Tuesday 6 October 2015

Castlevania: The Adventure (Game Boy review)

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1989

Castlevania: The Adventure is an action-platformer and the first portable version of the franchise.

There's four levels that take you through dungeons, torture chambers and crypts and once again your quest is to destroy Count Dracula. Unlike the original NES games there's no special abilities so you only have your whip to attack; however, you can collect Crystals to upgrade the whip which allows you to launch a fireball projectile at the same time. Unfortunately your character moves like he's walking through treacle and there's a slight delay between pressing the attack button and it registering; this results in many cheap hits and it's difficult to accurately whip to your desired location or height. Enemy placement is tough and it's not helped by the fact that their projectiles move much quicker than you do. The platforming sections require many pixel perfect jumps but again the sluggish controls cause serious annoyance and to top things off your button presses are sometimes ignored. Collision detection is off and you'll frequently take damage despite clearly being able to see distance between yourself and the enemy. Checkpoints are too spaced out and it's very annoying having to replay the same long section over and over again. There's also a severe lack of enemy types and the bosses are mostly uninspired dross. The level design is bland throughout but there are a handful of stand-out moments such as Level 3 with its cool rotating cogs that you need to break to stop the walls from squashing you. The music is decent and reminds me of tracks from the first Castlevania game (1986, NES) but because you die so often you'll get sick of hearing the same melodies.

Castlevania: The Adventure pales in comparison to the NES versions mainly due to the stiff controls that suck all the enjoyment from the game. Unless you're a die-hard fan of the franchise I'd recommend skipping this one as it's a disappointing effort from Konami.

Random trivia: This portable entry was followed up with two other Game Boy titles, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (1991) and Castlevania Legends (1997).

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