Hack Showcase: Castlevania 2 English Re-translation + Map (NES)

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with additional content, dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. Non-rpgs I try to give a full run to, or at least enough for a solid review. Rpgs I will stick with titles that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, show parts later in the games where more differences appear. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream fully in the future or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to bug and content updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

Castlevania 2, the black sheep of the original NES trilogy. Not a pure platformer like 1 and 3, but more of an adventure game with rpg elements like Zelda 2. Also made famous by the bad translation of clues and townspeople gossip which made figuring out progressing through the game harder then it should have been unless you had friends who knew what they were doing. Or Nintendo Power. And that infamous Nintendo Power cover that gave kids nightmares. I don’t have many memories of playing this as a kid except off and on renting or with friends. That said, never finished it either. I discovered another improvement to Redacted by romhacking.net user Bisqwit. He took what was done in Redacted and improved it even more! Other features include:

  • NTSC version (there is also a PAL option)
  • MMC4 chipset (there are also MMC3, MMC1, MMC5, UNROM and VRC6 options, see the vending machine)
  • Reintroduced some features that the English releases removed from the Japanese version — Includes the extended ending text, as well as Konami-style Start text on the power-on screen.
  • Map function — An in-game map is included. It helps understand the layout of the game world, and to know the name of whichever place the player currently is in. It compensates for the lack of actual game manual, which in the Japanese releases included a map. Press the select button to view the map in the game.
  • SRAM save function — Game can be saved at any time into internal battery-backed memory and loaded later.
  • Cinematic prologue
  • Seamless fading between night and day times
  • Quality-of-life improvements to game controls: Jump down stairs with down+A, hit stun on stairs, Simon blinks when hurt
  • Extra dialog in select locations — Small changes that improve the game experience without changing the nature of the game.
  • Language — English.

When I played this I added 3 other hacks to it: the Annoyance Fixes by tkempkes, False Floor & Breakable Block Replacer by Greyfield, and the Game Over Penalty Reduction by NaOH hacks (links provided at the end of this post). The Game Over one reduces the amount of hearts lost at a game over to half instead of all of them. Annoyance Fixes includes patches for a faster day and night transition, getting double hearts, empty space replacing false floors. False Floor & breakable Block Replacer changes the false blocks around the game to a different shade so you don’t have to always throw holy water around. I’ve played this hack with and without these additional patches, patches are compatible with this hack.

This review updated after a new video playthrough on 9/26 with version 2.12.0.1 of the Bisquit hack, and latest versions of the Game Over Penalty, Double Hearts and False Block Replacer hacks available. Review will reflect with and without the additional hacks.

SO HOW IS IT? With and without using the other hacks I added, the Re-translation + Map hack is terrific! This is one of the reasons why i got into playing and reviewing various game hacks: its stuff like this that reinvents games in new and better ways! As mentioned before, the base hack is just the addition of the map, retranslation, faster day-night transition and the save/load feature. The translation is great and you don’t have to go around trying to decipher what npcs tell you or the clue books, and there’s a feature to return to clue books you found to review what they say! If you were to play this with little knowledge of vanilla cv2, or even if you were an expert, you would think this is a different game. The save/load feature is much helpful since you can save and load anywhere in game: towns, overworld, mansions, etc. No more using the passwords (unless you want to).

The map is great and shows you where you are and you can scroll left and right for all the important locations like towns and mansions to see where you need or want to go next. Going in and out of the map doesn’t cause any problems, and from the previous version I played, the bug where enemies on the overworld or mansions would respawn is gone! The seamless transition between day and night takes nothing away from the game in the way of pauses in the middle of the action. You can be fighting enemies and suddenly the change happens. In towns if you go from night to day the zombies will instantly explode and sometimes leave hearts, which is a nice touch.

All of that said, adding the other 3 hacks as I did, really make the game more fun, decreases the grinding and the difficulty. The game over Penalty Reduction hack changes the game so you only lose half your hearts instead of all of them and your xp at a game over, which eases some pressure if you mess up places. Double Hearts from the Annoyance Fixes suite gives double the hearts from half and full hearts, reducing the grind for buying items throughout your quest. The Breakable Blocks hack changes the blocks that can be broken with holy water or Dracula’s Nail to a different look with cracks in them, so you don’t have to throw holy water everywhere, and false blocks you can pass through are a different, darker shade of gray. Both are great if you want an easier run, or something not as stressful. At some point I will try a vanilla cv2 run, but not today.

I highly recommend the Bisqwit hack, along with the other 3 I used. I really have nothing wrong to say, though would be nice if other hacks were included optionally with the Retranslation + Map hack.

I GIVE THIS 4.5 OUT OF 5 GARLICS!!

GAMEPLAY VIDEO:


Links:
Cv2 English Re-translation (+Map): https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4171/
Cv2 Game Over Penalty Reduction: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4135/
Cv2 Annoyance Fixes: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/912/
Cv2 False Floor & Breakable Block Replacer: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/5361/

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