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|Castlevania; Nintendo 64|
|Topic Started: Sep 15 2008, 05:48 PM (667 Views)|
|Damion_Michaels||Sep 15 2008, 05:48 PM Post #1|
System: Nintendo 64
Release: January 26, 1999 (USA) May 14, 1999 (EU) March 11, 1999 (JP)
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment
Accessories: Controller Pak required
A brief introductory
As a huge "Castlevaniac" since it's earliest days on the NES, it was a huge joy to finally get a chance to see the gothic series I loved in full 3-D glory for the first time! I'll admit that I remained a skeptic in a sort of way. 3-D gaming was a newer concept still in 1999, and I knew full well that games in 3-D could be hit or miss. Castlevania for the N64 in recent years has often become the subject of ridicule as having been a disastrous translation of a classic 2-D side scroller. Many fans still conclude that Castlevania could never work in true 3-D even today, as the series continues to garner mixed emotions with each 3-D adaption. Never the less, Castlevania on N64 is a faithful action adventure title that picks up right where it's previous series entries have left off. You will still navigate dangerous levels negotiating all the classic beasts and monsters this series is known for, on your quest to ultimately put an end to Dracula. Enjoy the Review!
The year is 1852 and Count Dracula awakens from a deep slumber. The people in the neighboring province of Wallachia (located in ancient Transylvania, modern era Romania) have become wicked and vain. The dark hearts of it's citizens inspires power in the dark lord, giving rise once again to his accursed castle known as Castlevania. The foul dark powers emanating from the castle grounds brings with it plague and sickness. Monsters are rising from the trenches, and the shadows spill forth with unholy beings. There is a period of untold terror and chaos which grips the land and claims many victims. Out of the ashes of the burning villages and blackened earth come two seasoned adventurers. Reinhardt Schneider, heir to the namesake of the Belmont clan and wielding the legendary vampire killer, must answer his call to destiny. Like the Belmont's in century's past, Reinhardt knows that he must face the darkness and destroy it's master. Carrie Fernandez, a pupil of the study of sorcery and witchcraft, has decided to brave the dangers and seek out this vile monster. She is young but very powerful and confident that she has what it takes. It is believed that she is descended from Sypha, a mage of inestimable powers that once aided Trevor Belmont many years ago. Will Carrie and Reinhardt survive this unholy night in Castlevania?
Storyline at a glance
The story of Castlevania is a very complex and rich mixture of the traditional Count Dracula and some innovative implementation on Konami's part. Dracula is still a vile and dreadfully powerful vampire that haunts the countryside of Transylvania. Konami has added to the mix by introducing the Belmont's, a family of vampire slayers forged with the eternal task of defeating the dark lord wherever and whenever he arises. The same concept holds true here as well but not without it's own unique twists. This is the first Castlevania to introduce branching story lines and alternate endings depending on how well you play. Playing as either Carrie or Reinhardt, you are given a unique perspective on the way the two individuals see things. They also have a few alternate levels that only THEY can explore. Each character discovers a love interest midway through the game, and the outcome to those do effect the ending you will receive. Along the way you meet some intriguing characters both good and evil with their own stories to tell. It seems the storyline was very well conceived of and EVERYBODY has a surprise or two sure to excite. Even Dracula himself has a little secret for you......
Castlevania is a very basic action adventure that incorporates the occasional puzzle or two, and requires some platforming skills. Scattered across a few levels are various secrets that defy vision. Secret walkways that are invisible, access to alternate routes. Day and night play an integral role in your adventure as it serves many purposes both known to the player, and non apparent purposes as well. At night time the enemies grow stronger than normal for example, dealing greater overall damage and taking less in return. Certain areas are off limits until the night and generally, day and night serve as a time line. The game will record how many days and nights you spend in game and these translate into a few end of game secrets for those who can beat the game quickly. Classic Castlevania money bags are back and this time are worth more than simple points. Players can collect gold and spend the money at various points in the game to purchase essential healing items to stay healthy. Reinhardt's whip gains two upgrades just like the classic adventures, extending the reach and power of the whip with each upgrade. If you should ever die, you'll be required to find the upgrades again. These are commonly found in the smash-able candles and objects that are also a classic Castlevania trend. Carrie and Reinhardt both have access to a side weapon that they keep at all times in substitute of their main weapons. And You'll also find that all of the classic sub weapons have made the return, and require red jewels as a sort of ammunition as opposed to the traditional hearts. You are required to best all of the hazards as well as solving a few puzzles in Castlevania, and defeat the bosses in order to progress in the game.
By all accounts, this game does everything it's 2-D counterparts did, and expands the role by giving greater storyline depth and gameplay in general. By concept alone, it's well translated and means to stay very true to the series.
This game might take a little while to get used to. Reinhardt and Carrie's response to the analog stick is very sensitive. If you so much as barely tap the stick they will creep along. Jumping takes practice, and a good judge of timing and anticipation of landing are required. This game can be very unforgiving with the grueling jumping sequences at times. Right from the start of the game on the very first level this is apparent. You are required to navigate at least 2 dangerous cliffs. One of them forces you to scale the walls down into a series of platforms below and back up to the other side. If these trials should prove too challenging then this game will not be for you. For all the rest of us that stick with it however, it's the camera system that becomes the next problem. You have control of several different views with the tap of the C-buttons. But most of the time the camera just automatically switches to a fixed view anyways depending on the area your in. And the angling is quirky to boot. The most present problem with the camera is when your having to go through difficult jumping sequences. The camera wants to jerk or automatically sway behind you. But all this does is throws off your angle and leaves you plummeting to a cheap death. You have to take it slow believe me. In combat, most enemies are weak and serve only as something to lash at from time to time. It's the boss battles that'll really test your mettle. The controller pak is a requirement in order to save your game and you are given plenty opportunity to save throughtout each area. All in all, the difficulty is challenging for an entry level beginner.
For a 1999 release by Konami no less, this game looks pretty decent. I won't say it's a tour de force...just that it's not so bad. Occasionally things look a little blockier than perhaps it should. But it displays decent texture quality, and features some pretty decent stage designs and backgrounds (if a little barren). There is little to no fogging apparent, and you are able to see all around your character quite well. The frame rate runs rather smoothly much of the time and is never a problem at any point. This game's most defining quality in graphical presentation, is the creative level designs. Your world looks dark, eerie, and gothic at all times as well it should being a Castlevania title.
The first level is all about silence and sound. And it sounds really good. You'll here the undead moan and bones will creak. Thunder will split trees in two. Reinhardt and Carrie will snort and grunt their way through the initial areas. You'll even here their footsteps! Konami did a great job in making Castlevania sound so pleasantly foreboding. Voice acting cuts in from time to time as well. Musically you can't expect a full scale orchestra. This game's soundtrack was built to produce a since of foreboding by using a quiet environmental down tempo appeal. Often times the music is soft and slow but gloomy natured. It's certainly appropriate for the type of gameplay you'll be involved in. And if you continue to play, you'll decidedly enjoy the tunes as it just makes since and feels nice.
With it's true to nature gameplay, Castlevania on the Nintendo 64 retains all the wonderful traits of it's 2-D cousins. Unfortunately since it's in 3-D, not all of these past traits squeeze in so well, and you'll either love or hate it's difficulty that is largely the result of it's 3-D structure. Camera angling takes something away from jumping sequences making them harder than need be. And the ultra sensitive analog stick feels rather quirky since most Castlevania fans had gotten used to the D-pad style gameplay. Barring the occasional cheap deaths, bad camera, and poor motion control at times, these aren't things that will stop determined gamers at all. It's still a shame they force you to use a controller pak because there certainly was enough space in the cartridge for a battery backed option. Castlevania looks decent for it's time of release and sounds wonderful! I can't talk enough about the soundtrack. It's perhaps my favorite aspect of the game personally. It won't quite be the Beethoven sensation ringing in the music halls. But it will suit the mood and is really nice for a cartride based soundtrack. It isn't a very lengthy game but it features some good replay content such as an unlockable difficulty as well as two playable characters with a few alternate stages. It has some added features like hidden costumes for expert gamers to find. In due fairness, it's not perfect but it's perhaps been judged a little too harshly in the past.
Overall Score: 7/10
|I'll have you know, I speak fluent Spanish. I know how to say TACO BELL daggit!!! So don't make me go all mexican food on ya or you will feel my burrito rage. Chalupa kick foo!|
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