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Castlevania Adventure Review
Posted on December 08, 2008 by

This review is on the first Castlevania Gameboy release, the Castlevania Adventure. Released right in 1989, this was one of the first games available for the first in the line model of the best selling video game handheld of all time. Due to this and other design choices, this game is not well received among gamers or Castlevania fans. Lets see if I can show you it is still better than the N64 releases.

The Castlevania Adventure takes place in 1576, Christopher Belmont, the great grandfather of Simon, sets out as the 2nd Belmont to challenge Dracula. Pretty standard story.

The graphics in this game continued the tradition of the faceless Belmont from the NES games. The backgrounds are detailed, but animation in enemies is lacking. Christopher also suffers from a walking speed that can best be described as plodding. This was as such due to Konami's limited understanding of GB hardware at this game's release. The speed of the character had to be slowed down in order to allow the game side scrolling to render properly, thus reducing slowdown and suchlike. Or, so I've been told.

Besides this limitation, the enemies also lack in variety with many repeating throughout the level. The bosses are equally uninteresting, and could easily be mistaken for standard enemies, some of which become as such in the last level. And they are very easy to defeat, more on that later.

While the graphics are mediocre, the music is excellent, probably the best music I've heard on the Gameboy. The GB's sound chip was even weaker than the NES, as can be clearly heard in the many NES to Gameboy truncations. The Castlevania Adventure is probably the best that the handheld achieved musically, and it was a launch title! The first stage music, Battle of the Holy, is epic! This was a case in point of a developer knowing how to work with the hardware. Is Konami sure Yuzo Koshiro wasn't secretly working on the music?

Gameplay seems at first like a traditional Castlevania with Christopher walking to the right and whipping enemies. The biggest differences are that there are no subweapons, hearts instead restore your life, and getting hit by enemies will downgrade your whip. This is often viewed as a negative aspect of the game, but I think you must understand the following: This game is easy, and would be child's play if you had the ability to hit the enemies from across the screen at all times. It would probably be easier than Harmony of Dissonance.

When you consider how slow the enemies are, a lack of subweapons seems like a mercy killing. The only enemies that are remotely challenging are the demon towers that spit crystals. In fact, they are the only enemies whose attacks are difficult to avoid. All this seems to compensate for Christopher's limited mobility and agility.

Besides the above, the only real challenge in the game is Stage 3, in which spikes chase you for practically the whole stage. Jumping must be pinpoint precise or you die. Definitely a stage that requires patience. Dracula is cake if you manage to get to him with the flame whip and simply takes longer if you don't have it. Easy.

If I have to make a decision about replay value, I would probably say it is the lowest of all Castlevanias. This is only one way to play the game and with only 4 stages, it doesn't take long. I played it when I first got it in 2004, and once for this review. Like FFVII, it will take a while before I want to play it again.

In summation, the Castlevania Adventure can be appreciated for its place in Castlevania history, especially the music. But I will acknowledge it can be a tough pill to swallow. Overall, it is a curiosity for retro gaming fans but it seems that only the biggest fans of Castlevania, like me, will be able to play through to the end. - og (@) | all author's articles

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