[Review] Super Castlevania IV


REVIEW # 00000000  01001011

My heart says…

It’s always difficult to fall in love with a game in your adulthood. Especially if is not a new game but it’s one that is around since almost 30 years. Usually a person grows fond of a game that he/her played in the teen years or even before. Super Castlevania IV is an exception to this rule. As soon as I tried it I’ve been completely captivated by its graphics and gameplay. After trying similar games such as the original Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden (in its european declination, Shadow Warriors) I’ve found this chapter even better than the original, something that usually doesn’t happen and this game for sure will remain in my heart as one of my favourites ever.

Splash screen

There’s something really memorable in Super Castelvania IV intro. Just sit down and watch!

Graphics

A great step forward compared to the first Castlevania. Of course thanks to the 16-bit of the SNES. The graphics are absolutely remarkable and Super Castlevania IV takes advance of the enhancements of the Mode 7 that enable the background to be rotated and scaled and to move a differen speed from the foregropund, giving the illusion of depth. This trick made its debut with Pilotwings and was later utilized in  defining titles such as Secret of Mana, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World and Super Metroid.

You can’t help but love the level of detail in the different settings and, talking about Mode 7, it’s impressive the block 4-3, something that can really cause an headache! 🙂

Narrative

The story is a remake of the original Castlevania so the plot is exactly the same.

We’re in 1691 Simon Belmont, helped by his loyal whip Vampire Killer, part of the family from generations, is fighting Dracula, back to life after 100 years and his evil forces, arisen from the shadows. In order to do this, Simon enters the Count’s castle to defeat his evil forces and finally kill the Vampire.

Gameplay

Super Castlevania IV is an expanded remake of the original castlevania. this means that some of the levels are similar in concept, even though they are of course better looking and more detailed. Luckily some of the enemies that populated the first games were abandoned in this one (like the fucking hunchbacked monkey/devils) and new hazards were introduced, ensuring a similar level of challenge. Due to the change of the game phisics, in particular the ones regarding jumping and whipping, the game is a bit easier but the lower difficulty is balanced by the additions of levels. Here we have 11 different stages and the final boss consist of 4 different bosses: for sure one of the most annoying is the chicken-zombie, which is the first one, then we have two rather easy ones and then the Count himself which it tough, but only in his “human form”. Towards the end, after the metamorphosis, is easier to defeat him.

Controls

Even here we have a great improvement from the original Castlevania. Simon can perform different actions, for example use his whip as a rope, he can attack in 8 directions and most important, he can dangle his whip by keep pushing the attack button and rotate it agin in 8 directions. The jump has been redefined and now, even though is not phisically acceptable, Simon can change direction in mid-air: this was propably the nevralgic point of the first Castlevania that required perfect timing and pixel perfect jumping to avoid any danger: now the situation is easier and even when the jump is not perfect, there’s always the possibility to recovery. Another great improvement that comes as a blessing, at least for me, is the possibility to use the second weapon not with the combination “up” + “fire” but with the right button behind the joypad, in order to avoid to waste attacks while pressing by mistake the up button while attacking or vice-versa.

Sound

I loved more the soundtrack of the original Castlevania but I have to say that even the tunes of this games are great. Toward the end of the game it’s possible to hear also a “remake” of the original background music. The original is probably still better but this more melodic one is surely not to miss!

Longevity

The original intent was to give like 7/10 regarding the longevity. I’m a very slow gamer and surely not a completionist and I was impressend when I managed to arrive easily at the 9th-10th level, so easily that it took me only two days. Ok, I’ve used the unlimited continue and yes, I’ve saved my progresses from time to time but even with this tricks, for example, I can’t still go further neither in the original Castlevania or in Ninja Gaiden. Even the small copmmunity of my followers stated that the game is not so easy so I had to raise my grade to 8/10. Appartently I’m quite good at this game!

Final score 90/100


Year: 1991

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Genre: Platform, Action, Adventure

Game Mode: Single Player

Original Platform: SNES

From same developers/editors:

  • Track & Filed (1983)
  • Hyper Sport (1984)
  • Metal Gear (1987) and sequels
  • Contra (1987) and sequels
  • International Superstar Soccer (1995)
  • Silent Hill (1999) and sequels
  • Pro Evolution Soccer (2001) and sequels

Inspired to:

  • Dracula (Intellivision, 1982)

If you liked it you can also try:

  • Kid Icarus (1986)
  • Metroid (1986)
  • Super Pitfall (1986)
  • Dragon Slayer (1986)
  • Wonder Boy III: Dragon’s Trap (1989)
  • The Goonies II (1987)
  • Ninja Gaiden (1988)

Other chapters of the saga:

  • Castlevania (1986)
  • Vampire Killer (1986)
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1987)
  • Haunted Castle (1988)
  • Castlevania: The Adventure (1989)
  • Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989)
  • Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun (1990)
  •  Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (1991)
  • Kid Dracula (1991)
  • Akumajō Dracula (1993)
  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (1993)
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines (1994)
  • Castlevania: Dracula X (1995)
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)
  • Castlevania Legends (1997)
  • Castlevania (N64, 1999)
  • Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (1999)
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (2001)
  • Castlevania Chronicles (2001)
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (2002)
  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (2003)
  • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (2003)
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (2005)
  • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (2005)
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (2006)
  • Castlevania: Order of Shadows (2007)
  • Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (2007)
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (2008)
  • Castlevania Judgment (2008)
  • Akumajō Dracula: The Medal (2008)
  • Pachislot Akumajō Dracula (2009)
  • Castlevania: The Arcade (2009)
  • Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (2009)
  • Pachislot Akumajō Dracula II (2010)
  • Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night (2010)
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (2010)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (2010)
  • Pachislot Akumajō Dracula III (2012)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (2013)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (2014)
  • CR Pachinko Akumajō Dracula (2015)

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mr. Panda says:

    Great review of a classic! This is my second favorite of the pre-Symphony of the Night Castlevania games. My favorite is Rondo of Blood for Turbografx, but this is still a wonderfully done sequel to the NES games. That Mode 7 and multi-directional whip is really something!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Oh yes. When I played again Castlevania after completing Super Castlevania IV I realize how good are the controls of the latter and how poor are the one of the former…

      Liked by 1 person

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