First thing to note is that you really need to have the kinda hard to come by memory… memory… hmm… what do you call this thick see through plastic brick things you jam into the underside of the N64 controller to act as it’s memory “stick”… that’s it, Memory Bricks… you need a Memory Brick in order to play this as it is one of a set of N64 games that does not features an internal battery to save your progress… hmmm… memory bricks…
Briefly I’d like to talk about this whole stupid set up. I know it’s expanding things and all but the N64’s weird controller attachment expansions were just too much. Let’s start with the bigger of the two devices I have to stick onto the controller, this frigging huge L shaped device which you use as a vibration function (the Rumble Pak). But then again Nintendo’s done worst for a “rumble” function (the larger than normal Game Boy carts with the mini rumble device attached to the top powered by a single AAA battery comes to mind, used on games like Tonka Raceway and one more that I know of) so go figure.
But that’s not as horrible as the combination of the Rumble Pak AND the Memory Brick. Gee, am I attaching enough to this single controller? A huge Rumble Pak, this memory brick… and this sucks because in order to use both you have to switch constantly between the two via a switch on the Rumble Pak (which is a pain, can’t both be functioning without me having to pick one or the other function), which is why I never ever have both attached at one time. Either one or the other, both is a hassle.
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However the game is just not as great as the hard as hell ones. The graphics are 1st gen 3D graphics so they really are quite blocky and not too interesting to look at (betcha you’ll love the SNES’s Super Castlevania IV more than this despite it being a last gen game in comparison to this game), the 3D environ makes it abit hard to play… huh? Oh. Let’s go into that.
Unlike the rolling side scrolling gameplay of old when you have to fight in a 3D environ you’ll find it harder to use your whip wielding male character choice to nail targets. Doesn’t help that the visuals at times make it harder to judge distances (which sucks when your making precision jumps, especially since the jump on this game is outrageous compared to the side scroller as the longer you hold down jump you can make the character jump farther, making it harder to nail a perfect jump if you mispower a jump). The best character to use in this game is the female character, mostly because she fires a power shot which has a very convenient homing feature which means, basically, you can run away from your enemies and your shots will mostly loop around and seek them out… so that means you can run in circles shooting off shots as you run and let them do the work for you (barely touching your special weapon though you will have to at times on some boss creatures).
Otherwise it’s sorta like an old school Castlevania game in that you travel from point A to B, on a quest to reach Castle Dracula and kill
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The second hardest part is in the underground sewers as there’s an area of plat forming jumping from platform to platform while avoiding falling into poison water (hit the water and die). While the plat forming can be easy enough the other problem of the game becomes noticeable here… mainly the disobedient camera. Now ideally the camera should have been set to a Third Person Shooter mode, and obediently stay behind you giving you a clear view of where you’re going, but instead the camera seems to want to fidget, reposition and change angles at the worst time giving you sometimes the worst view of a scene (which sucks when you’re trying to nail a particularly hard jump and the camera is set at a bad angle). Most of the time it’ll be tolerable since your either not in such a dangerous situation that you need the camera to be set right, or you have enough time to set the camera right again with the shoulder button without being under pressure… it’s just that the times you’re in a tight spot the last thing you need is the camera rolling about disobediently. Don’t forget when you get into hard areas like the carrying of the Nitro in the Castle Center, and
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What are the nice things about this game? Well it is the first of the 3D games and it’s a fair decent game once you get over it’s shortcomings. Also if you play the game as one character go back and play the other one and get a slightly different experience (as each character is supposed to have their own specific path though I never played the game as both long enough to note the differences between the two). You have a shop to buy stuff from a demon merchant once you make it long enough in the game, accessible through a contract scroll you find at points in the game. This makes it a little easier, also you can stockpile stuff you find along the way (including food so you can save up whatever you find to use in a pinch).
Overall this game has too much going against it to make it really recommendable. You MUST have the N64 memory stick… I mean brick… to make it work. You must be surprisingly patient to get past the flaws of the game, the jumping and camera problems, and overall to overcome the hardships to get from level to level to the very end.
At the end of the day it’s OK, just not as great as some of the classic sidescrollers. 3 out of 5... Oh, right, if you manage to beat the game and find certain goal items you can redress the female character in a schoolgirl outfit… and no, I never wanted to play the game long enough to see her in her schoolgirl outfit. Oh well.
Speaking of which now that I got a Genesis to review I really should invest time in getting ahold of Castlevania : Bloodlines for review.
Awhile ago I got hooked up on a new series that I raved about, you might remember it… Ichigo Mashimaro, aka Strawberry Marshmallow. The series, Anime from Geneon, was a nice slice of cute (dysfunction...
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