Castlevania 64 Review

For Nintendo 64

By Contributing Writer Rob Pecknold

Rating: Average
   Iíve always been a huge fan of the Castlevania series, so when Konami
announced that the umpteenth game in the Castlevania series would be on the
N64, what was I supposed to think?  I expected a 3D romp similar in style 
to Resident Evil, but less scary and more like Zelda.  I got what I 
expected, but that's necessarily a good thing.
   After getting my N64 out from its usual place in the closet, I hooked it
up, put Castlevania in it, and was... Amazed?  Shocked?  Playing?  Let's 
just leave it at playing.  The first thing I noticed from the get-go is how
overly 3D things are.  The camera pans around the castle seem to try and 
boast the fact that finally after 15 or so games, Castlevania is finally in
3D.  So I started playing the actual game and one major thing is missing 
that made the other Castlevanias so memorable: good music.  Having crappy 
music is a big no no in the presence of Rob Pecknold.  You should see 
a Spice Girls CD after I'm through with it... not pretty after theyíve seen
the likes of the Tunes County Quality Police!  There... There is no Tunes 
County... (stop it Rob, it's just getting worse...).  Anyhoo, the music in
Castlevania 64 is really quite bland.  The only memorable theme is the one 
that the mystery guy with the violin plays at the game title screen.
   Another thing that interested me in Castlevania was the amount of speech.
Not necessarily the quality, which is quite bad, but just the speech.  
Iím surprised they could fit it on a cartridge the size of Shadows of the 
Empire.  Speaking of the cartridge size, I canít avoid metioning the 
graphics here.  Youíre not really getting graphics, youíre getting a few 
tubs of vaseline smeared all over the place.  The environments are 
unbelievable (in the actually not believeable way) and everything looks 
like its been waxed ten too many times (which is also a common problem with
my snowboard).  Konami needs to learn how to use the N64 in much better 
ways, because their games just arenít coming through in the graphics 
department (see Goemon if you donít believe me).
   Enough with the technical side, letís get to the game.  The story is 
that you want to kill Dracula because he did something or other that was 
really bad, so as either Reinhardt Schneider or Carrie Fernandez, you have 
to get into the castle and do your deed.  That's a pretty crappy story if 
you ask me.  The control is a bit spotty at first but soon becomes second 
nature, although thereís an insane amout of platform jumping for one castle.
The level designs are really quite nice, but they all suffer from being 
basic cliches (mansion, sewer, maze, etc.), which is also something Banjo-
Kazooie suffered from.
   Another thing wrong with Castlevania 64 is the ways it blatantly rips 
off Zelda.  Time passes in the game (which isnít Zelda-owned, but pretty 
much so) and is done so in a horrible manner.  It really doesnít matter if 
it's night or day if you want to do something, and it sure as heck doesnít 
affect if monsters come out.  Also, the game has an item use system, a 
weapon system, and bosses that are very similar to those in Zelda 64.  
It seems as if the developers delayed Castlevania not because they wanted 
to avoid direct competition, but becausee they wanted to see what they 
could take from Zelda to save their own suffering product.
   In the end, Castlevania 64 is just another average (hence the rating) 
N64 action/platformer that has nothing going for it but a few scary and
startling moments and a bad commercial currently airing on MTV.  Only buy 
it if there is absolutely nothing else on the shelf that interests you.

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Review


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