Monday, October 26, 2015

Super Castlevania IV (Super NES, 1991)

This was one of the Super NES's earliest games, and helped kickstart Nintendo's bid to regain any ground they lost to the Sega Genesis - which got an earlier release - in the 16-bit wars. It's a great game, and my personal favorite in this series.

It isn't a sequel to the earlier games, nor is it a prequel like the third. This is nothing less than a remake of the original Castlevania starring Simon Belmont. That's right, we've gone from the original, to a sequel, to a prequel, to an original remake. It's pretty weird, but at least it's less confusing than Zelda.

Because this game is SO GOOD, I decided to do something special with this one rather than my usual spastic commentary and juvenile references. Thus, it will be narrated entirely by the protagonist, Simon Belmont.

Take it away, Simon.

A century past, my forefathers slew the beast Dracula. Now he rises again and I, Simon Belmont, am called upon to confront the curse of the past.

Before me and beneath the night sky stands a trial nearly insurmountable...a palace of myriad towers and before it, cliffs of peril and poisonous bogs; dangers as far as the senses of man can envisage.

By my side at all times is my trusted morning star. With it I shall be held ne'er at bay by any of the wretched follies that stand betwixt I and the horizon.

Quod me nutrit me destruit... my journey nourishes me and gives me my singular great purpose. Failure at this journey would deprive me of that purpose; that which holds my heart most tightly is that which has the power to ultimately destroy me.

In what remained of the old town I fought a deathly horseman; his steed was a fearsome beast. I stood my ground and did not relent in my fury, despite the unsteady ground upon which I walked.

The horseman did not give up the fight hastily, continuing the battle until his bones were reduced to shattered remnants. Even when it was but a futile gesture, his foul hands hatefully clawed at the dirt.

Still I have many roads to travel during this blackest of nights, and I let not a moment be wasted.

Once an enchanted forest, the blighted woods cursed by Dracula loom darkly over me.

Confronted by Medusa, the blasphemous serpent of lore, I suffered many a snake bite; the herbalism of the scholars saved my life. Indeed, this day wisdom proved a greater friend than force, and twas not the final time.

The mold-laden caves that followed were treacherous and fraught with peril. It was all I could do to steadfastly maintain my footing as the water cascaded without mercy.

I next plunged headlong into a forgotten city; the waterlogged streets proved a formidable challenge to traverse. One slip and I would find myself embracing the unyielding darkness beneath the sea.

At the end I faced a dragon of two heads. The beast's roars were deafening to my ears; I stood atop my tenuous perch and lashed out at his attacks as they came, sending him reeling. His ill-advised forward strikes became my very defense.

My quest shows not a sign of abating. Dracula's underlings seem ever more sent for the purpose of striking terror into the hearts and minds of men.

Thus said I will not relent even if Mephistopheles himself should arrive, threatening to plunge Longinus into my ribcage...

The warped hallways of this realm contort in such a way that the way forward very quickly resembles that from whence I came.

A golem of stone barred my path as I approached the castle. My assault chipped away at the gargantuan fiend until he became miniscule; and then, in turn, was reduced to mere rubble.

The hate and darkness of Dracula's soul loomed over the courtyard like a blanket. Truly this place is where Angels lose their way and fear to tread.

The gates of the castle lifted with an ominous creaking, beckoning me inside. What awaits within? The most haunting of nightmares.

A possessed, rampaging coffin pursued me the moment I set foot within the castle. Outrunning this bizarre abomination was a struggle, one which I barely succeeded in.

Dracula's library was filled with books great and small, ordinary and possessed. Some of the tomes herein no doubt contained stories and information from ages past... alas that my purpose prevented me from stopping to investigate.

In the dungeon, deadly spikes shot down from the ceiling with fury. I crawled through, daring not look up as I went.

In the laboratory I was confronted by Frankenstein's Monster, the powerful ally of Dracula. The battle was pitched; he threw explosive alchemy and was no foe to be taken lightly.

Dracula's Castle proved impressive in scope, as I gained more and more respect for the perseverance of my ancestors. The treasure rooms were filled with riches as far as the eye could see, trifles collected by Dracula in his various incarnations over time. I have no use for such things... the journey gives me all the wealth in the world.

Another bizarre creation of Dracula, a bat animated entirely of golden coins, swooped in to attack. As it was made of coins, I questioned its mortality; these questions soon proved to be unnecessary as it withered and broke apart before my sustained aggression.

 In the clock tower, Dracula's fabled obsession with utilizing gears as obstacles came to light. As a boy, I had heard tales of my ancestor Trevor facing these sorts of traps.

 Atop the tower, I faced a mummy in a battle for the ages. The fiend's wrappings took on a life of their own, detaching and spiralling through the air to try and choke the breath from me.

 Journeying on, I faced a bridge that crumbled as I crossed, with a gathering horde of pestilent bats following closely behind. Truly, if ever there were a time to not look back, it would be nigh.

 Even the archaic steps crumbled as I climbed them. I learned hastily that I could not trust my footing inside of these cursed halls.

The ground beneath me was unstable until the very end of the climb, as the precarious platforms of enchanted stone seemed to inexorably drag me straight towards a painful fate upon the spikes below.

Dracula's most powerful minions awaited me at the end of the climb. The trident-wielding construct of bone was truly malevolent.

I soon observed a pattern to his motions and was able to parry and retaliate...barely winning this battle to the death. Ne cede malis, yield not.

A demon challenged me in the next chamber... this one considerably weaker than the last, as I brought the duel to him without mercy.

Dracula's feared secondary, Death Himself, arrived to claim me in light of my triumph.

His cold grasp was nearly inescapable, dragging my body towards him as I struggled against it with all of my might.

After a battle in which I nearly fell, I ended Death's rampage with one final roaring strike.

The stairwell to Dracula's throne had a strange air of familiarity to me. And with sad steps, oh moon, how thou climbs the skies, silently and with wan a face.

Bolts of magic and power heralded the appearance of the dark one, no longer able to cower behind his traps and fiends.

Dracula Himself struck furiously. Myth and legend say that he has many a form...yet during our battle he had but one. I hit back with vengeance, also taking utmost care to repel his fiery magic.

Barely emerging the victor, I expected Dracula to continue to fight...yet the rising sun broke through and showed itself to be the death knell for the sorcerer. With that, all living things are again safe from Dracula's machinations.

My journey completed, I looked upon the lands I had traveled. This trial I once deemed nearly insurmountable proved nothing of the sort; yet along the way I made many a mistake. In retrospect I do not wish to return and conduct myself differently simply due to no desire to relive it a second time.

For making it this far, here's one of the most amazing soundtracks on the Super NES.

Other Castlevania Posts


  1. Definitely an interesting take on it, though it seems less fitted to the format of your regular posts. When you pair the witty, silly humor with the graphics/screenshots, they go well together. But with something like this, the visuals detract, at least for me. Having to scroll so long, in this instance, took away from what you were actually writing, whereas when you do the other format the longer format suits it better since each photo is paired with a bite-sized cheeky explanation or joke. A good exercise to have done, though, and I think it helped you to do, but that's my personal interpretation. :)

  2. THAT'S how to use an English major! This was a good writing exercise for you and a good change of pace for me, since I don't read this kind of style enough. Some of your vocabulary and syntax still sounds too modern to me, as the joy of this was coming upon archaic expressions, but I applaud your effort, and I think it suited this game. Thanks for the heads-up and sorry I haven't commented more!

    I like the new layout, especially if it's Boston. It's a unique color scheme.

  3. Very creative. Nice job on this one.

  4. This game is a true SNES masterpiece. The soundtrack was truly spectacular.

  5. Wow, you weren't kidding when you said this one was going to be special.

    It occurs to me that Simon needs to put on some pants.

    It's kinda interesting to see some of the enemy sprites that stayed around until this very day.

    Huh, Dracula had only one form? Didn't know that. Pretty cool stuff all around I must say.

  6. I'm glad the Genesis version was itself a step up from the NES classics. But the SNES version being better made me think--is the SNES version better than the Genesis version of games the majority of the time?

    I like the environments.

    The main characters are way too beefy. But that's a style thing.

    Eric's standing-still pose is so badass.


    1. Sorry, this comment should be on Bloodlines, I'll move it over!