At one point I decided that I would save any Castlevania games for fall right around Halloween. I wanted to do it last year, however any of you that actually follow me know…I completely blew off October last year. I was going to try to shoot for it this year however, with the release of the new Castlevania series on Netflix this week…. I decided to do a Castlevania game this week. I do have other games to write about that I’ve already played but, I wanted to try to keep this week relevant.
Growing up, I loved these games, I played 1-3 and 4 when I was younger. Although I loved playing them…..I never beat any of them. They were so hard for me at the time and I just couldn’t get near the end. I remember renting Super Castlevania 4 and the passwords written in the instruction manual led me right to Dracula and I STILL couldn’t beat him no matter how I tried. These games are notorious for being so hard. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that didn’t complain about the difficulty. The thing is I also haven’t met a person that hasn’t liked the franchise as a whole. Whether you like the old school hard as nails originals or the Metroid-vania type ones that have been quite popular the last 10 years…. Everyone loves this franchise. Personally I prefer the old school harder ones over the adventure ones….But I like those too. Especially Symphony of the night. That game is pretty bad ass but it just isn’t that hard…
- Days 1, and 2.
Due to the high velocity of customers in my store It was a crazy busy holiday. Both days I came home just so damn tired and with Raymond about to turn 2….Well…they don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing. This boy is very adventurous and wears me down every day after I would get home from work. So these 2 nights I passed as soon as I got him to bed.
- Day 3
Alright, so when Raymond went to bed I said to myself. “Yo, I’m really good at Video Games. Dracula X for SNES can’t possibly be as hard as EVERYONE says it is. I can totally finish this game.” Probably the dumbest thing I had ever thought to myself. This game was so god damn hard. It’s not the controls… it’s EVERYTHING ELSE! I got to the first boss and he destroyed me 3 times. The FIRST BOSS. You read that right… He was just some generic wolf or something, and he fucked me up big time. I was never so flabbergasted in my life. Maybe I was just that tired… or maybe it really is that hard. I got the 2nd level boss. He killed me as he was dying! are you serious??!?! As if fighting off this giant bat that splits into like 10 bats wasn’t hard enough….He can kill you as his dying animation is happening. This is only the 2nd stage! This is impossible. I could only imagine facing the Grim Reaper in this game could possibly be like. I gave up after I died for the 10th time and figured I would save this one for another time when I’m not so tired…..or never because I heard the last boss is frigging ridiculous.
So with Raymond still sleeping in his crib, I decided let’s go with an old favorite I never beat. I knew this game was just a little easier for me and I could remember getting pretty far as a child. Well at least I knew I could get past level 2. I don’t know…..Maybe my heart just wasn’t into Dracula X. After all Super Castlevania 4 is a remake of the original Castlevania after all. So I’m kind of playing the first one? Eh who cares? 8 Directional whipping for the win!
I got inside the Castle before I called it quits for the night. I wanted to save the password but I figured I can just start over the next time.
- Day 4
Tonight was my late night. as soon as I walked in Raymond just wouldn’t go down, So I just went right to bed with him. I’m starting to feel that maybe he just doesn’t want to be alone. The wife went to bed too. Family night in the Bed!
- Day 5
When Raymond went to bed tonight, my lovely wife had to start working on some of the crafts she has been working for Raymond’s birthday party this Sunday. So while she was busy doing all that I decided to play the game. As I played the game she would come in and show me what she was working and asking me what I thought. Everything she works on she does an excellent job and does everything with great care. Raymond’s party is construction themed in honor of his Pop. On top of the fact Raymond loves bulldozers and trucks and cranes. As she was doing that I wasn’t really paying attention to what was happening in the game. I just kind of flew right through the stages progressing greatly as I went along. I had a lot of lives from gathering points and I took mostly everything slow. I’ve learned that timing and taking it easy is key to this game if you want to progress far. Then I got to Stage B….. This is when things changed. Up to this point I had only died twice from making stupid silly mistakes, and trying to rush through the stone boss…. But when I got here that all changed.
Stage B is essentially like that final stage in Ninja Gaiden. It’s like a gauntlet of pits and difficultly placed enemies that are just a pain to attack without getting hit. Although it is way more forgiving than the Ninja Gaiden level, It’s still damn hard and you are welcomed with fighting 3 bosses in a row after you get through it. That 3rd boss is the Grim Reaper which we all is the notoriously hard boss right before Dracula himself. This game is no different.
Let me try to explain this stage as best as I can. First you have to go down stairs and fight a bunch of headless sword fighter skeletons. This part is not so bad….This part is just regular old Castlevania at it’s finest. Then you have to cross a bridge to the other side of the castle. The catch is the bridge turns into bats as it crumbles behind you. The best strategy here is to just keep walking and don’t worry about the candles or the bats behind you. If you stop you’re pretty much dead. Yet again, this part….Simple just walk forward. Now comes the part I died a million times at. At the bottom of the screen there is a spiked ring going back and forth. Your only way is to go up or you will die if you touch that ring. The catch here is once you start walking on a set of stairs they collapse behind you. It’s hard because you have a set of staircases to do in order to do it right. After the fall they don’t respawn. If you mess up…. you can’t reach the next set of stairs…you die… This part is the biggest pain in the ass so far. I hated every moment of this part. Once you get up high enough, then there are these floating rocks that you need to jump on from rock to rock like a ninja or something and if you are on one for too long it shoves you into spikes instantly killing you. If you die here….you go all the way back to the bottom. If you lose all you lives….You start the stage completely over again. I had to continue twice. It was quite frustrating. Once you get the top you fight one of the hardest bosses you’ve encountered so far. He’s not hard because his patterns are hard to figure out. He’s hard because he takes an absurd amount of hits to kill him. Then you have to fight some blue flying gargoyle type boss who turns red when you knock down half his life and gets faster and shoots out more fireballs. Then there’s the Grim Reaper. I died a bunch trying to take down this fucker. He was no walk in the park. His attacks did major damage.
Like I said before. The Grim Reaper is usually the boss right before Dracula. This game was no different. One you dispatch Death, You make your way up the stairs to the most Iconic part in all Castlevania games. The throne room where you fight the final boss. Remember when I said I could do this fight when I was a kid? This boss fight was….THE EASIEST BOSS FIGHT IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE GAME!!!!! Are you serious? I couldn’t do this when I was a kid? It made no sense. It was the same thing over and over…: Whip him in the face, Dodge his attacks, Rinse, Repeat until he dies. So anti-climatic….. The ending just shows Simon standing over a cliff watching the Castle just crumble into pieces. The end…. roll the credits. When I finished the game and turned it off and I walked out into the kitchen and my wife said “Thank god you are done. I was getting sick and tired of hearing church organ music coming from your room. It was creepy.” That was probably the funniest thing I heard all night.
Alright, So the ending wasn’t the greatest however it doesn’t matter. It’s not about the end….It’s about the ride getting to the end…..and this game was a damn fun ride. Hard games are what I really enjoy. I believe games now a days hold your hand too much and are just way to easy. This game might have only taken me one sitting to play through it but it was very strenuous and seemed impossible at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because then you truly feel you accomplished something.
If you never played this, or any of the games in the original Castlevania line-up…….What are you doing? Play them…. and Try to enjoy the New Netflix series. I’m not into Anime too much, but I’ll give it a shot….I have to….It’s Castlevania…