I take the opportunity to stock up on whip upgrades and ammo by smashing these lights. It's lucky I knew breaking things got me items, and hearts are ammo, or else I would have just walked through this level without collecting a thing.
It doesn't seem fair to criticise the art in an early NES classic, but this art looks pretty damn nasty. Simon looks fine in still screenshots, but his animation isn't as good as it could be.
Worse, they've ruined the music!
Colliding with an enemy throws me back, so if that happens while I'm crossing those platforms on the right, I'm screwed. Like in Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, there's no way to steer the hero once he's airborne. Plus he doesn't even get a double jump!
That's just typical, I find one opportunity to get some health back, and I miss it.
Oh SHIT, there's a bat up there... and he's a boss! And I've only got 28 seconds left to kill it.
It's nice to actually be able to see where I am in the game, and how much further I have to go. Suddenly the seemingly endless corridors have been put into perspective and I feel like I've actually been making progress.
The worst thing is that these things just fly across the level, bouncing up and down as they go. Their path is entirely predictable and so they should be easy to dodge. But I really suck at it.
I'm just lucky there's no bottomless pits for them to knock me down, because these things would massacre me.
ONE STAIRCASE LATER.
Simon falls to his death, and I'm put back to the start of the section.
Seriously, if I ever meet Medusa we are going to be having words.
Okay Castlevania, I'll continue... this time. You've earned that much.
ONE REPLAY OF STAGE 4 AND 5 LATER.
SEVERAL DEATHS, A CONTINUE, AND STAGE 4 AND 5 (AGAIN) LATER.
On a related note, I wish there was a quicker, safer way of dealing with these fireball spitting skull columns. I can duck to avoid this one, but I don't see how I'm going to get close enough to attack the other one without taking fireball hits.
It's just a shame there's no 'Simon Belmont head' subweapon in this. I want to summon a wave of Simon heads that move slowly across the screen, knocking her into some kind of bottomless pit. To die.
It doesn't help that they're teaming up with bone throwing skeletons now. I don't know where to jump any more.
I was all set to despise this game, and rant about all its flaws... but to be honest I liked it. It's clearly not a bad game. Sure it's annoying, and I wish I didn't have to replay entire stages when I lose a continue, and that there were more health pick-ups and saves, and Medusa heads can basically go fuck themselves. But apart from that, it's a fairly decent NES game!
I'd feel guilty about giving this a gold star though, when I didn't give one to Nosferatu all those months ago, which was a similar pain in the ass with a similar setting. So I'll give them one gold star to share between them.
1986 - Castlevania (NES)
1986 - Vampire Killer (MSX2)
1987 - Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
1988 - Haunted Castle (Arcade)
1989 - Castlevania: The Adventure (Game Boy)
1990 - Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NES)
1991 - Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (Game Boy)
1991 - Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
1993 - Akumajō Dracula / Castlevania Chronicles (X68000)
1993 - Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo / Rondo of Blood (TurboGrafx-CD)
1994 - Castlevania: The New Generation / Castlevania: Bloodlines (Genesis/Mega Drive)
1995 - Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss / Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)
1997 - Castlevania Legends (Game Boy)