Sgathaich: Super Castlevania IV

Sgathaich Hallowe'enWell my friends, the drought is over, the warmth fades and a darkness lasts a little bit longer each day now. The children of the night start to creep out from under your beds seeking for you to join them. That’s right it’s October and like last year our reviews will feature a more, festive apparel. So let us begin with a retelling of those who first fought back against the dark lord Dracula. It’s time to look at Super Castlevania 4.

Super Castlevania IV/4 is a retelling of the events of the first Castlevania game, 2 being a sequel (that people didn’t like for multiple reasons) and 3 being a prequel. So this is the remake of the first game, which is set after the events of the 3rd game (yes I know I said first I meant in game order not in timeline order, wait till you find there was a third remake on the PS1, it’s often overlooked because there was a VASTLY better and more influential Castlevania game on that system). You play as Simon Belmont who comes equipped with his trusty vampire killer whip, his Belmont strut and weaponized Christianity as he alone makes his way to and through Dracula’s castle to face the vampire himself.

Super Castlevania 4

Unlike the NES original you don’t start out in the castle but instead start out in the castle grounds making your way to the castle. Also unlike the original, Simon is considerably better at moving and handling his whip (ok anyone going to make sick jokes about that can leave now, that’s my job and it will be used in a safe number of times). He can now control his momentum in the air better and whip things in multiple directions as well as use it like a flair for… a little bit of use but the directional whip is the best part.

Right away you will see the graphical improvements over the 8 bit original. Simon is notably larger and more defined and so are the enemies and thanks to directional whipping enemy placement is vastly less cheap. Unlike the original, Simon’s whip is your main and best weapon to the point the sub weapons are vastly less required, you can still get uses out of them but the whip is your ever faithful friend and not just for whipping things. Simon can also use the whip for grabbing onto hanging hoops and much like the grapple beam from Super Metroid (hmm,  wonder why I brought that game up, hint hint)  you can swing to new areas.

The game has 11 levels each with a boss, now the early bosses will pose little to no problem though some of the later ones can be more frustrating especially the boss rush at the end. Some of the levels don’t even end with the boss slain as you then have more level to do before the exit. As mentioned the final level has a boss rush which can be frustrating as the first boss in it is a pain and I had more difficulty than the others, well except for Dracula but that was more learning his patterns. Each level feels different, we have haunted forests, Dracula’s treasure vault and the obligatory clock tower. Often I would find the levels harder than the boss and my main dread was dying on the boss to have to do the level again.

I did enjoy Super Castlevania 4 but be warned, this game doesn’t have a save feature, it does have passwords but no saves. Fortunately on digital releases there is save states that you can use instead or just use it to help with very tricky platforming. So those that still have Wii Us its up on the virtual store and ready to download, get some playing and enjoy some of the most memorable music in gaming .

Rating: spear spear spear spear spear

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