One thing that I’ve been gradually learning over the course of the early Castlevania games that I’ve played so far is that it doesn’t always pay to be greedy.
Indeed, sometimes it’s in your best interests to forego potential rewards in favour of just proceeding onwards more safely. After all, you can’t make good use of those rewards if you’re dead, can you?
Castlevania III plays with this idea quite a lot, and it presents a few takes on it over the course of its early stages.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse – #2
I have, as they say, been looking forward to this.
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is not a game I have any experience with whatsoever, aside from one critical aspect: its music. Specifically, back when the PS1 was current, I had an original copy of Symphony of the Night (which, believe me, I severely regret getting rid of now!) that came with a soundtrack CD. On that CD was a single track from Castlevania III — or more accurately, its Famicom incarnation, Akumajō Densetsu. It left quite an impression on me.
Now, thanks to the release of the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, I finally get to experience Castlevania III as truly intended. And I’m very excited about it.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse – #1
I finished Simon’s Quest! Yes, indeed, even after my podcasting buddy and good friend Chris Caskie suggested that I wouldn’t be able to stick it out to the end… I did!
It wasn’t even entirely down to stubbornness or a desire to prove him wrong. I actually enjoyed the whole experience. Well, all right, most of the experience. I didn’t love the bits where progression was dependent on doing something arbitrary in an equally arbitrary location, and the three bosses in the game were all complete garbage, being both ridiculously easy and mechanically uninteresting… but aside from that, I had a great time.
Let’s review what I’ve learned from my experiences, then.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – #3
City Connection by Jaleco is by no means a classic of the NES age; it tends to be either forgotten or greeted with a resounding “meh”, if it ever comes up at all.
The game’s recent addition to the Nintendo Switch Online NES app reminded me that I’ve always been rather fond of it, though, and there’s a few interesting things about it, too!
Strap in and let’s take a look, then.
Continue reading NES Essentials: City Connection
One of the games in Konami’s Castlevania Anniversary Collection that I was most interested to dig into was Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.
I say this with the full knowledge that it has a bit of a reputation as being one of the least well-regarded Castlevania titles out there — but that was, in part, why I was curious to check it out for myself.
The other reasons I was keen to explore it was that the very concept and ambition of it intrigued me — and it’s one of the few early-era Castlevania titles that I’ve never, ever played before at all. So let’s take a first look!
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – #1
Last time around, we looked at how Castlevania’s overall mechanics and sense of game design can be traced forward to technical action games such as From Software’s popular titles.
Today, I wanted to focus on some other important and distinctive aspects of this original NES installment: specifically the platforming component, and the boss fights.
All of the elements we’ll have talked about by the end of today combine together to create the distinctive experience that is Castlevania — not just for this first game, but for much of the early series.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania – #2
If there’s one thing Nintendo has absolutely always been good at, it’s sequels.
How do you follow up a big hit like Donkey Kong? More of the same? Some lesser companies might think that is a good way of doing things, but not Nintendo — even back in the ’80s. Instead, they chose to take a very interesting approach: they’d take the formula of Donkey Kong and flip it on its head, placing the previous game’s hero in the role of the villain, and tasking you with rescuing the titular big ape.
Donkey Kong Jr. was born, and Nintendo’s rapidly establishing reputation for creating simple to understand, difficult to master and highly addictive games was further cemented.
Continue reading NES Essentials: Donkey Kong Jr.