Retrorevisited: Castlevania 1, 3 and Super Castlevania 4 (NES, SNES)

Retrorevisited is a stream series where I revisit a game or a game series I haven’t played in over 10 or 20+ years. I’ll go through to try see what I remember until a game over or I run out of continues. In some cases muscle memory may slowly return, in others probably not. This is a chance for me to revisit games of my youth that I still have or had at one point, playing them with and without nostalgia goggles, and do with mini-reviews of them too. If I decide to play any fully later and do a full review, parts of the mini-review would be incorporated into it. Depending on the playstyle or system, games reviewed will either be mini-reviews or one about all games in this session.

So I’ve always enjoyed the early and recent Castlevania titles from the first one to SOTN, the gba titles and Dracula X Chronicles. Even with the high difficulty of some games and the metroidvania aspect to the titles post SOTN they were always ones i came back to. Castlevania 1 was one my first NES games which I think i still have. I could always at least get up to the area before Death and i learned on my own as a kid and teen how the holy water can lockdown bosses. CV3 i rented a lot as a kid too and loved the improved graphics and music and the aspect of having one of 3 partners. So much in my password notebooks I had passwords for wherever I left off in cv3 with Trevor and Grant, Alucard or Sypha! No idea where the farthest i got was, but maybe around the beginnings of penetrating Castlevania itself. Castlevania 4 I loved and still do to this day as a 1st gen SENS title showcasing the SNES’ abilities. The music is incredible and being able to swing Simon’s whip in any direction was great! The boss fights and levels were incredible to my young eyes and I had a number of passwords for this one written down too!

(Reviews will be of cv1 and 3 together, and cv4 in a separate paragraph due to different system as the other 2.)

GRAPHICS AND SOUND: The graphics in cv1 and cv3 are beautiful and really fit the mood of the game. There’s some areas that are brightly colored, and others that are darker and forbidding. The color schemes really fit the mood, underground areas and forests are what you would imagine them as you penetrate the grounds of Castlevania to fight Dracula himself. All the bosses are big and colorful and look as they should. There is some graphical flicker in cv1, not as much in cv3 though. The music in these games is legendary! Cv1 you hear the classic Vampire Killer and Bloody Tears for the first time and will be pumped up to fight! Music in other areas fit the mood, like the underground you fall into after fighting the Mummies in cv1. Music is even more incredible in cv3 with more instruments to the classic Castlevania tracks, and you’ll like the music in the Clock tower area too! Killing enemies with your whip makes them explode, your hero “oofs” when hit, and the sub-weapons sound as they would in real life such as the sound when you throw the boomerang or break bottles of holy water all over the floors.

Castlevania 4 was one of the first SNES titles and a showcase of what the new 16bit machine could do with better and more enhanced colors and palettes, along with showcasing the mode 7 abilities during some boss fights. Like the NES titles, the graphics and colors fit the mood of the area of the castle grounds you’re in and check out the backgrounds too! First time you hear the 16bit music you’ll love it and want to hear more, from the 16bit renditions of the classic Castlevania tracks to Theme of Simon in the first stage when you enter the castle grounds! Sound effects are cleaner than that of their NES counterparts, though again Simon yelling “oof” when he gets hit will get annoying. The creeking sound when you swing on rings really sounds good!

PLAY CONTROL: In cv1 Simon controls like a brick. He feels quite heavy when it comes to jumping and falling off platforms. You got a whip and jump button, and using the special items involve holding up and your attack button. Cv1 and 3 will require pixel-perfect jumps at times, though it can be for nothing with the pushback if you get hit by an enemy. Trevor in cv3 controls a lot looser and lighter. Jumping feels lighter and he doesn’t seem to feel wet cardboard. Of course both games you can lose control fast if you get juggled badly.

When it comes to your partner sin Castlevania 3, all have strengths and weaknesses. Grant is good for crawling on walls for shortcuts, but he has low range and he’s slippery trying to control him on walls. Slypha’s a glass cannon, but her magic can destroy everything! Alucard has range with his fireballs and can turn into a bat to fly over obstacles.

In cv4 Simon controls a lot better. You can also swing your whip in 8 directions to be able to attack enemies before you jump, along with holding it in front of you like a shield. Jumping is easier and there’s spots in the game where you have to swing your whip on a ring and swing over to farther platforms.

CHALLENGE: The challenge in all 3 Castlevania games is about the same: hard. Memorization is the key – memorizing where enemies spawn from and how they move, including bosses. Another key is the aforementioned pixel-perfect platforming at times, and the knockback when you take damage, which can leave you in trouble fast. Whip and explore everywhere to find hidden hearts, treasures, and wall meat! Knowing how and where to use the sub-weapons is another key. In cv1 you can use the holy water to lock some bosses in place, and just pelt them with holy water and attacks from your whip to achieve victory with little damage. Bosses range from mummies, cyclops, dragons, and even Death himself before fighting the big man Dracula.  Thankfully all 3 games have unlimited continues, and cv3 and 4 having a password to return to where you left off. Cv3 also has three partners you can take with you: Grant, Sypha, and Alucard. Each has their own abilities and skill set. Grant can climb walls, Sypha with her destructive magic skills, and Alucard can turn into a bat and fly around and over obstacles. Castlevania 3 also has multiple paths on your journey to and into Castlevania itself, with different enemies, landscapes and bosses to fight, and partners to find.

I GIVE CASTLEVANIA 1 AND 3 (NES) 4 OUT OF 5 HOLY WATERS!
I GIVE SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV (SNES) 4.5 OUT OF 5 HOLY WATERS!

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