A franchise this big, couldn't get a better start
The game brings us to our first experience with the Belmont's dinasty. We are introduced to Simon Belmont, perhaps the greatest name in the game, who is member of a family that is dedicated to protect Transylvania and the world against the evil forces of Dracula.
There is not a big deal regarding the story in the game. It is your good old fashined platformer as every other in the big NES time. But what brought the attention at first is the innovative weapon that we were using: A whip.
I found this a very interesting new weapon at the time, since the only rememberance that I had for a whip was with Indiana Jones. It was great to see that the whip would become the trademark weapon and part of the identity of the game and its predecessors.
As soon as you enter to the castle, you start fighting against monsters that you used to be scared of in movies. Zombies, bats, panthers, medusa's head, fish men, among others. There are a lot of enemis and they are all different so you cannot say that the game is monotonous because there is always a different kind of monster that you can fight in every level.
The adventure goes along six levels, each one with a final boss that goes to a Giant Vampire to mummies, Medusa and The Grim Reaper and of course the final battle against Dracula. Some of the fights can be tough but when you get the apporpiate weapon and strategy, the game becomes pretty easy.
Now, the whip is not the only weapon you have. During the way you will be able to get other weapons that can help you out. Among these, you have an axe, holy water, a cross that acts like boomerang, a clock that stops time and a dagger. Each one has it's ups and downs again certain enemies. It is part of the fun of the game to find out which ones are better for each enemy and boss. Unfortunately, the weapons can't be used unless you get hearts. THese hearts are part of the upgrades and items you can get in the candles. The more you have, the more you can use the weapon. All use one heart per shot, except the clock that uses five hearts per use.
Among other things that you can get on the candles are money, upgrades for the whip, weapons and roman number symbols. THese Roman numbers (II and III) are really helpful since they allow you to shoot either two or three shoots of the weapon at the same time. Another way to get upgrades (Specially meat which brings up your energy) is by looking for suspicious spots in the level. Whip'em and you might find hidden objects that will help you, sometimes you just have to be on particular spots and stand still and bonus points will appear. The point is to look and observe
The levels are really complete, to say it in some way, You don't always have to fight monsters but the background itself. You always have to keep and eye on stuff since every time you jump you can get hit and if you get hit you make an involuntary jump back that can be really annoying (Especially when you are dealing with Medusas and Crows)
The graphics are just good enough for the time. YOu can see colorful movies in the outside and creepy purple stains in the inner sites. But sometimes the graphics can make things hide in the background. Sometimes in can be seen as challenging but in some sections, like when you are jumping though platforms, it can be annoying.
The music is great. It was a piece of work considering the limitations about music back then. And from here, Castlevania's music has been part of the greatest achievements for videogames. They always bring emotion and ambience to the scenes.
The game has its letsdown like the fact that doesn't have any passwords, but it does have unlmited continues and you can make extra lives through score. There are parts that can be ery annoying like the ones mentioned above . The dificulty can frustrate many gamers in some parts. Many people complained that early parts of the game were too difficult. But along with that, the game is just a great beginning for a great franchise.
Castlevania is a big success for gaming and it is difficult to find anyone who hasn't played any game on any console. The beginning was this, a very satisfying experience which simplicity became the basement for such a great franchise, and this will be an all time classic for the time being. you just need to be aware that it is a Nintendo game and you will be transported to this golden era and understand why we loved it so much.
Final Score: 9