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Castlevania (1986)

Diposkan oleh irfan on Sunday, September 19, 2010

With Halo: Reach just recently being released, one of my friends just called me crazy for wanting to play "some old game" when I could be playing one of the best games ever. I then went on to tell him that these older games, though they can be challenging and extremely frustrating some a lot of the time, also are a lot of fun. He called me crazy again and went back to Halo, but I know I'll be able to convince him one of these days.

So this "some old game" that you guys voted for me to play is Castlevania for the NES. I had heard a lot about Castlevania games before playing, but I have never actually played any of them. Before actually starting, I knew that your weapon of choice is a... whip. Why would anyone choose a whip? Anyways, you're using your whip to fight your way through levels of monsters until you get to the Count. After reading the manual, I was actually pretty excited to face all the classic horror monsters like Frankenstein and Medusa. I honestly was not expecting to get much further than Frankenstein based on the average difficulty of these games, yet strangely I didn't care ( probably because I just looked at Battletoads and I knew games could only get nicer to me from there).
I didn't even notice this was the first boss until I beat him

Game Commentary: At the beginning of the game, I must admit that I was a little surprised. The whip mechanics were really fun to play with, and the beginning of the game was easy enough for you to get the feel of the controls before doing anything seriously challenging. After I had beating the Phantom Bat, I was already loving this game.

But what seems to be a trend already, what I found myself thinking quickly turned on me and I found myself yelling in rage. This time it was not the enemies, not the unfairness of the game, but the jumping mechanics. It sort of baffles me that a game that focuses on platforming as much as Castlevania does, can have such awful jumping mechanics. It is designed so that you often have to jump at the last second to make it to the next platform, and when you make it you have a high chance of just geting knocked right off by incoming enemies (screw you floating Medusas!) I found myself falling down holes well over 50 times solely on the tunnel (10th stage).
Here I am just before being knocked to my death by a
floating Medusa head

On a tangent, this dying thing does bring up something that I really, really enjoyed in this game; when you die, there is an option to Continue. I was expecting to have to start the whole game over, but I was delightfully surprised when I found out that you only start the level over. You also never run out of continues, so it helps facilitate game progression and not make you memorize levels (that is, until later in the game). This is new to my gaming experience on the NES, and I certainly welcomed it.

So as I was going through this game, I was noticing that getting to the bosses became extremely difficult to do without losing most of my health (leaving me out of luck for the actual boss fights). I kept thinking to myself, these mummies are ridiculous, they can't make it a whole lot harder than these guys. Then I end up having to deal with Frankenstein and Igor and a controller was almost thrown. By the time I had gotten to the Grim Reaper, I couldn't bring myself to try and beat him.

I'm pretty sure this constitutes rape :(
What I Loved: I really enjoyed this game. I loved the setting, the story, the music, the atmosphere, the vast array of bad guys... all of it. I especially enjoyed the fighting mechanics, more specifically the incorporation of several "alternative weapons" and how that played into my strategies. There were only a couple that I felt were complete wastes of hearts. I would frequently find myself picking up different weapons solely to find out how to maximize their bad-guy-slaying abilities. The "Continue at the beginning of the level" part was very, very nice to have and is the only reason I made it anywhere near the Grim Reaper in the first place. The large variety of enemies was very nice as well, but the Medusas simply needed to be removed from the game.
These hunchbacks were almost as bad as the Medusas

What I Hated: The jumping mechanics of this game were terrible. When you find yourself on a moving platform, hope that you won't have to jump for some reason (ex. a bat flying at you like the beginning of stage 10) or else you'll end up in the holes. Also, I just hated the Medusa's with a passion. These floating heads were nearly impossible for me to hit, yet they always managed to hit me off the edge.

General Impression: This game was really entertaining. Though it had it's problems, and certainly ended up filling the requirements of "Nintendo Hard," it was a very enjoyable game to play. The best part I would say is the combat. I can see why the guys at Konami chose Castlevania as their main game series. With a nice combination of whipping monsters and using a wide variety of other weapons, it is something that would have definitely been on of my favorite childhood games had I been born 10 years earlier.


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