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Re(1):it's CASTLEVANIA WEEK
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This is going to be long and rambling and I'm going to make no attempt at editing it into something coherent. Because shut up. Here are my important opinions on things: Well, the first three CV games are a pretty easy way to scare someone who didn't grow up with the series away from the series entirely, as much as it pains me to admit it! 2 would have been impossible without reading a lot of game magazines at the time and I hardly think it's worthwhile today when the SotN-and-beyond games have succeeded so well at what it tried to do. Regarding how obtuse that game can be - I've always wondered if the Japanese version actually gave you the info you need to complete the game via dialogue, or if it was just as insane. CV1 and 3 do involve a lot of frustration with "Castlevania jumping" but I think it's important to know where the series came from, so don't take that as me telling you to ignore them! I know full well that playing games from that era that you didn't necessarily grow up with can be trying and you might even come to resent them if you can't immediately grasp what draws someone to a series - so maybe developing an appreciation for the basics of what's going on here is the key. That is to say, a basic appreciation of the walking primarily in one direction, whipping things, periodically changing direction at a different elevation sort of Castlevania! SotN and beyond, as good as they are, are hardly a place to start out. Gothic Metroid etc. So if we're going to look at something that plays well enough for modern sensibilities but is still a CV at heart, your choices would be a bit limited. Right now I'm thinking it's either PCE CD Dracula X, SNES/SFC Castlevania IV, SNES/SFC Dracula XX or the X68000 CV. Dracula XX is arguably the weakest of these, not to mention the hardest to play via legal channels these days. Despite how fond I am of some of the SNES arrangements of the music, it's not worth playing when you can get your hands on the original and far superior game so easily. Note that I didn't mention the PSP version - it's kind of a pointless remake, though if I recall it does contain the original version. Why bother? I have the Wii Virtual Console version and I'm very happy with it on an SDTV. Anyway, moving on. Dracula X is a wonderful game, and I think it represents the absolute height of what CV games in the classic style were capable of - the art and sound were wonderful, the game feels rock solid and does away with a lot of the baffling concerns of the NES games. Richter is a whole lot less likely to plummet through a staircase to his doom! Far and away it's my favorite of them... but is it the right one for you? Is it? Well... The X68000 CV, the one you probably know as Castlevania Chronicles, shares something in common with CV4 in that they're both something of a reimagining of the original Castlevania. Kinda. Sorta. They're also very, VERY different games. Both very good games, mind you, but playing one in no way should keep you from playing the other. Comparatively I think CV4 is kind of on the easy side and a lot of its gimmicky moments seem like a goofy SNES tech demo when played today. CV Chronicles still certainly qualifies as something that plays like a more modern sidescroller than the NES games but will also occasionally deliver a savage kick in the dick to remind you that it is the boss and you have to do what it says. So really, when it comes down to it, I desperately want you to buy CV Chronicles and I want you to love it and I want you to play with the cool new Simon sprite based on the Ayami Kojima artwork too. But if I have to be realistic (please don't make me be realistic) you're going to have a much better time playing Dracula X. Because it's a better game. You should probably buy it. But CV4 is good too. And so are the NES ones. And the GBA and DS games. And that weirdo Genesis game. And Spanish Castlevania is OK too. Just kind of boring. Don't play the N64 games. MORAL: ???????????????
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