System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Published by: Konami
Review: Castlevania is one of those games that's so insanely, frustratingly difficult that it will make you want to pull all your teeth out so you can use them to scrape out all your hair. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I died and cursed and slammed the controller down on my seemingly futile quest to destroy Dracula. But I kept on coming back to play more, which says something about the quality of the game.
Sure, the play control may be extremely frustrating at times, when you're being attacked by a flying creature on a staircase and you can't just quickly jump off, or when you accidentally get a special weapon you don't want and can't get back to the original one in time to switch back, but the level design and creatures are interesting enough to keep you wanting to come back to see what else is coming up. The game is short, but this was back in the early 8-bit days where you were supposed to beat the game in one sitting. The shortness adds to the replay value though, as you can try your hand at fighting the Grim Reaper again to learn if it was skill or merely good luck that allowed you to pass him the first time.
This is by no means the best game in the series, but there's a simplicity and purity to the original that none of the other games quite capture. The graphics are certainly dated (and the "faded" look of Simon in the first game always bothered me--he looks much better in the sequel), but the music still holds its own as one of the most recognizable and iconic video game themes of all time, which is something that perhaps eases some of the pain of the frustrating difficulty.
If you've never played this game before, it's available on the Wii's Virtual Console, and you really owe it to yourself to check it out and see where one of the most successful game franchises of all time got its not-so-humble beginnings.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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