lauantai 1. tammikuuta 2011

REVIEW - Castlevania: The Adventure (1989)

Genre(s): Action / Platform
Released: 1989
Available on: GB
Developer(s): Konami
Publisher(s): Konami
Players: 1

While Konami was working on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for the NES, they also had time to whip up a quick something for Nintendo's then brand new handheld wonder Game Boy. Castlevania: The Adventure, it's called - although I've always interpreted the title to be "The Castlevania Adventure" instead - and it has become sort of cult among Castlevania fans. Well what can a Castlevania fan do but try the game? Sadly, the game only manages to remind me of the days I hated the series due to a few bad apples. This one grew in the same tree.

What's the rush?

In the late years of the 16th century, Christopher Belmont of the Belmont family of vampire hunters enters Count Dracula's keep to slay the king of all vampires.

First and basically, it looks like an 8-bit Castlevania in black and white, but actually it's quite different. The level design is totally different; there are no staircases at all, the enemy design differs from the vintage stuff by a lot, there's a lot of platforms, and the player HUD is completely out of the ordinary. The music's quite interesting. It's original stuff written exclusively for the game, but all songs contain altered bits and pieces from classic tunes such as "Bloody Tears", "Heart of Fire" and "The Silence of Daylight", at least. Pretty good shite. The boss music's horrid, though.

Just an example of a screen
for which the game's physics
are not good enough.
There are four stages which all have a +/- 10 minute time limit. They range from being filled with the most obnoxious flying bastards alive to lengthy gauntlets of all possible fashion, and all of them end in a boss fight against some quite random enemies, like first a huge armored dude, then a pack of giant frogs. There are indeed no staircases (they're replaced by ropes), which eliminates all possible problems we've had with them in the main series... the game's problems rear from several other sources, and they're in quantities. Before going into them, I'll quickly go over some more basics.

There are no secondary weapons at all. Hearts are collected to regenerate health. The Vampire Killer can be upgraded twice, but any upgrade is lost by taking damage. Crosses make Christopher invincible for a short while, and an extra life is gained by accumulating 10,000 points.

To tell a long story short, Castlevania: The Adventure suffers from the same problem as just about every Game Boy platformer released at the time, even Super Mario Land, but much worse: slow, stiff control, topped off with invisible walls in mid-air, disrupting your progress every now and then. The controls are terrible, and most of the events in this game would require about a hundred times better physics than what we have. The third level's a long gauntlet from the beginning to the end. There are walls, ceilings and floors with spikes closing in on Christopher all the time, corrupting and/or narrow platforms, a lot of jumping from one rope to another, a bulk of unavoidable enemies, and one yellow shithead of a boss to crown the whole ordeal. The physics just aren't enough to handle this kind of shit! Chris is much slower than any enemy or their attacks. Good timing's not the answer. You can't time anything right in this game, 'cause your character's speed simply doesn't match up to that of the enemies. It's also funny that almost every enemy attack drains two of your health points. You, of course, need to hit a boss two or three times before draining even one of his.

It kinda looks like Castlevania,
but then again, something's
really "off" about it.
The game might be short in length, but it's hard, one of the most unforgiving games I remember having played in my life. Yet again, it wouldn't be that hard if it had decent control; were it as smooth as the games on the NES, it would be over in 30 minutes, tops. Yet another challenge based on lacking gameplay mechanics only. Sigh.

Don't go telling me I'm expecting too much out of an early handheld game. I'm not, but I'm still expecting a good game, especially when it's got the Castlevania brand name on it. And, I'm not bashing the game completely. I'm just saying the controls and physics, any game's most important qualities, suck ass. And yeah, sure, I feel the game is a bit too stripped of classic Castlevania elements to make a lasting impression on me.

Graphics : 7.5
Sound : 8.3
Playability : 5.8
Challenge : 7.0
Overall : 6.0


a.k.a. Dracula Densetsu (JAP)

GameRankings: 61.38%

A WiiWare remake entitled Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth was released in October, 2009.

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