Monday, 10 October 2011

Castlevania Legends (GB)

Castlevania Legends, the final Castlevania released on the original Game Boy, tells the story of the first Belmont to defeat Dracula. Or at least it would have, except that it's been declared non-canon, and no longer part of the official chronology.

It's nice to know that if I fuck up, I won't be ruining the timeline or anything. The Castlevania universe will be safe from my ineptitude for once.

Sonia Belmont, the first of the vampire fighting clan to actually fight vampires, 241 years before Simon picked up the whip and walked into Dracula's front yard.

Yeah, that definitely looks like Dracula's castle.

I start off in the woods trying to hit annoying flying enemies with my whip. Definitely a Castlevania game then. The music is actually a remix of Bloody Tears (youtube link) from Castlevania II - Simon's Quest, which is nice but I think I preferred the original.

Yeah this is all as you'd expect so far. I hit candles to get hearts for ammo. Flying enemies come and try to knock me down insta-kill pits and I have to be careful because I can't steer mid-jump... no wait, actually she CAN move in the air! She can move while crouched too. Seems like she's one of the more competent Belmonts.

Hmm, I have to choose which way to go. I guess I'll go left because... why not.

Hey, I got a 1up! Seems that I chose wisely. Nothing else here so I'll go back to the rope.

It's funny how the Game Boy games all have ropes and fireball flinging whips. It's also funny to kill bats with fire and steal their hearts.

This looks ominous somehow. I suddenly have the feeling that I'm walking into a boss fight.

Nope, false alarm. No boss fight here, just a little room with a candle in it.

Uh, what the hell? I hit the candle and was teleported into a room full of zombies.


These bastards just won't stop coming! They keep reappearing as quickly as I can kill them.


Finally! They eventually ran out of zombies and I was teleported back to the level. I was kinda hoping for a reward, but I got nothing.

Though I wonder...

Yeah, hitting the candle again put me right back here.

Castlevania Legends pro tip: if you see a candle in a room similar to the one I was in, DON'T HIT IT. And if you do hit it, don't hit it again.

This looks a bit hazardous. One false move and I'll be insta-killed.

Hey, at least I got a reward for going out of my way this time. It's an axe! Weirdly, the classic Castlevania sub-weapons cannot be used in combat. They actually determine what ending I get.

Well I fucked that up. Fortunately the game takes pity on me and lets me keep the axe.

Agh, you son of a bitch flying bat thing asshole... I've got no lives left, if I fall down that hole I'll be screwed.

Fortunately due to my incredible mid-air steering trick, I was able to grab the rope and save myself.

This is just pissing me off though. I take a hit, I get knocked down... I get knocked down, the enemies come back. I'm getting nowhere.


Hmmmmm, yeah okay fine.

My first boss fight! Fortunately I have BURNING MODE, which I can only activate once per life or stage. It gives me a short period of invulnerability so I can jump over and hit the enemy instead of running away and hiding.

The boss goes down and I can finally listen to something other than Bloody Tears on a loop. Nice tune, but I am so sick of it now.

Killing the boss earned Sonia a whirlwind magic attack, which is actually a time freeze sub-weapon that eats up 5 hearts per use.

I don't need it for these skulls though. They're like the ghosts in Super Mario World, I just have to look at them to make them freeze in place.

Damn, I thought I was done with pixel perfect jumps. I can't believe I actually eventually made it up there. These Belmonts just don't tend to have much range to their jumps.

Uh... I'll try the next room.

Huh, this is a dead end too. This guy's pretty easy to fight though if you wait a second and figure out his pattern like I didn't. I got a surprise sword to the gut a couple more times than I needed to.

Well, I'm stuck. I guess I'll see if I missed anything.

Hey, this room looks a little less spiky than I remember. Well I suppose I'm going through the door then.

Second boss fight! I'm just going to casually walk over this fire breath.

There's probably a smart way to take out this boss, but I just used BURNING MODE and kept hacking away at his head until it exploded. Problem solved.

I've got a nice new magic power for my trouble! Ice magic... which is actually a healing spell. But I think I'm done with this game now.

It's definitely better than Castlevania - The Adventure, but it seems really bland compared to Castlevania II - Belmont's Revenge. It's competent but nothing spectacular. And I really don't feel like playing any more of it.

In fact, this is going to be the final Castlevania game I'll be playing for a long long time. It's the last of the classic platformers, as the series branched off here into Metroidvania rpgs with Symphony of the Night, then 3D with Castlevania 64, so it seems a good place to stop. It was good while it lasted though, I've got to admit that the Castlevania franchise has won me over.

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)

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