottle containing said fluid that would turn into a Molotov of death against monsters.

Cross- Or "boomerang" as some refer it to. The weapon comes back to you after traveling a fair distance, and it can also inflict a significant number of hits as well.

Watch- This item can freeze enemies momentarily, allowing you to walk freely without being bothered. It does not work against Boss types or any inanimate object for that matter.

 

Each of these weapons would be fabled for their usefulness in some stages; however, using either the axe or the boomerang throughout the game would satisfy many fanatics of the game. The dagger was rather useless, for it could do as much damage as the whip. The watch was only good when you had to travel in stages swarmed by Igors and medusa heads.

Other items that helps Simon through out the game are a Bead with a cross embedded on it, which could be used to neutralize every enemy present in the screen, an invisibility potion, and a piece of meat, which was used to restore health. Points were also accumulated wither by finding moneybags or finding secret treasures standing in certain spots of the game. Also, there would be little blocks with roman numbers embedded on them. These artifacts would allow you to throw a number of subweapons at the same time. A devastating feature if used with the Cross.

This game made me hate Igors, ravens, and medusa heads from the get go. Those little bastards would make sure to knock Simon off a ledge or knock off a significant number of hit points before they were disposed of. The fact that you had to deal with an immortal Igor, as part of a boss in Stage 3 didn't made things any better for me.

I find the idea of using a combination of joypad+button very innovative, at the same time using stairs to go trough the game instead of just jumping over them. Although the latter really irked me when I tried to use an axe to get rid of an incoming bat.

Bosses vary in each (short) stage of the game; such nasties would include the Darkwing bat, Medusa, The Mummy, Frankenstein (with Igor), Death, and finally- Dracula. Not many to satisfy my appetite of monster hunting, but I couldn't complain when it came to fight Mr. Grim Reaper. The stage itself was the longest and least difficult to go trough, and the boss fight was memorable.

Dracula himself would just teleport here and there, shooting homing fireballs from his midsection. He then would transform into a huge demon with replenished health. A note for anyone thinking he was beat when those hit points of his were depleted. The cross is a must for this battle, whereas the holy water can be used to hold the second version of him in place.

 

In the end, Simon contemplates a crumbling Castlevania form afar, and credits start rolling. Pretty standard, but the game itself is a nice ride. The problem with jumping is quickly forgotten, since its not as bad as say, Dracula X.

Anyone who had the chance to experience this great title sure had the hunger for more. Sadly, Konami would disappoint fans by turning Castlevania II into an RPG-wannabe. Castlevania III broke that confusing mold, and came back to the basics...and then some.

WORD- This brings a lot of nostalgic moments when played in the NES console. Classic horror monsters are all wrapped up in a tiny 8-bit masterpiece. Not many stages, and most of them very,very short, but still a collectable game.

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