Blast from the Past: Castlevania (NES)
Legends foretell of a mysterious castle that appears every 100 years. The castle is home to unthinkable horrors and demons alike. Is there a brave soul in this world that will venture forth and rid the world of the evils within? Rise Simon Belmont, for the task of slaying the demon king known as Count Dracula shall fall upon you, it is thy destiny.
The stage design is really not that bad, though at this early stage in the life of the NES each stage had a similar feel to it. A few colour palette changes to the backgrounds and one or two platforms or items added or subtracted and that’s basically what we’re looking at. However there are added features such as stairs, ditches and moving platforms. Konami does however try to create an atmosphere of the player travelling through different rooms in the castle. Being an action-platformer I found this game much easier than action-platformers like Shinobi. The stages also have tons of secret items hidden across the game, although some are quite easy to find others can be rather difficult. A lot of the items are used more towards increasing your score although from time-to-time you’ll pick up items and weapons that will assist you in taking on the demons that be.
Slaying thy demons
Enemies, just as in most action-platformers of the time, appear in abundance. Simon will have to deal with ghouls, bats, bone-throwing skeletons, crows, ghosts, suits of armour, which appear to also be haunted as well as what I assume to be hell hounds. The enemies are all quite simple to dispatch with a few jumps and dodges here and there and you’ll be able to even impress Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The boss battles start off fairly easy as well, as long as you have a few projectiles flying towards the boss along with a few good hits to the enemy with your chained whip, you’ll be able to take down the enemy within a minute or two. However, once you start taking on the later boss battles you’ll have to make sure you have your dodge mechanics and whip throwing skills in order, although spamming attacks on bosses usually gets the job done.
Castlevania is definitely a classic and must play retro Blast from the Past. It combines superb music, decent platforming and has no shortages of enemies. Timing is key, in some areas I found myself passing with ease on the first try only to fall in death a short distance after and then struggle upon repeating the same area due to bad timing. The game is unfortunately low on the story aspect with no dialogue portrayed anywhere in the game so you will have to take in the visual cues to determine exactly what is going on. Nevertheless, it is still tons of fun and a good start to the Castlevania video game series.
Note: I was pleasantly surprised to find this game on sale on the Nintendo eShop at 30% off so make sure you get it now as the Halloween sale ends on the 3rd of November 2016.