Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Castlevania experience

Oh Castlevania... I heard a lot about you, and I ignored you for many many long years... I knew, that it's good, fun, legendary and difficult as hell. But I ignored it! Maybe I just wasn't in a Dracula mood. I don't know...

Castlevania Symphony of the Night title screen
And this is where my adventure began...

Years ago I saw the four parter of Angry Video Game Nerd's Castlevania review. There was the very popular dialogue of Richter Belmont and Dracula in on of the games. I actually knew about it before I knew about Castlevania itself! Then I totally forgot, which game had that amazing dialogue.

On a day, when I had a little spare time. I gave a chance to Castlevania - Symphony of the Night, a so called Metroidvania game. I played the original Metroid and Super Metroid before. I had an idea, what to expect... right? Well. It started with the final stage... WHAT?! The final fight with Dracula and then... I burst in laugh!

Richter Belmont: Die monster! You don't belong in this world! 
Dracula: It was not by my hand that I am once again given flesh. I was called here by humans who wish to pay me tribute.
Richter Belmont: Tribute!?! You steal men's souls and make them your slaves!
Dracula: Perhaps the same could be said of all religions...
Richter Belmont: Your words are as empty as your soul! Mankind ill needs a savior such as you!
Dracula: What is a man? *flings his wine glass aside* A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk... Have at you!

The dialogue itself is funny, but with the combination of that horribly corny voice acting... oh, God...
And then I just started to play one of the best game I've ever played. The music at the beginning where you can read the story... oh. You know just know, it's not something average, something unforgettable. I don't want to write a detailed review or something. Just experience. Alucard is an amazing main character, the RPG gameplay element combined with Metroid style gameplay and the nice graphics and amazing soundtrack. The long gameplay, many places to discover. The amazing, huge boss fights. The game is mind blowing! I don't care, it's 2015, but modern games just don't give that feeling! This is clearly a masterpiece. And my first Castlevania game that I really played through.

I have to mention, I started one of the NES games also Super Castlevania IV before. But I never completed them . I actually stopped playing with them really early part of the games. But Symphony of the Night sucked me in to the evil world of Dracula and it never released me...

Next stop: Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP. I have to admit, I played it on emulator. Actually, it has one great advantage: the high resolution. Well, save states should be also mentioned, but since I consider them as cheating, I never used that feature.

I read a few words about Dracula X Chronicles. It's a remake of Rondo of Blood which was released in Japan only back then. I heard that it's a really amazing Castlevania game. So I started to play DXC and... I died, died, died and died... Did I mention, I also... died? Yeah. The game just kicked my ass! And then I learnt something: patience. And then I slowly learnt the levels, the boss patterns and  it was a good feeling! I unlocked the other two games, lot of soundtracks. The gameplay is so basic, really feels like a classic Castlevania game. The soundtrack in this game is fantastic. It has Bloody Tears and many classic Castlevania soundtracks remixed. The graphics are really good, especially in Full HD. Some textures are blurry, but acceptable and don't forget, the game was meant to be for a 4.3 inch display.

My favourite moment in this game are the final fight with Dracula (3rd form) and the waterfall stage where you are on a raft falling down on waterfalls high speed and the hydra boss. That level (5') was really, really hard compared to the others. I tried with Richter many times then I used Maria. After many tries I did it! Boss time! A huge serpent, really cool! I just need to avoid it's attacks. I was so lame, I died at that part, I was on low health so... Later I finally killed the serpent! Yaaaay! I did it! I did... wait... where is my orb?! Why... what? WHY?! An other healthbar?! Are you kidding me? A world just collapsed within me... aaand of course I died. I had no idea what to do. Now, I can kill the serpent... I mean hydra easily, but it was a fun and frustrating challenge.
The waterfall area was fun. Easy one... until the end... There was a bird with a sign in its claws. When I finally jumped over and the sign was place by the bird... I read it: DEADLY... hahaha! You developers have sense of humor.
Dracula's final form... Oh, what did I just expect. I got a freakin' Aizen clone! Just look at him! Butterflaizen, and now, Draculfly... Great. But in overall, it was one of the most epic boss fight I've ever played. My heart almost jumped out of its place. I was full of adrenaline. I was so excited! "HYDRO STOOOORM!" The music again just made it so intense! And of course... it wasn't a piece of cake. I needed to concentrate so much. I learnt his pattern, he was almost down. "I kill you, this is the end!" And... WHAAAAAT?!

Dracula X Chronicles final boss
One f***ing hit! ONE F***ING HIT!
After many tries... many swears... many furious moments... I beat him! I beat Dracula! Oh... I almost burst in (bloody) tears of happiness! And the soundtrack at the end... And everything... Great game. Really. It was fun.

Official: I AM A CASTLEVANIA FAN! I ignored one of the best video game franchises ever! But no regret. I gave it a chance and it's just amazing. Castlevania is amazing...