Castlevania

  • Konami

  • FormatArcade & Videogames
  • TypeAction - Platformer
  • SystemConsole

If somebody were to name the most famous 2D platformer franchise, the most common responses would be Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog or maybe Megaman. 

Castlevania was one of the first horror themed console games and achieves this end beautifully
Ben “Blinge” Cataldo


Lurking just outside the window however is Castlevania, one of the oldest series still enjoying new releases today.

In Castlevania you assume the role of Simon Belmont, a hero from a clan of vampire hunters. You have a simple mission; battle your way into Castle Dracula and kill its owner. Although he's Dracula in all but name as the manual simply refers to him as "The Count."

Castlevania was one of the first horror themed console games and achieves this end beautifully. As Belmont progresses through the castle he encounters new themes in each stage. First, a zombie infested entrance, an ascent through crumbling stairs and hallways, a race across rooftop parapets, an underground cavern, a grim laboratory and finally the iconic clock tower that has since become a staple of the series. The whole game is replete with gothic imagery and these surroundings are suitably aged as to look like a still-living ruin: the castle itself seems undead. 

Castlevania is a very challenging game, with a focus on trial and error gameplay as the source of difficulty. While a modern gamer may dismiss Belmont’s sluggish movement as old games having bad controls; slower movement and lack of agility is integral to the balance of the game, and the controls are suited to this purpose. It is usually a player’s rash actions that get them killed rather than Belmont’s speed.

Overcoming frustration and learning how to deal with a difficult section to the point where you can beat it every time and progress further is an immensely rewarding experience, it’s what makes Castlevania such a good game and the essence of why we enjoy challenging experiences. Castlevania shows innovation in terms of spectacle during gameplay (not a cutscene!) the final ascent up a long staircase into the Count’s throne room with the music constantly cranking up the tension must have been mind-blowing for somebody playing it for the first time in 1987.

The NES revolution brought something that console gaming hadn’t seen before; the ability to pick a theme and run with it, fashioning a coherent gaming experience from that theme. Castlevania does this with gothic horror, it does it with spooky imagery and sounds but doesn’t detract from the fun of a platformer/action game. The gameplay itself even feeds into that theme by encouraging the player to take their time and think about how they’ll tackle each challenge. Many design elements in modern games can be traced back to this pioneering time, or Castlevania itself. One could go as far as to suggest that this game was the Dark Souls of its time.

Review by by Ben “Blinge” Cataldo

For the full extended review from Ben - see the GYL blog http://gamesyouloved.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/castlevania-review.html

Castlevania - NES - playthroughCLICK the carousel below to see the gaming pics and videos:

Castlevania - NES - Music

  • Konami

  • FormatArcade & Videogames
  • TypeAction - Platformer
  • SystemConsole

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