Castlevania III scores as it returns to it's roots but explores a different path along the way!
The game plays exactly like the original one. You whip, you walk you have bad jumping skills. Everything from the sub-weapons to the whip upgrades. Its feels the same, until you progress further in and realize how different CV3 really is!
Instead of giving you the same paths each play through, CV3 let’s you have the choice of where to go once the initial stage is complete. An each chosen path is leads to a different secondary character. So this Belmont isn't fighting alone!
The three additional characters are Sypha a sorceress turn to stone by the vile Cyclops, Grant, a thief and one of the first to battle Dracula, turned into a monster by the vampire's curse and finally, Alucard who revives himself for a long sleep to challenge the protagonist Trevor! But only one of these companions may follow you in your path towards Dracula!
Each character has their own unique ability, Sypha has her magical abilities as well as a melee attack, but she is slow. Grant has speed and a wall crawling ability but is hurt easily by monsters, and Alucard is all around the same as Trevor except with the ability to transform into a bat for a short amount of time. When presented you can switch between the additional characters with the select button.
Combine these additional characters with the Vania game play system and the ability to choose your path CV3 becomes a pillar that stands strong to this day in all future Vania titles.
Dracula has finally been resurrected and Trevor, the current Belmont in possession of the Vampire Killer whip is ready to take him down with the help of which ever companion you choose!
Due to CV3 being the last NES Vania you know it had to go out with a bang! It host 15 stages to be explored but only 9 can be viewed for each play through due to the branching storyline. The enemy sprites are nicely designed as are the newer playable character sprites.
From the blue Aura of Sypha to the pirate outfit of Grant as well as the terrible 1930's Béla Lugosi influence of Alucard’ garbs, you couldn't ask for more! Trevor is seen in the classic Brown and Black attire originally worn by Simon (that is why so many people believe Simon is the protagonist of this game).
The bosses are big and many of them re-used throughout the game. Alot of them lack alot of motions relying more on running into our heroes than actually attacking them. but that can be ignored because the variations of backgrounds presented as well as the overall appearance can not be ignored and are a special treat for the final NES Castlevania game!
Castlevania 3 host one of the best NES soundtracks ever! It contains some of the most memorable tracks presented so far and the most notable one of The Beginning which is just an outstanding track and starts the game off on the right foot. Each accompanying stage has a song built just for it be it Stage 3's Mad Forest or the ghostly track from the Haunted Ship of Fools titled "Anxiety" all are done brilliantly and are just monumental.
The complete soundtrack was re-imagined by an artist name "goat" done entirely in the style of Rock-Metal, worth checking out! The project is called Unchosen Paths and is really worth listening to! It might even rival that of the Konami Dracula Battle selections!
Due to its open ended game play and series of endings to explore you might find yourself playing this game more and more often. There is also a score counter present... but I hardly paid attention to that addition, with all the dying and all. The difficulty increases as you progress further, but that is natural in gaming but CV3 is hindered by one thing... The DREADED PASSWORD SYSTEM!!! it's more simplistic than CV2, but I would still prefer a battery back-up for my games. Other than that it's the most repayable game in the series so far!
An excellent game worth playing on your emulator, or if you want to spend the cash Konami released this title and it's two predecessors with the original NES Contra titles for the PC called "Konami Collector's Series: Castlevania & Contra", check it out if downloading illegal ROMs and Emulators aren’t your thing!
The only Castlevania game in the franchise so far that I believe is in desperate need of an enhanced remake!
I will say this, no matter how you do it! play this game!