Simon Belmont’s quest to slay vampires seem to be rather futile. How much undead blood needs to be shed before the creatures of the night are eradicated forever? Who cares, it’s Super Castlevania IV and it’s available on the Wii U eShop.
Castlevania IV was the first entry of the series to hit the SNES and is a rather underrated title in the dark and mystical franchise. The fourth installment in the franchise told the tale of Simon Belmont’s very first adventure – only this time round it was in glorious 16 bit. This additional processing power allowed for never-before-seen dynamics and level design in a platformer of its kind. The backgrounds come alive and the platforms and villains were abundant. Not only did power of the SNES allow the developers to focus on resource intensive processing but it also made way for one of the best Castlevania soundtracks to date. The combination of crisp, sharp sound effects and classic engaging score kept you captivated from beginning to end, and it still remains the case today.
The gameplay formula is basically parallel to that found in previous titles. Belmont uses his whip as his primary weapon that expands in reach as you progress through the game. The infamous weapon is also used to swing across dangerous gaps that would normally be too wide to cross with a normal jump. Secondary weapons, such as an axe, are also available but in the end your trusty whip will remain your weapon of choice. Some areas are more difficult than others especially some of the later platforming sections. Fortunately the good ól password mechanism is available to help you if you’re inclined to play it as it was back in the day. This is however no longer needed as the Wii U’s virtual console includes restore points. This is very convenient however it does make the game easier with the ability to save at any point.
The one downside of the game is unfortunately it’s length. While there are plenty of tough levels (11 in total), your combined gameplay time will amount to no longer than 5 hours… if you take your time. Luckily replaying the game is still good fun even if the progression is more linear than previous installments.
Super Castlevania IV is a superbly designed installment to the Castlevania series and it is no surprise that the game’s level design, outstanding soundtrack and cleverly thought out boss fights have earned it its cult status among platformers. While the Lords of Shadow spin off series takes a more modern approach to the Castlevania tale it is the classic originals that fans will always keep coming back to – especially Castlevania IV. Length aside, Super Castlevania IV is an ideal platformer in practically every way. If you have not yet downloaded this dark and gritty retro title, log onto the Wii U eShop and guide Belmont through an amazing adventure.