Review: Super Castlevania IV

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 Castlevania, the company surprised everyone by releasing a revamped version of the original game instead of launching a brand new title. Sold in the USA as Super Castlevania IV, many bought it thinking it was one of Simon’s “further adventures”. However, as mentioned above, it has since been declared to be a glorified re-telling of the original story.

Taking full advantage of the technical prowess of the SNES, the developers were able to give the first entry in the saga a well-deserved refresh. It’s very obvious that the developers took their time and really added a nice coat of polish for this release. The remixed music is eerie and appropriate, the graphical effects are awe inspiring. It’s fun to see the translation of the old levels to the new 16-bit format. But, aside from some background art, the levels have been completely revamped. Many of the bosses are also familiar, but there’s also a few new ones tossed in to the mix this time around.

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Of all the console Castlevania titles released up to that point, Super Castlevania offers the best playcontrol experience. The controls are loose and precise, something that was much needed for this type of game. Technical upgrades aside, this game piggybacks on the previous entries in the series pretty heavily. If you’re familiar with the other games, you already know what you’re in for with this title.  But despite that, I had a blast playing through this title again. It has been one of the my favorites in the playthrough so far.

1476: Castlevania III — Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, Grant, and Alucard vs. Dracula.
1576: Castlevania Adventure – Christopher Belmont vs. Dracula
1591: Castlevania Adventure II – Christopher Belmont vs. Dracula
1691: Castlevania, Super Castlevania – Simon Belmont vs. Dracula
1698: Castlevania II – Simon Belmont vs. Dracula
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Difficulty: Difficult Compared to most games of today. This title is still pretty tough, but not inhumanly hard. When compared to the earlier games in the series, this one is much more balanced in terms of difficulty.

Story: For whatever reason, Konami decided to re-imagine the original scenario of Simon vs Dracula. When I was younger, I didn’t really understand why they would do this. Looking back today, I imagine that when faced with all the possibilities the SNES was able to offer, the creators decided to reintroduce the series using the latest technology.

Originality: This game follows the formula of CV and CV3 in terms of design. Most of originality presented in this title comes from the graphical effects and the twists and turns of level design.

Soundtrack: The music in this title is really good stuff. We are treated to some new original tunes as well as some remixed songs from the previous games in the series. It’s a lot of fun to hear these tracks enhanced by the SNES soundchip. The music is very action oriented, yet spooky at the same time.

Fun: In my opinion, this game has provided some of the best fun in the series so far. It’s still tough, yet not maddeningly frustrating. This would make a great late night playthrough with a family member or friend.

Graphics: This game is a great example of the what the Super Nintendo is capable of. Here we have well-detailed objects, moving-layered graphical effects, and an independent side scrolling background. Even by SNES standards, I think this game is a great example of good graphical direction.

Playcontrol:  This is the first title in which I have no real complaints. The character movement responds perfectly to the physical controls. This is true on the original SNES gamepad or the Wii gamepad. The ability to swing the whip is a nice touch.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 4 – I can’t praise this title enough. Setting nostalgia aside, I can claim that in my opinion, Super Castlevania is so far the greatest title in the series. Everything about the game was executed almost flawlessly.

Currently available on: Wii/WiiU Virtual Console

Other Reviews In This Series:

CVCV II – CV IIICVACVA II – Super CVDracula X BloodlinesSotNCV64 – CotM ChroniclesHoDAoSLoIDoSCoDPoROoECVA RebirthJudgment 

LoS Los: Mirror of FateLoS II

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