Reviewed by Joey Anderson, Posted on 2007-11-01


Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami
Release Date: May 1, 1987 Also On: None

One may wonder, with Castlevania games popping up on every system ever made at regular intervals, why would someone go back and review the NES version? Two reasons, really. The first being that the game turned twenty years old this year and secondly, even after twenty years, this is the game in the series I go back to most often.

The star of Castlevania is Simon Belmont, descendant of a long line of vampire hunters. You see, Dracula has a terrible habit of coming back to life every hundred years to wreak havoc on Transylvania, and the populace always turns to the Belmont family for relief. Like a true champion, Simon takes up the legendary and appropriately named whip Vampire Killer, and makes haste toward Dracula's castle.

Castlevania is a standard 8-bit platform game consisting of 6 stages, laid out in a linear fashion. The stages all vary in appearance, the entrance, underground, the clock tower, etc. In fact most of the stages in later Castlevania games throw back to the stages in the original, and yes, every instance of the clock tower stage is a painful affair. The bosses at the end of the stages are typically legendary horror persona - Frankenstein's Monster, Medusa, and Death all make an appearance before it's time to face off with the Count.

Graphically, Castlevania is typical for the NES. Nothing too flashy, but it all works well. You know that the Medusa heads that repeatedly knock you off platforms are, in fact, Medusa heads. The soundtrack for the game is one of my favorites for the 8-bit era, and most of them you've heard in other games if you follow the series.

The most common complaint about Castlevania is the difficulty. Bear in mind this game was released back before there was voice acting, cut scenes, item collecting, and anything else aside from the stages to entertain the player. Castlevania is difficult because that's the only way it knows to get you to pick up the controller again. I've always been a fan of what I call, "games that hate you" and Castlevania is fairly close to the top of my list there. The game is not impossible, however, and killing the Count has to be one of my all time greatest gaming moments. If you are an easily frustrated gamer, well, you have been warned. If you have yet to play the grandfather of all Castlevanias, I really would suggest a purchase, as it is available for the NES, Game Boy Advance and now the Wii Virtual Console.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9
Written by Joey Review Guide

Reviewed by Joey Anderson