This article originally appeared on this site in July of 2005. Enjoy!

Nintendo had this great idea: To capitalize on the retro trend they would release a series of old NES games retooled to play on the Game Boy Advance… and charge $20 a pop. I know I’m not the only one who thought that this was a little steep for just one classic game, especially when you can get compilations like Mega Man Anniversary Collection for $30 that has 10 classic games. Fortunately, a trip to my local EBGames has revealed that at least one of these alleged classic games now retails for $9.99.

This package contains: the original NES Castlevania, original graphics, original sounds, original manual, and a battery-backed save system. So if you’ve played the original Castlevania, you know what to expect and already know if you think the game’s worth the cash. I’ve put more hours into the NES version than I did into my entire college education, so I may be slightly biased.

The story goes something like this: Dracula has cursed your family and you have to kill him. A simple premise for a simpler time. You have to work your way through Dracula’s castle fighting generic scary things, culminating in a fight with old Drac himself.

You have the standard assortment of evil-stomping weapons: a whip (which can be upgraded), daggers, stopwatches, axes, crosses (I mean boomerangs!), and holy water (I mean firebombs!). Some of the items that might have had something to do with religion were renamed due to Nintendo’s staunch ‘no-religion’ policy that was in place at the time. Anyway, the items are sufficiently different from each other and are each useful in certain situations. To progress at this game you will need to compliment Simon’s physical limitations with each of the different subweapons at your disposal.

The challenge this game offers is fairly typical of games of the era. The game starts out fairly easy, and each stage ramps up the difficulty until the end of the game where it’s so hard that you might feel like ripping your Game Boy in two. Thankfully, there is a save feature so you can actually turn off the game and walk away. Then you can pick up where you left off instead of trying to finish the game in one sitting.

Other than the save feature, this game is absolutely identical to the NES version, for good or ill. Your success in this game is absolutely dependant on your skill (or lack thereof). Simon does exactly what you tell him to, and there are very few random elements. Oftentimes in similar games that means that there is a lot of memorization to progress. That’s not entirely the case with this game. You just need practice.

Classic Castlevania is a perfect fit for the GBA. It’s got a good mix of fun and challenge, and the game-save feature makes it super easy to pick up and play in short bursts. Now that it’s finally down to the $10 price point, you can hardly go wrong with it.

Game Name: Classic NES Series: Castlevania
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Purchased from: EBGames
Amount of money I wasted on it: $9.99
One word summary: Good!

3 Responses to “Castlevania”

  1. [...] of the Castlevania universe, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a reimagining of the first game meant to show off the power of the then new-fangled Super [...]

  2. [...] III is a whole lot like the first game in the series with a few key differences. You’re still thrust into the role of a vampire [...]

  3. [...] Every single Castlevania game I’ve played has been Good Times ™, with the exception of this one. It stars you, as one of the Belmonts (I forget which one) or some girl with magic hands. And you have to guide him or her to kill off Drac and his minions. [...]

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