"Creatures of the night, exchanging glances . . ."
Black clouds slither across the moon overhead as our hero straps on his tight leather outfit and swaggers over to the rusty gates before him. Just ahead lies a ruined castle, and before this night is through he’s going to subject its occupant to the crack of his whip and a violent end upon his hard wooden stake.
But don’t be afraid, this nocturnal miscreant is merely Simon Belmondo – lash-toting vampire hunter for hire – and he’s setting off to fulfill his ancestral charge. You know the one: ridding the land of Count Dracula and his legions of undying horrors dredged up from beyond the grave.
That’s right, this is a Castlevania game!
In fact it’s the original Castlevania that we all know and many love on the NES – or it would be if it wasn’t for at least one vital difference. Just like with Metroid and Zelda, Akumajou Dracula was actually developed for the Famicom Disk System and only later ported to a cartridge – and even then only in the US and Europe.
But unlike some FDS translations (notably Zelda II and Simon’s Quest), the disk-based Dracula is pretty much identical to ours: it features the same graphics, the same music, and the same hard as hell difficulty thanks to the same sadistic play control. The layout of the candles is different for some reason, and you can input your name at the beginning to personalize the staff roll, but the real difference here is something born out of sheer laziness.
Besides (and because of) its difficulty, one of the complaints you’ll most frequently hear against Castlevania targets its lack of a password system. I certainly would have appreciated one myself way back then; instead most of us became very, very good at repeating the levels over and over again until we could trounce them in our sleep. The rest simply went insane, never realizing
THE HORRIBLE TRUTH:
Staff review by Sho (June 29, 2005)
Sho enjoys classic video games, black comedy, and poking people until they explode -- figuratively or otherwise. He also writes a bit.
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