Castlevania – I never use to play these games growing up but since the release of the DS games, I really started to enjoy them. I think they were just too hard for me when I was young! Looking at all the classic titles (before Symphony of the Knight – which took the game in an excellent but different direction), I believe that is is among the best!
Story is similar to just about every Castlevanmia game – Dracula is back from the dead and must be slayed once again! This time around however, you are journeying across six levels throughout Europe.
As usual, you take control of a Belmont (i.e., John Morris – a distant relative of the family) to hunt Dracula, but also have access to another main character Eric Lecarde! What makes this addition standout is that each character controls differently and has different moves. For instance, John has a whip, can swing Indiana Jones style, and make diagonal attacks while Eric has a giant spear, can make huge vertical jumps which can get him to secret areas, and can attack straight up while standing still. You cannot see the whole game without playing through the game as each of them!
The levels themselves are expertly designed with branching paths, excellent platforming sections, and gorgeous visuals. Each stage is broken up into numerous parts, including mini bosses and a final monster. The bosses themselves are fun and epic – some of which are as tall as the screen! While the game is hard (I have not actually beat it yet, but have got to stage 4) I never felt like the game was cheap – it was all about my level of skill as a player. In total you get 2 continues on top of the number of lives you select to start with (I got with 5 lives because I need the extra help)!
The visuals in this game are among the best on the Genesis with great colour depth that exudes a sense of darkness and horror. The music is excellent as well with satisfying sound-effects. In sum, this game has excellent design, challenging but fair gameplay, and a diversity of characters which increase replay value. I give this game a 9/10 and think it is one of the best Castlevania games ever made.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10