Round Table: Let's Talk About Castlevania
Posted by Nintendo Life Staff
Thomas Whitehead: Before we move on, let’s have a chat about the Game Boy trilogy of games.
Damien McFerran: Man, Belmont's Revenge (the second entry on the handheld) is amazing.
Christopher Ingram: Yes it is!
Damien McFerran: It's possibly one of my favourite games of all time. The music is so great I even listen to it on CD.
Thomas Whitehead: It came in at number three in our top ten, no less.
Corbie Dillard: Belmont's Revenge was amazing, but that first release was rough.
Damien McFerran: The third game isn't great either.
Corbie Dillard: They did make huge strides for the sequel, I’ve got to give them that. I like the third one, but I don't love it.
Damien McFerran: Belmont's Revenge came at a time when Konami was just untouchable on the GB: they released Contra at the same time.
Christopher Ingram: I didn't care for the first one either, but I would never have thought that Belmont's Revenge would still be one of my favourite titles in the series back then.
Corbie Dillard: Belmont's Revenge was one of those few games that just blew away most other games on GB and showed that you could make a quality game on the little system if you tried.
Christopher Ingram: It really needs an eShop release!
Dave Frear: The third (Legends) is actually my favourite of the three. I don't see a lot of people talk about it, but I really liked it. The second Game Boy game was a huge improvement over the first, but I think Legends is slightly better.
Damien McFerran: Dave — interesting. I thought Legends was really weak.
Corbie Dillard: It felt like a bit of a step back from Belmont's Revenge.
Damien McFerran: Legends is worth megabucks these days, by the way.
Corbie Dillard: I still have all three
Thomas Whitehead: Drinks are on Corbie, then...
Corbie Dillard: I could never bring myself to sell a Castlevania game.
Damien McFerran: I have the first two, Belmont's Revenge is the only boxed GB game I own.
Christopher Ingram: I can't remember playing the third game. I guess I missed out on it somehow.
Damien McFerran: Lots of people missed the third game Chris, don't beat yourself up about it.
Dave Frear: I just found the magic and burning mode quite interesting additions.
Thomas Whitehead: Moving on, we must mention the N64 titles, which represented the first attempts at 3D Castlevania. Did any of you experience either of those games?
Dave Frear: Nope, not played them. I know they exist but I don't think I've even seen a screenshot. I didn't buy an N64 myself until well into the GameCube's life.
Corbie Dillard: I bought them when they were new and I hated everything about them. But I have found that they make great drink coasters.
Christopher Ingram: I still own them both, but despite how much criticism they've gotten, there is a little bit to like about the games; but they are in no way great Castlevania games!
I bought them (Castlevania titles on N64) when they were new and I hated everything about them. But I have found that they make great drink coasters.
Damien McFerran: I played the first one, and it was a bit of a disappointment. They managed to capture something of the Castlevania spirit, but some of the jumping sections were painful. I also think that the N64 games weren't given a fair crack of the whip (pun intended) because they came after Symphony of the Night on PlayStation, and people just wanted more of that.
Corbie Dillard: When you take away the pinpoint platforming, you take away the essence of Castlevania.
Damien McFerran: Exactly. The first N64 game did manage to capture the atmosphere of the series, though, I'll give it that. Moody music and some quite spooky locations.
Christopher Ingram: The fog was horrible in those games.
Damien McFerran: I thought the fog added to the tension, but yeah, it was pretty bad...
Christopher Ingram: Yeah, the fog did add tension, but not always in a good way.
Thomas Whitehead: It's been mentioned already, but the PlayStation exclusive Symphony of the Night set the standard for 2D 'Metroidvania' design. What do you think of this gameplay style/direction in the GBA and DS games? Does it work well for you?
Corbie Dillard: I like the GBA and DS games, as they have that same Symphony of the Night flavour to them. I think the 2D artwork and platforming is very well implemented and while they still don't quite measure up to the earlier Castlevania releases, they're solid substitutes.
Damien McFerran: At the time, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Playing the GBA and DS games for the first time was amazing. I don't think any of them quite challenge SotN, but they're some of the best games on those formats. The trouble is, replaying them isn't as much fun as it is with the linear-style Castlevania games.
Dave Frear: It just seemed a natural progression. If you look at the other games the stages take place next to, or near enough to each other and some of them were quite long. I think in some cases the new design is friendlier for saving your progress, though not for dropping back in at certain points. I do miss that ability to jump in but I think they would have been crazy not to go in that direction.
Corbie Dillard: I agree with Damo. They're not games you'll come back to often. More like an RPG: once you play it, it takes a long time to come back to it.
Damien McFerran: Ironically, I think Circle of the Moon is the one I enjoyed the most, although it's arguably the worst of the GBA trilogy: it was my first GBA game, so what can I say?
Corbie Dillard: I tend to lean towards the more hated GBA game, Harmony of Dissonance.
Damien McFerran: I hated that one… I’m kidding, it was decent. Faster, and brighter!
Christopher Ingram: Heck yes! I agree that the old-school platforming is nothing short of amazing, but Symphony of the Night rocked my world upside down when I first played it… (Remaining comments chopped due to spoilers!)
Corbie Dillard: Let's face it, Symphony will always be one of the best games in the series and did a great job of taking the series in a slightly new direction.
Christopher Ingram: Completely agree with Corbie in terms of these games not drawing me back for another playthrough. Once I beat Symphony of the Night completely, I was pretty much done with it.
Thomas Whitehead: Do you think there were too many of the RPG-lite style entries on GBA and DS, should they have thrown in a classic linear title in this period?
Dave Frear: Well they had the first game in the NES Classics GBA range.
Damien McFerran: Yes, I think so. I'd love to have seen an old-school 2D title on the GBA or DS.
Corbie Dillard: I wish they would have made a more linear, old-school Castlevania game for DS. I would even take a remake of the original if they'd do it right. I'd also love to see Simon's Quest remade, but everyone seems to hate that one too! It's my favourite of the series.
Dave Frear: Maybe we can get a 3DS version. Petition them. The internet likes petitions, right?
Damien McFerran: I couldn't get on with it, great music and concept though. It would be ripe for a remake Corbs. Petitions are the net's bestest and most favourite thing ever.
Corbie Dillard: We need some old-fashioned Castlevania love on 3DS.
Dave Frear: I quite like bits of Simon's Quest.
Christopher Ingram: I wish they would make a new Castlevania like that now!
Thomas Whitehead: A remake with less random nonsense and it could work.
Damien McFerran: What a horrible night to have a curse…
Dave Frear: The night-day worked well.
Corbie Dillard: That was one of my favourite parts of the game.
Damien McFerran: Yeah, it was innovative for the time.
Corbie Dillard: I just loved the feel and flow of the Simon's Quest game.
Damien McFerran: It was too much of a departure for me, but I take my hat off to them for trying something so radically different.