The best Castlevania, period.

User Rating: 10 | Akumajou Densetsu NES
There are many NES classics that I look back on fondly from my childhood, but Castlevania III probably tops them all. I remember being around six years old and walking into Toys'R'Us and buying this game brand new. Wow, the days where you could still buy NES games new in stores were so long ago. Anyway, I remember playing it for the first time and being absolutely astonished. I was completely immersed into its world and did not want to leave. With CV III, Konami made a departure from the exploration game play of CV II and went back to the straight platforming, level by level, whip action of the first CV. But what makes this game so great is how Konami took what they built with CV and vastly expanded it. First of all, there are many more levels than the first one, and there are many added touches and polish made to CV III. One of things being the ability to join up with three secondary characters that you meet along your adventure. These characters are Grant, Sypha, and Alucard (the son of Dracula, who would in seven years receive a starring role in SOTN). Each character has their own special ability that you can use to help you in certain situations during levels; Grant can climb, Sypha can cast magic spells, and Alucard can transform into a bat. You can only have one character with you at a time but the game does give you the ability to decide what character you want to keep, which is a very cool feature. Another important feature that adds so much to the game is that at certain points there are multiple paths you can take. What is so cool is that whatever path you decide to take will decide what levels you visit and which of the three characters you will meet. This feature adds tremendous replay value because you cannot see all the game's levels or meet all the characters by just playing through once. You have to play multiple times in order to see 100% of what CV III has to offer. Many games did not have such high replay value back in 1990 and that is one of many things that make CV III still stand today. In terms of difficulty, the game does get pretty hard at times but never hard enough to take away from the experience. Just don't expect things to be a breeze like they are in CV II. Obviously the graphics and sound are very dated today, but if you look at in context of it being released in 1990 then you can see that they are top notch for back then. The Castlevania series is often noticed for its amazing music and that is partially because of the music in this game. It's very haunting and incredibly atmospheric and is a standout in the music of the series. These things all add to the gothic horror atmosphere of the game, that like I said above, really does make you feel like you are in the game. Its amazing that Konami could create such an experience that rivals many games today, with the limitations that were present on the NES. They really did push the NES to its limits with CV III and it pays off. All of the genius aspects and polish found in the game makes me rate it as the top Castlevania of all time, with only SOTN and Rondo of Blood coming close. If you are a fan of Castlevania then you must play this game and it luckily can be found pretty easily on Ebay for a decent price. CV III is not a rare game, which is good because many of the better older Castlevanias usually are (SOTN and Rondo I'm looking at you). This game is not only a standout in the Castlevania series but a standout in video games period. Get it! Simple as that.