Konami's Castlevania series is one of video gaming's all-time greats, with some amazing entries under its blood-soaked belt – Castlevania III, Super Castlevania IV, Dracula X and Symphony of the Night being notable examples.
You might imagine, then, that the arrival of a Castlevania title on the Switch eShop would be cause for celebration, but sadly that isn't the case here. Hamster has just announced that it is bringing what has to rank as the worst entry in the series (yes, even worse than Castlevania Judgment) to Nintendo's console as part of its Arcade Archives range. Yes, we're talking about Haunted Castle.
Released in arcades in 1988, just as the series was gaining a solid reputation on the NES, Haunted Castle places you in the role of the legendary Simon Belmont (again) and boasts large sprites and some classic tunes, but is otherwise a fairly hateful game in pretty much every other regard.
It's frustratingly difficult to the point of being almost unfair, and the large size of the main character (and his general sluggishness) makes it hard to avoid incoming threats (of which there are many). You only have a single life per credit and you're only allowed to continue three times. We're getting angry just writing about it.
Speaking to John Szczepaniak for his peerless Untold History of Japanese Game Developers project, former Konami staffer Masaaki Kukino – who worked on the game's art – explained why Haunted Castle turned out the way it did:
The project was short-staffed. Time for debugging was needed, but we couldn't make any more changes to the balancing. That was the most regrettable part. I think the development time was about 6 months. We would have liked to make it a better game if we had the time. I find it too difficult to be successful.
It's a real downer of a game if we're honest, and outside of a small-scale PS2 release in Japan a few years back (also by Hamster, as part of its Oretachi Gēsen Zoku series), hasn't been released elsewhere – until now. There's a good reason for that. [Edit: As a few of you have rightly pointed out, the game was also included on the Arcade Classics Collection. We must have erased the horrible memory from our brains and forgotten it. Apologies!]
If you'd like to read a little more about this irksome game, then head over here. If you're still interested despite our warnings, this game hits the eShop on April 1st (tomorrow, fact fans), priced $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29.