Sunday, October 28, 2012

Game Review: Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

Action/Platformer; NES; Komani;1990
Evening my evil entities from the eternal ether. Okay, I will stop with the alliterations for this is the third and final Halloween review and this one is a masterpiece. Today we are reviewing the last of the Castlevania trilogy for the Nintendo Entertainment System: Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. After the "meh" reaction of Castlevania II, will a return to the original formula that made the original game so popular work for this installment. Well, since I just called it a masterpiece I'm guessing the answer is yes. It is time to return once again to Transylvania and stop Dracula at the very beginning.

My name is Trevor. And I'm a Badass!
Our tale begins in the 15th Century, well over a hundred years before Simon's battle against the dreaded Vampire Lord, and unrest spreads across Transylvania: Dracula has arrived and his demonic powers are corrupting the land. The dead rise from their graves, beasts seek the flesh of man, and many have lost their lives. Desperation sinks in as all of Europe realizes the only way to defeat Dracula is to seek a member of the Belmont clan. The Belmont clan has been feared for their supernatural strength and ability to fight the forces of evil, but now that strength is the only thing that can stop Dracula's Curse. Fortunately, they found such a man, a vampire hunter by the name of Trevor Belmont. Now, the fate of the world rests in his hands, if he succeeds the name Belmont shall be revered for generations to come, if he fails the world will be covered with darkness. Only time will tell, as Trevor Belmont makes his way to Dracula's castle: Castlevania.

Dammit! Even the Skeletons are copying me!
The best way to describe Castlevania III is to say that, it is just like Castlevania I... if every single dial was cranked up to eleven and beyond. The basic controls remain the same, you walk, jump, and attack at the same rate as Castlevania I, and even all of the subweapons return without much alternation. However, the game sports 16 stages all together and is one of the first games to have branching paths. At the end of some stages you can choose whether to go into one stage or another before all paths converge at the gates of Castlevania. The choice is completely up to you and each of the different paths deliver different challenges and are set-up in very different ways. Also, unlike Simon, Trevor isn't going at this alone, he can be accompanied by one of three companions: Grant, an acrobat who can control his rather high jump and cling to walls and ceilings but has no range and can't take a hit; Alucard, Dracula's half-human son who can turn into a bat and throws projectiles from his cape, but doesn't dish out that much damage; and Syfa (or Sypha as she is later called, AND YES SHE IS A WOMAN), who takes more damage and is short ranged with her weapon, but her unique spells makes her a complete powerhouse. You can only take one and which one you find is dependent on which path you take.

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit! STOP ATTACKING ME!
Like I said, Castlevania III is like Castlevania I if you injected it with a ton of steroids, and this includes the difficulty. You are constantly faced with nearly impossible situations that seem like the game designers never except you to ever survive (Though there is always a way... It's just you might have to die several times to find it). Stages are much longer, there are more enemies types, and finally there are the bosses. Good grief, if you thought taking on Frankenstein's monster while having an immortal fleaman jump around throw fireballs at you was tough (with it was) then how about having to slog through 5 minutes of a stage that includes a long and annoy falling block section and a mid-boss, only to have to fight against a boss that contains 3 SEPARATE PARTS! Also remember that this is Castlevania, which means that as soon as you get hit you fly backwards into whatever happens to be behind you, and considering the number of vertical stages with screen cut offs and bosses where you have to fight from platforms suspended avoid nothing, chances are nothing is behind you.

Castlevania III is hard, very hard, VERY VERY VERY HARD. But like I said with Castlevania I it is the kind of hard that teaches you how not to suck so hard the next time you attempt this section of the stage (Which might take a while if you had to continue). But unlike Castlevania I, Castlevania III gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you beat the game. Instead of giving you a list of play-on-words names of famous horror stars, it gives a nice epilogue that is different depending on who you took with you on your quest. It makes you feel mighty as you not only beat one of the hardest game on the NES, but also that the game kind of rewarded you for such an achievement. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, is my favorite game of the entire Castlevania series (Yes, even beating out Symphony of the Night), and should be played by anyone who is willing to test their gaming might.

There you have it, until next time.

-Crescent, Velcome, and Happy Halloween.

No comments:

Post a Comment