Genre: Action Platformer
Platform: SNES(reviewed), Wii Virtual Console
Another one of the earliest games I can recall playing, Super Castlevania IV is probably my favorite of the Castlevania series. It is a relentlessly difficult game with a few cheap enemy placement problems, which actually wouldn't be a problem at all if taking damage didn't knock you back. And it seems that more often that not a bottomless pit is waiting directly behind you. This was a source of much frustration in me as a child, yet I still consider the game to be one of my favorites.
|The bane of every child's existence: Medusa Heads.|
|The face of true horror.|
|As a kid, I always thought these platforms looked like sideways chicken nuggets.|
Level designs can be downright devious at times with platforms arranged as if by a madman. In one area of the last stage you have to quickly ascend many flights of stairs to avoid being killed by a giant saw. The stairs not only collapse from the bottom up as soon as you step on them but there are also enemies blocking your path as you frantically make your way to the next platform. The section right after that is even crazier with diagonally ascending platforms that pass through rows of spikes, forcing you to keep jumping from platform to platform to avoid instant death.
|Yes, one of the boss fights is against a dancing ghost couple who attack you with rapiers. Konami is weird.|
Probably the most annoying fight in the game is against the dancing ghost couple pictured above. They constantly crowd you into the corner forcing you to jump onto the platform above to get around them. Even then you can only get in a few good hits before you have to dodge again. And that's if they aren't doing their dash attack. Forget about attacking them if they are. Just dodge. Either that or whip them as fast as possible without dodging and try to win a war of attrition. My strategies are stupid.
Perhaps my only big gripe about Castlevania IV is the jumping mechanic. As I mentioned several times, jumping is a huge part of the game, while platforming or fighting enemies and bosses. The problem is you don't jump very far horizontally and once you jump you don't have much control over you movement in midair. So you'd better make every jump count and, for the love of Atlas, would you kindly watch out for enemies on the next platform(someone is laughing their ass off right now at that archaic reference). This game is almost as bad as Ninja Gaiden when it comes to enemies knocking you back off of platforms to your death. It's the thing that will kill you the most right next to boss fights.
|Pictured: The most blingin' boss ever. A bat made out of freakin' gold.|
|Phew...got through that whole article without a Devo reference...dammit...|
Number 2 in my top 5 games of 1991!
A beloved RPG with a surprisingly dark, mature story for the time.
I'll leave you with Super Castlevania IV's beautiful ending theme, courtesy of YouTube user constantlimit: