The Castlevania series introduced a new standard for horror-themed video games in the 1980s. Being grounded in all the familiar monster movie tropes, Konami exercises free license over such characters as the Frankenstein monster and the Mummy.

Dracula is the ghoul of the hour, and he’s absolutely menacing in this game when he transforms into his fire-breathing form. All of the visuals are well done, and there’s an eerie presence about the castle as you navigate halls by torchlight with monsters shambling about. Your primary method of attack is a whip known as the Vampire Killer and it becomes a real powerhouse after a few upgrades. You can also equip secondary weapons like axes and daggers, but in order to use them, you’ve got to collect the hearts that are stashed in the numerous candelabras posted throughout the castle. The gameplay is tight and responsive, though the jumps are a little unforgiving in their trajectory. Actually, the level design may prove to be your greatest foe as enemies guard small platforms aggressively, and with airborne hazards thrown into the mix, you’ll need to be vigilant not to be knocked into the abyss below. You’re always one miscalculated jump or one errant fireball away from instant death by pitfall, but luckily, there’s a checkpoint system in effect, so you won’t need to restart each level from the beginning if you lose a life. The boss fights are challenging, but fair. Just be sure to stock up on extra hearts before you fight the Grim Reaper. Castlevania is the game that introduced the Belmont clan’s struggle against Dracula. It’s a great beginning to an incredible action saga, as well as a fantastic homage to classic horror cinema. You don’t want to miss it.

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Author: wyldephang
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Parent Category: Nintendo
Category: NES