maanantai 3. tammikuuta 2011

REVIEW - Castlevania Legends (1997)

Genre(s): Action / Platform
Released: 1997
Available on: GB
Developer(s): Konami
Publisher(s): Konami
Players: 1

Although Castlevania: Symphony of the Night handsomely avoided being a best-selling game in anywhere but Japan, it called upon the development of several new Castlevania titles. Just months after the release of the PlayStation game, a second sequel to Game Boy's Castlevania: The Adventure emerged, whole six years after its predecessor Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge. If I was reluctant to review Symphony of the Night but found it to be a great game in the end, it's kind of crazy that I went into this less known handheld game totally pumped, and came out a few veins short. 1997? More like a prototype of 1989; Castlevania Legends is a God damn generic, awful game.

Even Hitler's a legend

In the year 1450, a 17-year old country girl born with special powers named Sonia Belmont challenges Count Dracula, a tyrannical monster who preys on the people of Transylvania at night. Thus, she paves the way of becoming the matriarch of a long line of vampire hunters.

I'll keep this brief 'cause I have GAMES to play. I have never been furious due to a bad game, but this game drove me over the edge. Especially other people's comments on it. IGN called it a "cult classic", some random guy on the net called it a "great game that Castlevania fans will love". Okay, perhaps it's a cult classic at least when it comes to piles of shit, but that other comment downright insults me as a Castlevania fan. Overall, people are being way too nice to this game. I tell you, I'd rather play Simon's Quest, Dracula X, Legacy of Darkness and/or Lament of Innocence, even the first Game Boy Castlevania, every day for two months, non-stop, than spend another 10 minutes with Castlevania Legends. It is the worst Castlevania game, ever. Period.

Demon, which plane of hell
did you dig this crap out
First, everything looks fine and dandy. Kind of hoped they'd come up with a little more detailed graphics in 1997, especially considering that Castlevania II for the Game Boy looked quite sufficient. It actually looked better than Legends. The music's decent... until you realize how repetitive it is. There are remixes of both "Vampire Killer" and "Bloody Tears", which sounds fancy in theory, but first of all, "Bloody Tears" sounds bloody weird - and it's only a 30 second tune, tops. The stages are very lengthy, something along the lines of 10 minutes. Do the math and figure out how many times this awkward remix plays on loop during the first stage. I never thought I'd say this about any "Bloody Tears" version, but I grew tired of it after the first two minutes. Remember to take into account a few deaths or at least notable degenerations in health brought on by the retarded "traps" hidden in candelabras and those good old invisible walls stopping you in mid-air, usually over a gap, of course, and you've got few minutes of more bloody tears. Coming from your eyes too, I believe.

This game reminds me of Castlevania: The Adventure quite a lot. Not only are the physics just as crappy eight years later - after taking a turn to quite decent in the first sequel - but the secondary weapons are also gone, and replaced by some idiotic magic spells called "Soul Powers", perhaps to propose to the RPG generation in which everyone loves mages. Well, I'll take the axe and holy water, thanks. In addition, Sonia can turn on some sort of crazy bitch gear, officially called "Burning Mode", which she can use once per stage or life to become this Super Belmont who destroys everything in her wake. She can slide down ropes like Christopher in Castlevania II, and walk while crouching like Simon in Super Castlevania IV, but that's it for her competence. For example, you can always jump towards a rope. Whether or not your character will GRAB the rope on cue is a whole other thing.

Sonia is a bit of a faster walker than Christopher, but her general functionality is even worse than his was in the first part of this "trilogy". She jumps higher, but with less response and the higher probability of hitting those damn invisible walls, which I thought were gone from the list of usual Game Boy glitches years ago. Maybe they were, but Konami was too busy cashing in on the sudden acclaim of their franchise to care, I reckon.

Whipping out my frustrations
on the most awkwardly placed
Bone Pillar ever.
Difficult? I don't like repeating myself, but difficult to bear's more like it. If you are a serious, and I mean serious completist of the Castlevania franchise, sure, you'll probably bear it. The non-existent gameplay will take good care that you won't beat it without a serious fight, though. What makes it all a tad easier is the amount of checkpoints. Actually, I don't get the sense in having lives, since every time you lose all of them, you still get to start from the last checkpoint instead of the beginning of the stage, and there are infinite continues. Well, the developers seemed to know the gameplay sucked ass and that sudden deaths were a prominent part of it before they even let the game off the belt, I guess we should be thankful for them being so thoughtful!

Who knows, maybe there are people out there who genuinely like this game and not just the image of the classic Castlevania logo on the cover. I don't. And I don't like the logo on the cover, either. It's on the wrong game.

Graphics : 7.7
Sound : 6.0
Playability : 4.5
Challenge : 4.0
Overall : 4.4


GameRankings: 57.17%

The storyline of Castlevania Legends was removed from the series' canon by Koji Igarashi soon after the game's release. Igarashi, who has produced nearly every Castlevania game since working on Symphony of the Night as assistant director and head of the creative team, skipped Castlevania Legends and has publicly called the game an embarrassment.

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