Castlevania is an essential landmark from the 8-bit era of gaming

User Rating: 9 | Akumajou Dracula NES
The Nintendo Entertainment System was not known for having a particularly 'easy' library of games, but Castlevania still stands today as one of the most challenging titles for the legendary system. This is a brutal, brutal game that will challenge even the most seasoned platformers without doubt. This would normally be a bad thing for me, as I completely suck at almost every 2D platforming game, but for some reason, I had an absolute blast playing Castlevania. This game is simply a ton of fun, and while the difficulty is insane even by NES standards, there's a reason why most folks love this game anyway.

The game has you playing as Simon Belmont through six linear levels, each leading up to a final end boss. This is a completely typical action platformer from the 8-bit era, but the high difficulty and gothic atmosphere sets it apart from other games like Super Mario Brothers. You can defeat enemies by whipping them or using another power that can be replenished by hearts scattered throughout each level. There's a lot of strategy involved in Castlevania, especially during the extremely punishing end bosses. The final two (including one against Dracula himself) will definitely cause a few headaches if you don't enter them with a clear strategy already in mind.

The graphics and sound still hold up well today, and the only aspect of Castlevania that hasn't really stood the test of time is the notoriously stiff controls. Jumping just doesn't feel natural, and the game definitely would've been less frustrating with smoother controls. Either way, Castlevania is fun enough to justify the (sometimes massive) amounts of frustration that you will experience. This is a fantastic video game that ranks up there as one of the finest, and certainly most challenging, platforming titles ever made. Castlevania is a truly essential masterpiece from the 8-bit era.