The StarSoldier


Artist touch: It's colourful, it's detailed, and it even looks 3D! This artwork tells you exactly what this game is all about. Cover art rating: 10/10
Month it won: January 2006

(Konami, March 1987)
Special note: CastleVania for the NES is one the first games for the system to be censored by Nintendo for its religious content.
Introduction and Story:
There are a lot of things I hate about Nintendo! Sure, I love video games and all and everything about them but Nintendo really upset me when they re-released only a hand full of their NES games to the Gameboy Advance. Not only were the games priced too high especially compared to the average NES price on auctions but C'mon: did we really need to see Ice Climbers and Xevious again? It wasn't all bad though because Nintendo (with Konami's help of course) re-released the legendary Castlevania again. Weather it's for the NES or whatever you can find it on see why the original Castlevania made such an impact.

One of the reasons people loved the game so much was because it had a amazing theme and story here. It's the 16th century in Europe and the evil Count Dracula has awakened from 100 years of enforced sleep after being killed by one of relatives of the Belmont clan. A more powerful Dracula is now preparing his minions of the undead to conquer the world and only the grandson of the heroic Belmont family can stop him. You play as Simon Belmont and you must travel alone with only family's legendary whip and faith in God to rid the world of the evil Count Dracula and his grand army. Oddly enough Nintendo took out a lot of the Christian terms and turned weapons like Crosses and Holy Water into Boomerangs and Potions.
Controls and Game Play:
Controlling Simon is as easy as it gets in this 2D platform game. The B button is used for his whip, Up and B is used for your projectile attacks (Knifes, Axes, Holy Water, and Boomerangs) and the A button is used for the jump. Jumping itself can be a bit tricky especially when there are lots of enemies that can kill you in mid-jump but it can be mastered with a bit of timing. With that being said that's pretty much it for the controls, they are simple enough for anybody to learn no problem.

It's a good thing that the controls are so good because you are going to need everything you got to survive this deadly castle.
Castlevania begins easy enough with tons of weak enemies that are more then happy to run into your whip and simple enough platforms but the later levels like the Clock Tower and Dungeon are especially difficult since it only takes four hits to kill you off. It doesn't help matters when you have defeat difficult monsters like Frankenstein or the Grim Reaper himself either. It's not too impossible once you study the patterns and get the right weapons but just get ready to die a lot here.
Graphics and Sounds:
Sure, the game may be difficult but the award for fighting all these monsters is being able to see just how detailed all these enemies are and the same goes for the dire but cool scenery. Many NES games during the mid-1980's were your typical cute family friendly games (i.e. Super Mario Bros. and Kid Icarus) so Castlevania's darker more creepy style was a breath of fresh air for more mature gamers looking for destruction. Although the game has some repetitious and bland visuals here and there, the game's dark graphics still fit the horror theme well.

The game also has a great list of music and sound effects too. Each stage comes with it's own eerie soundtrack and I love the little things the game does like the smack sound each time you hit a enemy to the whoosh sound when you throw a weapon. It seems like everything has its own unique sound here. Some of the music can be somewhat out of place and a bit annoying since it's so old but each track still sound better then the average NES game especially for it's day.
The Bottomline:  
With all its crazy but intense monster slaying action here across 6 challenging and well designed levels, Castlevania on NES is just like the arcade title of the same name. It may seem like a pretty basic game now especially compared to future editions of the series (like past Games of the Month: Symphony of the Night and Circle of the Moon) but the simple yet satisfying monster fighting game play is still as fun as ever and it's still one tough title without being too unfair like a Battletoads or Chakan The Forever Man. If you like old horror movies or just action games in general you'll love the theme of the original Castlevania. By the way we're still buddies, eh Nintendo?
overall rating: 84/100

Find Castlevania on eBay here!

For 1 player only
Rated (E) for Everyone

graphics: 7/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 7/10
replay: 6/10

(Ryan Genno) 2006

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