NES – #26 – Castlevania

History:
My introduction to Castlevania was actually on the SNES with Super Castlevania IV, and I’ve been hooked on the series ever since. That said, I’ve never actually played the NES versions.

Expectations:
I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve beaten a game on this list, so I’m hoping to be able to with this one despite the fact that its difficulty precedes it.


Night 1:

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This. This is a fun game. I mean I knew from the start that it would be, but it’s nice to have that confirmation. I gleefully whipped, stabbed and sliced my way through the first level of the game, soaking in that amazing music and axing the first boss in no time.

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So much for sleep… The first stage was obviously the warm up as the second proved much more difficult. Not that it was particularly difficult, just more so than the first! I picked up the Cross weapon early on here which made the stage easier than it otherwise would have been, and while it did manage to infect me with chronic nightmares the second boss fell easily.

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And here we are at Stage 3. Clearly the game knew I was having too much and decided to teach me a lesson… I’m not saying I’m not having fun anymore, just that I’m apparently expected to be paying attention now! I couldn’t clear the third level tonight. Too tired, bit of a headache, but I am looking forward to playing more tomorrow!


Night 2:

Tonight involved a lot of resetting. I’ve found that I can’t beat the third stage without the Cross from the second stage, and so I reset, and I reset, and I reset, until I could finally start making it to those mummies without incurring a single death!

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I was able to kill (re-kill?) those bandaged bastards and progress to the next stage. This underground water level was… fun… Now that I didn’t need the Cross I could gameover repeatedly and lose only my score and pride. And I did… I must have spent about 30 minutes and a dinner break just trying to get through this first room! Once I did, the Frankenstein’s Monster boss was pretty easy, and it was on to the next…

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Seriously, just screw this game. I spent more time in this level in the face-down-ass-up position than a… never mind. This level’s hard. After dying several times I did finally start to get the patterns down, making it to the Pre-Death Hallway of Doom a few times. Actually the hallway wasn’t as bad as I’d been told, but it was still pretty bad. Knowing that monsters taking damage from Holy Water helped immensely.

Death himself, on the other hand, was exactly as hard as I’ve been told. After a couple attempts it was time to check in for the night.


Night 3:

Night 3 and the game is still really fun. I realize after reading over last night’s post that I may have implied I’m not having fun. I am having fun.

I’m still stuck at the same point I was last night, but I can reach that point much more gracefully now. I’m finding my biggest enemy in the game isn’t skeletons or bats, but accidentally picking up the wrong weapon! I’ve gotten to the point where if I accidentally grab the Dagger after getting the Cross in Stage 2, I just reset. Same with losing the Holy Water in Stage 4 for Frankenstein.

I think I’ll give this game an extra night.


Night 4:

I spent my entire morning trying to progress through this game…

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…It didn’t go great. The good news is that I can consistently reach Death now AND do it with triple Holy Water and full or mostly full health. The bad news is… well… Death.

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I tried several times, clearing up to this point. I must have said at least twenty times “Okay, this will be my last attempt!”. When I looked up it was noon. I just could not get that Holy Water lock down, and once he starts moving, it’s basically over.

Well I tried.


Liked:
The game in general mostly, it was great! The music wasn’t quite up the standard it hit around Super Castlevania IV or Symphony of the Night, but it was good, and a few of the stages had memorable tracks. The controls were tight enough, and I never felt like the engine was cheating me. Deaths mostly felt like my fault. The game was just overall very fun, looked good too. I liked seeing the origins of all the monsters I’d be killing in future games.

Disliked:
The sub-weapon system was frustrating. Accidentally picked up a dagger? Reset. I forced me to take things slower than I felt I should have had to, but it’s overall a minor complaint. As was the case with most games back then, the collision detection was occasionally not quite on point, making a few deaths feel cheap.

Play it Again?
Yep! One day I’ll get Death down and call this one cleared.

NES-Castlevania

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