Wednesday 6 March 2013

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse Review (NES)

Set one hundred years before the first NES Castlevania, this adventure follows Trevor Belmont along with Alucard, Sypha Belnades and Grant Danasty as they head into Dracula’s castle intent on sending the master of darkness back to the grave. Dracula had been prematurely awakened by his occult followers in Romania causing the evil one to reappear and lust after the thought of both destroying the Belmont family and turning the world to evil.

Moving back to the style of the original Castlevania game all the role-play elements, exploring and levelling up have been removed in favour of a more standard hack and slash platform adventure. However, there are a few things that make Castlevania 3 stand out from the crowd. First of all there are multiple routes through the game, often with the player needing to choose which path to journey down in order to continue. Furthermore, Trevor is not the only character with three others, each offering their own styles, on hand to join the fight.

While the new elements add to the game you can't get away from the fact that is represents a missed opportunity to build on Simon's Quest. While basic whipping action is good you do begin to get the feeling this is just a remake of Castlevania with a few cosmetic touches thrown in for good measure. Graphically, though containing larger characters than Simon's Quest the graphics are in fact worse. Characters are made out of a very basic colour scheme and often clash with their surroundings, Sypha Belnades showing the least imagination being made out of one colour outlined in black with about three different animations, very poor indeed.

However, it is still clear what is happening on the screen and unlike the original, monsters do not seem to disappear into the scenery due to over detailed, clashing backgrounds. Gameplay does show improvements from Castlevania with characters being more responsive and the whole game moving at a much better pace, slowdown and flickering are also a thing of the past. Saying that though jumping still being far too awkward and there is a lack of maneuverability when you need it most which makes boss battles much harder than they need to be.

Overall Castlevania 3 is a good game, being that it improves on the solid game engine apparent in the first title. However, not building on the innovation to found in the second game is a crime. After the second installment the game seems to lack a depth and character that really shouldn't be that hard to Implement considering the subject matter. However, to criticise the game too much takes away from the fact it is still an enjoyable hack and slash, if one that seems to build up a reputation more on the series as a whole than because of any individual gaming greatness.


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