By the time the 16-bit era rolled around, Castlevania was one of the many franchises making the jump. The first game to take the plunge was Super Castlevania IV.
While it is essentially a big budget remake of the first game, Super Castlevania IV is a game that showcases the best of the best of the SNES. Super Castlevania IV contains graphics and music that utilize the hardware of the new system.
Those features are just the icing on the cake, though.
A cinematic-like intro sets the mood for Super Castlevania IV
Super Castlevania IV marks the first time in the series a full length animated introduction. A lightning strike destroys a gravestone, followed by creeping fog and evil sounding organ music. This is accompanied by a text crawl similar to the one in Dracula’s Curse, but far more sinister and atmospheric. It plays more like a Hammer/Universal studios intro that fits the aesthetics of the Castlevania series.
Players will be taking control of Simon Belmont once more. This time, he is prepared to fight the forces of darkness and end Dracula’s reign once and for all.
Super Castlevania IV plays like a Greatest Hits…plus more!
Once Super Castlevania IV kicks off, it hits the ground running and does not stop going. It very much keeps what made the last three games so incredible. The platforming and combat are completely on point in this game. Controls have been refined, so players won’t have to make any awkward jumps. The whip can now be used to attack enemies below, above and even diagonally, adding more moves to combat. The weapons are still helpful as well, as sometimes the whip may not be enough to beat a boss.
Longtime Castlevania fans can breathe a sigh of relief at the decrease in the challenge, as the game is not unfair. Players will still have to use skills, but it’s no longer a steep curve.
Simon will be traveling to Dracula’s castle through villages, underground caverns, and ruined temples. When he finally steps foot into the castle, our hero will have to fight off all kinds of monsters in the library, the catacombs and the rooftops themselves. Every stage in this game contains an ingenious level design full of creativity and tests for the player.
Boss fights reflect the originality of the levels, in the sense that each of them is a unique fight that requires a different skill from the player. Konami crammed in a few bosses based on Greek mythology as well to add to the innovative enemy types.
Finally, there is the beautifully composed soundtrack. It very much fits the ambiance of the game and feels very much like a horror/adventure film.
Super Castlevania IV’s minor flaw does not come close to ruining the game
Super Castlevania IV has a lot going for it and very little negatives. The cons of the game are almost nitpicky, but there is one that could be a turn-off. For starters, Super Castlevania IV is a very long game. There is over 10 stages, each split up into three sections of varying length and challenge. Even the speed runs of this game are significantly longer than Dracula’s Curse. Which is saying a lot, considering Dracula’s Curse’s overly unfair difficulty.
All in all, Super Castlevania IV is seen by many fans as one of the best “old school” Castlevanias. It’s a damn near perfect experience no Castlevania, or even gamer should pass up. The flawless design of the levels, the sound controls, the faultless graphics that use all the tricks in the SNES and it’s even a blast to play. Super Castlevania IV stands the test of time when compared to many platformers of the day, and is worth every second.