I’ve played one Castlevania game on a handheld, not counting Symphony of the Night PS1 Classic on the Vita, and this was not it.
I’ve seen a bit of this game while flipping through random CGR Undertow videos, and it looks decent enough. As long as I get some solid level design without too much frustration, I’ll be happy.
Yep… this is a hard game.
Not Castlevania III hard, but hard enough. The game has you navigating four sub-castles before finally moving on to Castlevania itself, and I’m happy to see that all the castles offer varied environments and challenges. I’m going ahead and doing them in the order the game gives to me, which means starting with the Crystal Castle, which wasn’t too terribly hard once I learned you can slide down ropes.
The game plays like a super slow version of the first game. And you only get the throwing ax and holy water. And you level 3 whip shoots fireballs…
Your character moves at the speed of smell, and the jumping is as unwieldy as ever, but it all still manages to work.
The first castle ended with a boss fight against the Weather Wizard, or something. It only took getting hit once to learn the pattern and take him out without much difficulty.
The second castle was much more difficult, and had some neat mechanics where knocking out candles would make the room go dark until you either found another candle, or threw down a holy water. It was a neat concept that worked out really well, and added a lot of distinction and atmosphere to the rocky underground themed castle.
The boss here was harder than the first, but equally as manageable.
After that I spent some time in the Plant Castle, but had to call it quits after a few deaths. Luckily the password system in this game is very simple, so I’ll be able ot easily pick things up again tonight!
Playing with a controller really didn’t make the game much easier, but I was able to get through the Plant Castle an ddefeat the surprisingly easy boss on my first attempt.
The boss was pretty easy though, despite eating a couple lives before I figured out how to beat him. After that it was a long trek through both sections of the final Castlevania stages until I eventually found myself face to face with Dracula himself!
I wanted to quit so many times. I can’t remember how many game overs I got here. What this boss boiled down to was a memory game: Remember where he teleports to, remember where to stand in response, remember where to stand next. The pattern never changes, so all it takes is repetition. Lots and lots of repetition.
God forbid I wimp out of actually have to learn a fight, so I stuck with it, until eventually…
In the end, I’m actually left feeling a bit underwhelmed by this game. The challenge was good, the level designs were okay, the controls were manageable, and the final boss fight was fun and memorable. Still, it’s just not a game that’s going to sit on my mind, let alone warrant another playthrough anytime soon.
Aside from the slow controls and iffy jump mechanics, there’s not a whole lot to complain about. I guess my biggest issue is that for a Castlevania game it’s incredibly average.
– Classic Castlevania gameplay pulled straight from the NES
– Easy to use password system, and otherwise solid game length.
– Fun and challenging final boss.
– Nothing particularly exciting about the game, and no real reason for me to come back and play it again.