Remember the Castlevania game from 1991? We don't either, but Ali Ahmed does. In fact, he's played it recently. Although he wishes he hadn't...
So I got a 3DS the other day as a gift. With all the excitement of owning a new console, I ran (virtually) to the store to buy one of those Mario games. Seeing a blasphemous £40 price on them, I decided to order it from Amazon for (an overpriced) £30. Whilst I was waiting for my first game to arrive for the new system I was excited to play, I decided to download a cheap game from the eShop … boy do I wish I had just paid the £40 for Mario ...
“Castlevania!” I said, and no I didn’t hope for the 1991 Gameboy version, I just happened to stumble upon it after not finding any of the NES or Super NES classics on the eShop. Leaving the stupidity of the eShop collection for another article, here is Castlevania -- the 1991 gameboy version.
Now I must say the game is not completely horrendous. If anything, the music is nice in some bits -- catchy as a Castlevania music should be. The atmosphere is captured very well in some aspects and the level design is constantly varied with new ways of playing
Classic Castlevania games are great, I love the design choice of limiting the players movement to add tension and a new level of challenge. The problem with Castlevania 1991 is that it slows the gameplay down so much that when you die, just taking 5 steps forward to get to your previous location feels like an extreme chore. I’m not unfamiliar with the way enemy hits can juggle you in these games and getting damaged knocks you back and forth between enemies as if you’re a volleyball. But the way in which the slow pace makes you feel helpless is a new type of helpless; the kind which makes you think suicidal thoughts, making you drink too much next Friday.
Platforming was always a bit of a chore in Castlevania, but through new design choices such as a moving pendulum or a level that moves constantly, the games were able to stay enjoyable. Whilst Castlevania 1991 is able to do that (and I would be lying if I said there aren’t some nice ideas in the platforming department) getting there is such a pain that they’re not worth it. Even when you’re there the slow pace makes you dislike everything like a grumpy old man; hating on the world and new technology as if Satan was shoving it down his throat.
The developers of Castlevania clearly knew this was a short game, hell, of course they knew because they only made 4 levels for it. On the Gameboy, game designers always hit a fork in the road, it was either them making a nice engaging experience with replay value or something tough as nails that makes you retry so many times that were you a kid in the arcades you would have spent a year’s worth of pocket-money on the damn machine. With 4 levels, this game was able to waste hours of my life, not only was it impossible to finish this game on the occasional toilet break, this game took hours of dedication, the use of the 3DS’s save feature (not on the Gameboy version!) and a lot of counselling as I wondered what was fun in life.
In a market today where games with brilliant ideas, hundreds of levels and free DLC, how in the holy mother of satanic ass-crack does Nintendo think charging £2.50 for this turd if justifiable? I commend the developer Konami for making a game somewhat representing a glimpse of Castlevania on such primitive hardware such as the original Gameboy but judging this on the 3DS as an eshop release completely blows my mind.
As an avid Castlevania fan, even I am taking a hiatus from this series after this game. To call it an abomination would be horrible of me as for the time of its release, many interesting things were attempted and I’m sure the original Gameboy’s hardware must have been maxed out like an i3 laptop running Crysis.
We might as well leave our gaming sessions (complete with sore bums) now because I don’t see a positive slope in this mountain of torment Nintendo is building. I mean, why the hell wouldn’t they release all virtual console games (SNES, NES, Mega Drive) from the Wii here on the 3DS and price them at a few pounds each? I would love to play the NES Castlevanias and Super Castlevania 4 on my new handheld.
I don’t even know what to say, it’s midnight, I’ve not long beat this game and as the credits roll, I’m reflecting on the time I’ve wasted playing this gleaming turd. I could have used my time to learn a new language, I could have donated blood to a children’s hospital or adopted a dog, perhaps I could have gone to the gym and let out the frustrations…
Castlevania 1991, screw you.
Position: Staff Writer
Why hello there, my names Ali but you can call me The Geeky Penguin if you so please. Raised with a SEGA genesis controller in between my hands I have been gaming for as long as I can remember.