Tuesday 18 August 2015

Kid Dracula (Game Boy review)

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1993

Kid Dracula is an action platformer and a spinoff of Konami's Castlevania franchise.

There's eight levels and your mission is to defeat an evil lizard king called Garamoth. Pressing B fires your standard weapon but as you complete levels you'll gain access to additional abilities that you can switch between. These include a Bat Attack, Homing Missiles and a Bat Transformation so you can cross gaps. Although it's related to Castlevania the game actually has more in common with Capcom's Mega Man. There's lots of tricky platforming as well as trial and error gameplay where you need to experiment to see which weapon works best for particular areas. The first three levels are fairly standard but Level 4 requires you to switch between abilities on a frequent basis. You also gain the ability to hang upside down and it makes for some interesting platforming that reminds me of the Toy Land level in Castle of Illusion (1990, Mega Drive). Cycling through abilities is a bit clunky in hectic situations but you can press the Start button to pause the action while selecting it. Level 5 gives you Bombs so you can break down walls, as well as a Bat Umbrella that protects you from incoming projectiles. From this point onwards the game throws everything at you but the difficulty is fair and rarely gets frustrating. The bosses are awesome and each has multiple forms; I particularly love the huge mechanical robot where you have to go upside-down to shoot it in the head while avoiding lasers! There's a few simple mini-games that involve things like catching bats in a net and they're an okay diversion. The graphics are excellent with gothic backgrounds, chunky sprites and hardly any slowdown.

Kid Dracula is a solid platformer with some great combat thrown in for good measure. It doesn't do much you haven't seen before but it has tons of variety, fun abilities and some expertly crafted levels.

Random trivia: At the end of stage 2 you face a boss who looks suspiciously like Rick, the lead character from the Splatterhouse games!

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