Hack Showcase: Castlevania Hacks

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 dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. I try to stick with games that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, try to show parts later in titles. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream or play on my own.

Continuing my Castlevania theme, I decided to try some Castlevania hacks. Not like the Bisqwit one, the kind that really change the nature of the game. inspired by some friends, I found some neat ones I tried out on stream for the 3 NES titles, and after some searching, found ones for Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow even! I really enjoyed trying these out and going to revisit them! I’ve never been into hacks that increase the difficulty of games, some of these do, but it’s not a major difficulty spike that feels unfair.

SUPER CASTLEVANIA 2: Super Castlevania 2 retains the original cv2 but replaces the npcs, some of your gear, and the enemies with that from various other Nintendo titles like SMB, Metroid, Kirby and more! Many enemies are replaced with eggplant wizards, Birdo, koopalings, moblins and others! The crystals are replaced with brass knuckles, a mushroom and a vegetable. Simon’s sprite was improved and given better animation too. Nice thing about this it’s basically cv2 with a new skin, and you can attach other hacks on it like the Annoyance Fixes or game over Penalty Reduction! Wait till you see the sprite changes for the Grim Reaper and Camilla! Only downside really of this hack is not everything was changed, so zombies at night in towns and many enemies late in the game at and past the 5th mansion are the standard enemies from cv2. 4 OUT OF 5 STARS!

CASTLEVANIA 3 GOLD EDITION: This hack retains the story of Castlevania 3, but completely changes all the levels from the look, enemies, palettes and more to give more of a challenge. Bosses at the end of levels stays the same and you can get the help of Alucard, Grant and Syfa the same way. Music in levels is shifted so what you’re familiar with in one level will be a track from a completely different level! This one I enjoyed, though the game retains a difficulty spike when you hit the Ghost Ship level. The changes range from interesting to insane as well as enemy placements. Wall meat is in new locations too of course.  Who would think of putting pendulums in the middle of a forest? 4 OUT OF 5 STARS!

CASTLEVANIA HOD: REVENGE OF THE FINDESIECLE DELUXE+: This one is fascinating as putting in a different name in the name select screen, gives you a different character to play as. You can even play as Julius from Aria of Sorrow as a traditional Castlevania title, along with sprites for Simon from the NES games, Mario and even Mega Man! Sprite work for the new characters are well done and move smoothly in the world of HoD. using one of the new characters definitely changes up with how you would play seeing Mega Man and Mario have ranged weapons compared to the whips. I think many of the powerups and new skills are changed to suit the new characters also so you can finish the game, like high jumps and long beams. Not much else is changed but this hack is really fun if you want a new way to play a Metroidvania title! Some of the animations for Mega Man are great and will bring a smile to your face. Game retains its difficulty, think of this as like playing Richter mode in SOTN: no status screen, healing only by getting life powerups and getting to the save rooms. 4 OUT OF 5 STARS!

CASTLEVANIA: THE HOLY RELICS: This one is a complete hack overhaul of Castlevania 1 for the NES. With a brand new story, new levels and enemies and more you can select which stage you want to start, along with your choice of relic. Each relic earned after finishing a stage gives a new temporary ability and the graphics for them are based on the hidden treasure from cv1. The new levels and graphics look great as does the music. Finishing all the levels opens up the final level. Gameplay is traditional Castlevania, and tough, you’ll find yourself dying a lot or learning how to use the sub-weapons on the enemies and the bosses. I found this hack pretty fun and a great change to traditional cv hacks and nice use with the relics too! 4 OUT OF 5 STARS!

CASTLEVANIA AOS: GENYA ARIKADO HACK: This hack let’s you play as Genya instead of Soma through Aria of Sorrow’s story. This isn’t a copy and paste hack where Genya just replaces Soma and that’s it. The Opening scroll and story and dialogue was changed to reflect Genya being the hero instead of Soma. Genya’s sprite moves weird and looks really thin, could be off-putting for some players. Only thing not changed is the status screen since you still see Soma’s mug in the upper left side. Nothing else really changed for the castle layout or the music. You’ll still collect enemy souls defeating enemies and bosses but a few of them were changed to the Familiars from SOTN. Powerups and new skills are still earned from enemies and finding them throughout the castle, and Hammer’s store remains. 4 OUT OF 5 STARS!

CASTLEVANIA: CHROUS OF MYSTERIES: This one is another complete overhaul of Castlevania 1 for the NES. This one is tough. All levels and enemies were redesigned, and you have all the sub-weapons as in vanilla including a new one the heals you. The levels are vast and takes some careful platforming or hitting enemies before making jumps. The bosses can be pretty rough to fight also and some are 8bit versions of those from SOTN. I did really like the chess design and colors for level 2 the most, except for the boss. The music is decent in this one but nothing really special and levels range from being bright to quite dark. 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS!

GAMEPLAY VIDEO:

LINKS:
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/95/ – Super Castlevania 2
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4538/ – Castlevania 3 Gold Edition
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/5848/ – Castlevania HoD: Revenge of the Findesiecle Deluxe+
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/3759/ – Castlevania: The Holy Relics
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2781/ – Castlevania AOS: Genya Arikado Hack
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/263/ – Castlevania: Chorus of Mysteries

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