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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