Castlevania – NES
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date (NA): May 1, 1987
Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10
Castlevania is the first of the many in the franchise. While not being the best, it was the building blocks for the fantastic series to come. Not many games have been able to take on the public as NES games and continue on to stay successful throughout the years with each next-gen console. That’s partially a lie, there are plenty, but for this review, I am right.
This was probably the first game I ever became addicted to. I was 3 years old when I played it for the first time. My uncle had rented it from this guy who drove down the block, like the ice cream man, but with video games (I swear I’m not making this up). I played it for ages, well, only a few days, but I could not beat it. I never played such a hard game. Even as a 28 year old adult, this game is hard. But it’s awesome. I blame Castlevania for my love of vampires and anything related. Why am I writing this like I have ADD? Squirrels are cool.
The main idea behind Castlevania is that you are this human dude who has ancestors that “kill” Dracula every hundred years. This gets more confusing as the series continues because some shit happens every century, while some shit seems to happen in between…it just gets real fucking quirky and I am too lazy to try to figure out the timeline.
In THIS Castlevania, the protagonist is Simon Belmont. He uses the inherited family heirloom, the Vampire Killer (it’s a fucking whip), to kill oodles of monsters as he tries to blast through Castlevania, all the way to Dracula’s chamber and “kill” him. Simon finds a few sub-weapons along the way such as Holy Water, a Cross, a Dagger, an Axe, and a Stopwatch.
These little guys can really make or break your chances of advancing. If you have the Stopwatch, you can fly past some areas that are just way too riddled with douchebags, but if you accidentally picked up a Dagger right before you walked through some shit, you’re fucked. Overall, the game is pretty sweetly designed and only has a few controlling flaws that stand out, i.e., holding the d-pad a little oddly, causing you to use your sub-weapon instead of whipping a faggot.
The graphics are what got me enthralled as a child. When you’re 3 years old in 1988, there aren’t fantastical 3-dimensional images in the video game world. I’m not implying that the graphics in Castlevania sucked, but I’m not trying to claim that they were stupendous, either. But, for the wee lad I was, they were INCREDIBLE. In reality, they were only cool, more than anything else. The monsters look pretty decent (except that terrible rendition of Dracula), but, I mean, Simon looks like a dominatrix with the amount of leather he’s rockin’. Moving onward.
My favorite part, you guessed it, the music. I can’t really express how much I love the music in this series of games. But to be specific about THIS game, it is the least elaborate, but still stinking great! Besides the fact that, that remark makes no sense, the music fits the game perfectly. It screams, “monster whipping action goodness,” or something more clever.
When all is said and done, this Castlevania really starts off the series with good hope. While not being the best, it still has great qualities that make it an enjoyable game. The games in the series, as they progress, get better and better. If you start off with this one and you aren’t really digging it, don’t assume the rest are going to be the same. Give it a shot, you might end up being a Castlevania nut, like me!!
Be sure to check out Nerd Bacon’s other Castlevania reviews!
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (by The Cubist)
- Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (by The Cubist)
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (by Doobs)
Reviewed by Doobs
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