Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse - NES


There are so many games that you will end up going back to where your memories of them are of fun filled afternoons growing up, good times with friends, or great solo quests. And then there are those which you never played, but may have loved the series, like Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior. Most action titles, if good, got a play through or two back in he day as the good stuff for the NES rose to the top quickly through word of mouth and schoolyard bragging rights of those who actually owned the games.

Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse was one of those games that slipped between the cracks. I didn't like the series when I was younger, always despising the difficulty, but I never heard about anything it after Simon's Quest and before Symphony of the Night. Well, I definately missed out.

Castlevania 3 is quite possibly the best of the series for me and the sheer variety of levels is a bit daunting at first, but like hard alchohol, after a few, it goes down smoother.


I have been playing through it, attempting a level a night (when I get a chance to play it) and it is the king of motherf**kery, a super-difficult game that at first feels as if it was designed by people who hate you. There are so many little spots in the game where the game knows what you want to do - and makes you do something different or quicker or way more exact. This pretty much starts at level 4 and carries through the rest of the game.

At first, I really got pissed when I would have to pause for a second before decending a staircase as there was a bird that may fly out or an axe from an Axe Lord that would clip me, but after a while, I liked it. It's as if the game creatrors played the hell out of the game and knew where you could take shortcuts, or move through areas without much trouble and broke up all the easy patterns into way more difficult and exacting ones. Which, it turns out, are way more rewarding anyway.


Take that excellent level design, which would be enough for any series' part 3 and add three other playable, swappable characters, a password system and you have an truely amazing game.

8-Bit sound defiantely has its lovers and I am among them, but the Japanese got the better version of this one, installing another sound chip in the Akumajō Densetsu Famicom cart to give it an unbelieveably awesome soundtrack. Definetely worth getting an adapter for.

I am up to level 8 at the moment and just enjoying the hell out of this one. It now ranks up in my top five of all-time. It's that good.

I'm hoping to finish this one soon and give it another play through as I am finishing it with Sypha first, then trying Alucard again as my first playthrough hit a snag at level 7 and I hated playing through the falling block level a dozen times trying to get it right.

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