To be honest I'm pretty sure I've played this game before at some point, and I remember hating it. But maybe now I've played the earlier games I'll be able to find some entertainment in it.
Shame there's no music at this point. All the other Castlevanias started with an excellent stage 1 tune, but this has nothing.
Also the SNES artwork is a massive improvement over the NES graphics. I haven't found a tree yet, but if I ever do I have full confidence that it'll actually look like a tree this time. Also there's more frames of animation, layers of scrolling in the background... this is a nice looking game.
Simon's Quest bullshit again!
Wait; fences, trees in the background... this is getting very Castlevania 1. At least the layout seems different. Also the music has started to kick in. And it does not disappoint. (youtube link).
Castlevania. Sure it retells the same story of how a guy called Simon went into a castle and hit things with his whip, but these are two clearly different games.
One big difference... Simon can actually steer himself a bit in the air mid-jump! Finally I have some control when he's airbone. Also he can move when crouched, which helps too.
All the sub-weapons seem to be back as usual, and they're powered by the hearts I get out of candles, as is tradition. But now they're activated by a separate button, not up and fire. Which I keep forgetting at all the worst times.
Huh, am I in a barn now? Is this Dracula's evil stables?
Oh no, it's a skeleton boss riding a skeleton... animal. I have no idea what that would be. I'm guessing it's not a horse though.
I like those leaves though. There's some nice pixel work there.
Castlevania 1, the second boss is Medusa herself. Only this time she has a body, and can actually turn me to stone... for a short time. A special kind of stone that can just hang in the air.
I'm sorry bone pillar, but I can whip this thing vertically now! Moving the sub-weapon to a different button means I'm free to attack vertically, horizontally, diagonally... I got all the directions covered.
They've actually tweaked the stairs in this for the better. I still can't jump off them, but I can fall onto them, or off them if I want. Which definitely helps make them a lot more bearable... as long as I remember to pull up at the base of the stairs instead of just walking off the edge like an idiot.
I have to admit that this game surprised me. For one thing, it turns out that this isn't the Castlevania game I remember playing and hating all those years ago. So I've still got that one waiting to jump out at me at some point, just when I least expect it. Like a creepy evil owl in a haunted forest.
But this one really does feel like it deserves the title Castlevania IV. It's a step forward for the franchise in graphics and gameplay, and there's some good music in there too. It's probably my favourite of the series so far, and I definitely want to play more of this one.
1986 - Castlevania (NES)
1986 - Vampire Killer (MSX2)
1987 - Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
1988 - Haunted Castle (Arcade)
1989 - Castlevania: The Adventure (Game Boy)
1990 - Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NES)
1991 - Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (Game Boy)
1991 - Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
1993 - Akumajō Dracula / Castlevania Chronicles (X68000)
1993 - Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo / Rondo of Blood (TurboGrafx-CD)
1994 - Castlevania: The New Generation / Castlevania: Bloodlines (Genesis/Mega Drive)
1995 - Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss / Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)
1997 - Castlevania Legends (Game Boy)