The Castlevania series continues and this time on the next generation! The SNES got it’s anticiapted Castlevania release in 1991. Let’s see how the transition to 16-bit was for the Castlevania series!
The game title screen sets the Castlevania tone right way and you know you are in for some good action. After you start the game, take a few steps, you enter the castle grounds and the action begins with the sweet tune of Simon Belmont’s theme. Yes, here you play as Simon Belmont again in what i guess is then a remake of the first Castlevania game. Too soon? i think so, the first release on a 16-bit system should have had it’s own unique identity and cool story adding to the Castlevania lore, so i feel like doing this is kind of a lost opportunity.
Anyway, the game plays a lot like the older Castlevania titles, but wait! whip in 8 directions! Alter my jump in mid-air! oh my go this is so awesome!!! Or wait, is it? Well, yes i have to admit that it feels very refreshing and fluid but it completely breaks the game. The controls are good and better than in the previous titles according to most, and playing through this game is very fun but i just cannot help but mention how so many of this games’ enemies are redundant because of the new 8 direction whip. One addition i like is holding the whip button makes you drop the whip in a defensive stance, in that stance you can swing the whip around for a part of the damage the whip normally does. This is a great addition, makes the game more fluid without fundamentally changing or breaking it.
I hope you get my point and how i feel like this breaks the game. Because of this i almost never died because i lost all my health. 95% of my deaths were pits, spikes or other one shot death dangers. I didn’t like that very much, mainly because i like the fighting aspect of Castlevania a lot more than the platforming aspect. There is this mudman early in the game that does nothing but take your time, he is so slow that he will never ever be able to damage you, but when you hit him he splits into many more little mudmen and the SNES starts to lag a lot. Boring enemy that makes you lag… I don’t like that either.
But like i said the game plays well and feels fluid and fun. It is also pretty long with 11 stages who are very diverse in environment, feel and gameplay. Some of the bosses are very fun but others you can just spam until they die if you have plenty of health left. I feel like the bosses in Castlevania 1 and 3 were more of a challenge. One thing i have to mention is the final battle in this game. Up until now this is probably my favorite Dracula fight. Without spoiling (those who have played the game know what i’m talking about), the song that plays in the final battle just near the end… I got goosebumps, such a great moment. Another great thing is that now you use R on the SNES controller to use weapons so you will not accidentally go up stairs while trying to use items. Still i have to say you don’t use that many items in this game since the whip mechanics are so broken.
Regarding difficulty i would say this game is easier than both Castlevania 1 and 3. This does not mean the game is easy, you will die plenty of times but not for the right reasons i feel like. Like i mentioned earlier you will die platforming, not fighting. The difficulty of Super Castlevania IV appeals to more casual gamers and gamers new to the Castlevania series so if not the first Castlevania i would recommend this game as a first Castlevania to play, even though going from this to the old one direction whip is probably kind of rough.
If you are used to the NES Castlevania games or any newer ones you might think some sprites and Simon himself look a little silly but it will grow on you. The game looks nice and have some cool effects like rotating backgrounds and levels. The level design is very good apart from enemies that are too easy to take care of because of the 8-directional whip but that is a positive thing for many even though i don’t like it.
The music is very good. The theme of Simon Belmont is kind of unorthodox but very badass. There are many other nice tunes but i think Super Castlevania IV falls a bit short on having as good a soundtrack as in the NES games.
Here is a longplay, see for yourself, play and see if you agree with me or flame me if you disagree 🙂 ***contains spoilers***
Overall i think Super Castlevania is a very good and a very fun game that i would recommend for most however it has a few faults that bring it down, for example how the 8-directional whip is broken, lack of story, some bosses are kinda lame and the music is a bit lower than we are used to with Castlevania in my opinion. The gameplay however is very good and most will have a good time since this is one of the most forgiving Castlevania games.It has a password system like Castlevania 3 so you can always come back and have your unlimited continues like we are used to.
Lasting Appeal 7,5
Is it fun? 8
Thanks for reading 🙂