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Breathing life into the old games...
I'll have to caution the readers of this review by admitting that I'm a huge fan of the Castlevania Series - all of them. Heck, I even liked Castlevania 64. With that said, I'll try to remain unbiased throughout this review. However, chances are that if you're not a die-hard fan of the series, then you're not looking into buying this game in the first place. To me, there's nothing better than taking an old game like Castlevania, and having the game revamped (no pun intended) with updated graphics, musical score, and playability. (Think along the lines of Final Fantasy Origins or Super Mario Bros. All-Stars.) Of course, "Chronicles" is not an exact replication of the original NES Castlevania entry, which motivates the experienced player to adventure through the unhallowed halls of Dracula's home that much more just to see what's new or redesigned. As with most Castlevania games, the difficulty is a little high on the spectrum. In my opinion, it lay somewhere between "Cussing the TV screen" and "Throwing the controller against the wall" ranges. Feel free to insert your own rating system. If you can actually beat Castlevania 1 or 3 for the NES, then you should have no problems here. Levels are either 85% redesigned (or brand new altogether) and are packed with a slew of totally new enemies, along with all your old favorites. And even though the game is much prettier, (parallax scrolling, special effects, etc) the settings and play control are certainly true to the original Castlevania. I think that it's a great way for newer fans used to more up-to-date graphics to get into the series, but I'm certainly not saying they should ignore the NES entries either. For example, my son, who is 12 at the time of this writing, loves the all of the games in the series, but in all honestly would prefer to play "Chronicles" over the original NES version just due to it being an up-to-date, polished version that people of his generation are more used to seeing than us 30-somethings who were raised on NES. All in all, Castlevania Chronicles is a a good, rare ebay game that you should add to your collection for under $25. Any more than that and I'd consider a best offer or waiting for a no-reserve auction. I bid a high of $26 in an auction that ended going to $44, but I knew my patience would pay off. THE VERY NEXT DAY I got this game for a steal on a new listing for $23! eBay is indeed a funny thing. "Chronicles" is certainly no Symphony of the Night, but then again, not much is.
If you like Castlevania, this game delivers what you expect.
I have been a fan of Konami's Castlevania series since I played the first NES version of the game, back in the 1980's. Castlevania Chronicles looks and plays like an updated version of the original. Some of the levels are immediately recognizable as enhanced versions of levels that appeared in earlier games, such as the cave, red chapel, and clock tower. What makes this game unique in the Castlevania series, and interesting to me as a collector, is that there are actually two versions of the game on this disc. It contains the original version, which was released in the early 90's, and has the artistic look that one would expect to see at that time. The original version is also relatively difficult. About a decade later, the game was redesigned to reflect the style in which Castlevania characters were being drawn in that decade (like the picture on the game's cover). The second version of the game is also easier, as it has adjustable difficulty settings. I think that this game probably could have benefited from the addition of a second playable character with different abilities, instead of just making Simon look different. Still, I consider this game a great addition to my collection, and it's also a lot of fun to play.
Castlevania Chronicles is a great remake of an older installment in the series. You play the part of Simon Belmont, legendary whip-wielding vampire hunter set out on yet another quest to vanquish the resurrected Count Dracula. Armed with your whip and your wits you must traverse the great halls of Castlevania once again to put the Lord of Darkness back in his grave where he belongs. During your quest you will encounter many enemies as well as bosses bent on halting your progress. You must use your enchanted whip and classic sub-weapons to take these minions down. These include holy water, throwing daggers, axes and the holy cross. You must journey through 24 levels within 8 stages before you finally meet up with the Count. You can play the original mode or play the newly enhanced version of the game which also includes a completely redone soundtrack. This game also comes with a filmed interview with the producer of the Castlevania series. This is a must-have game for any true Castlevania fan. Overall I give this game a good rating. It isn't my favorite Castlevania game in the series but it was a fun return to the Castlevania's of old. The graphics seemed reminiscent of an older 16-bit video game as did the soundtrack. The gameplay was good but not great and there really is no story to tell here. This is a good game to add to your collection and one I would recommend but not if you don't enjoy the older Castlevania series.
Castlevania: The Good, The Bad and the Infuriating
Since the release of Castlevania in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the face of the 2-D action side-scroller was forever changed. Setting a new milestone in the genre, the fearless vampire-hunting Belmont family gave players a great story, great characters, and the chance to go pot-roast hunting amidst the rubble of ancient castle ruins to replenish there failing strength. Fast-forward 9 years, past two Nintendo sequels and one companion story release on the Sega Genesis and you arrive at Konami's Castlevania Juggernaut, it's side-scrolling Magnum-Opus, Symphony of the Night. It was (and still is to this day) the Castlevania true die-hard fans always hoped the franchise would become. It offered everything good about the originals with serious upgrades to both control scheme and graphics, to say nothing of the incrdeible soundtrack. It abandoned nearly everything that didn't work or simply wasn't very interesting (the majority of 1988's Simon's Quest). Fast forward again 4 years, to Japan's American port entitled Castlevania Chronicles. The result is a strange amalgamation of the original Nintendo releases with a few scraps of 'Symphony' thrown into the stew pot for...well, I guess to gussy it up and give the impression of a 'revamped' Castlevania. Unfortunately, once the nostalgia wears off after 20 minutes or so, you're left with an ultimately unimaginative, graphically unimpressive game with a migrain-inducing control scheme. (This was more or less the achilles heel of the originals, but it was 1987 and we didn't know any different). Besides; in Dracula's Curse, (1990) you could play as Dracula's mis-begotten vampire-human son, Alucard, AND YOU COULD TURN INTO A BAT, for crying out loud. Moreover, how about that crafty little wall-scaling pirate, Grant? being able to hang from the ceiling and throw daggers down at enemies allowed you to forgive alot of sins. The bottom line is Japan's Dracula X/Castlevania Chronicles does not offer anything new or interesting, just a cozy old house with a cheap coat of paint slapped on it. By the way; why does Simon Belmont look like a low-rent Conan knock-off? Will I play it through out of principle? Probably. Afterall, a bad Castlevania game is still better than cleaning the oven or getting a root canal, but at the end of the day what I foresee my self daydreaming about is playing Symphony of the Night...for what would probably be the sixth or seventh time. I mean, come on; peanut butter andd jelly is great...until you've had steak. -84toysandgames
Castlevania Chronicles: Review
Castlevania Chronicles is an enhanced remake of the original Castlevania for the NES, it comes with two modes, a more "classic" and an improved version of the original in which Simon Belmont has purple hair and looks a bit like Alucard in Symphony of the night. The music is dreadful on the first stage (the ever loved "Vampire Killer" theme every gamer knows by hard, that's in "classic" mode, in the "chronicles" version the music is even worse. The game is classic Castlevania sidescroller action and nothing wrong with that, some levels are losely based and enhanced on the first Castlevania. I bought it because I'm a huge fan of the Castlevania franchise and I would like to have every Castlevania game. So if you are not a fan I can't recommend it to you. If you are a fan, you'll be dissapointed at some aspects of the game, but other new additions make it very interesting to pick up and play.