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Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

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Of all the Castlevania games, by far and large, Castlevania 3 for the regular Nintendo is by far my favorite. Yes, you can quote me on that if you want to! I don't care who knows it. This game is everything that I want in a game. A difficult game, multiple characters, branching paths in the levels, and excellent sound design. So let's take a look at Castlevania 3!

For some reason, Castlevania 3 didn't seem to get a very large print run. I didn't get to play it until close to 2003 for the first time. My guess is because of how late it was in the systems life cycle, this game was released in 1990, which means that it gets some of the better music and graphics the system was capable of, but the price of it second hand goes up because of this. To quote the guy I bought mine from, "we don't see a whole lot of Castlevania III's here." I got mine at a vintage video game shop near Pittsburg for twelve dollars. Not a bad price considering how much it goes for on ebay is close to that, but if you really want to realize how rare this thing is take a look at the sealed in box prices. Remember, this is a twenty year old NES game going for Of all the Castlevania games, by far and large, Castlevania 3 for the regular Nintendo is by far my favorite. Yes, you can quote me on that if you want to! I don't care who knows it. This game is everything that I want in a game. A difficult game, multiple characters, branching paths in the levels, and excellent sound design. So let's take a look at Castlevania 3! For some reason, Castlevania 3 didn't seem to get a very large print run. I didn't get to play it until close to 2003 for the first time. My guess is because of how late it was in the systems life cycle, this game was released in 1990, which means that it gets some of the better music and graphics the system was capable of, but the price of it second hand goes up because of this. To quote the guy I bought mine from, "we don't see a whole lot of Castlevania III's here." I got mine at a vintage video game shop near Pittsburg for twelve dollars. Not a bad price considering how much it goes for on ebay is close to that, but if you really want to realize how rare this thing is take a look at the sealed in box prices. Remember, this is a twenty year old NES game going for two hundred dollars - and I am damn temptedto put a bid in on this thing. This would tie a room together sitting on any mantle! Sealed in box for two hundred? So tempted to get this. The game is the same action platformer as both Castlevania and Castlevania 2, but ditches all the role playing and super confusing levels from 2 and goes back to the traditional walk left to right method of gameplay. No gigantic mirror or crank puzzles to be found, just left to right, fight a boss, and move on. That is how games should be. The great thing here is, to improve replayability you can choose at certain points to travel a top path or a bottom path to go to totally different levels, and you also have three optional characters to pick up. You can only have one of them at a time however, so of course you're going to play the game multiple times to try all this out. I know I did, and will continue to do so until for whatever reason, I can't play games anymore. This game is that fun for me. You have three extra characters to play as, not just the usual Belmont character either. The gameplay changes significantly depending upon who you're playing as, despite the level design remaining the same things are pretty well balanced. Although, there were a few times I'd get lost or somehow backtrack down a very gear heavy level. It happens sometimes. But here is a breakdown of your four characters: "Trevor" Belmont - He sure looks and plays a whole lot like Simon. Press one button to use a whip attack, press the other to jump. You can pick up sub weapons such as the boomerang cross, a straight shooting knife, or my favorite, that axe that throws up and over just slightly, or a couple other weapons as well. For the majority of the game, I usually play as this character. I like my Castlevania straight, with the akward jumps and simple whip attack. Sypha Belnades - A magic using chick who can dish out major attack damage to bosses, but takes it right back as well. Picking up sub weapons with her changes her magic to be fire or ice based. I never play through levels with her, I always end up dying. She can take something like three hits total, compared to the eight to ten your Belmont can take, but, as I said, when you're up against a boss she's your secret weapon. But her regular attack is useless, making her unusable when you run out of heart power for her magics. Grant DaNasty - Officially the best name for a character ever, this is a midget pirate who can climb up walls and throw knives. He also uses  No really, he's half sized, able to sprint up and down surfaces, and he can toss out daggers! Usually reserved for when I feel like something totally different, or just want to play out a Spider-man fantasy in Castlevania. If only Spider-man was in Castlevania! Spider-man should be in every video game. But back to DaNasty, Grant can change direction in his mid jump, which is insane for a Castlevania game. Most of the trouble playing  these are from those jumps where you need to change direction, but you just can't. Well DaNasty can do that and sling blades around a level, very fast like. Alucard - The fan favorite from Syhmpony of the Night makes his apperance here, once again siding against his father and wielding most of his fathers magics. He can toss out the three fireballs from his cape, and most useful, he can turn into a bat and completely pass through most levels extremely quickly. So long as your heart counter lasts that is. I should point out that as you switch to these characters, the delay from pressing select and the actual switch seems like forever. Your character just sort of telaports in and out, then the next character back in. So if you're like me and use Sypha as a quick magic attack on bosses, then want to switch back to Trevor, prepare for that annoyance. One thing to make note of in the games music is that the Japanese version differs slightly, because of an advanced chip added to the Famicom cartridge.Not that this cripples the version America and Europe have, but there is a difference to make note of. As usual, Castlevania has significantly wonderful music that feels like a gothic rock type of music, and of course, when you get a game over the song feels like a middle finger shoved directly into my face. Every single time I hear it. Which can be often, because this game isn't easy. Japanese intro with much better sound effects, including what I assume to be Dracula laughing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SJaF8no9t0 Compare that against the US version here. Notice the qaulity isn't nearly as good. If you're into sound qaulity, and what vintage gaming enthusist isn't, then you're going to want to get the import version. Which means a modded system or fancy top loading newer model that can play the Japanese carts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdPsKCSXmoE By far and large, my favorite part of this game is the branching paths mechanic. Every couple levels, you're presented with a choice. You can go up or go down, which means the difference between platforming hell or a nightmare filled with lots of enemies. Generally speaking, that was always my experience with Castlevania III. I love both options, but as I said before, it effects which bosses you fight, and which character you can get with you. All paths eventually lead to Dracula, which requres a paragraph all on it's own. This is the ultimate boss fight against Dracula. Here, Dracula is indeed a bad motherfucker. Dracula's first form isn't super tough to rip into. Just a standard fight against our pal Vlad's head and his usual fire attacks. The second form is a bit trickier to deal with, he morphs into this strange floating ball of faces and drips what I assume is blood on you. The next form is the jerk. This is his final form! A demon who stand still, like he's about to drop a major bowel movement! What's going on with his right leg? I don't know either! That's why I asked you! Parts of the floor fly up into moving platforms which you have to jump on to be able to jump and attack this things head, which doesn't always work so great, and you can easily fall into the pits. Worse than that is his super long beam power, which comes from three places on his body. The problem with this is attrition. Simple attrition. The final battle takes place after a hellish level, filled with lots of pitfalls and enemies, and if you lose this fight, prepare to play through that entire level again pal. Sorry, this is just how it is. When I say beating this game gives me a sense of accomplishment nothing else does, that is understating it. This game throws everything at you, even the fucking floor in that last fight, and if you can manage to beat it, it feels so good. The boss battles are all classic Castlevania arch types, the enemies throught the levels all are great to fight against, and it just feels like a rewarding game to me. A personal favorite, and a must own for a Castlevania fan. Nobdoy seems to talk about it with such reverance as I do, everyone seems to focus on the first two, the two Super Nintendo games, Rondo of Blood, or one of the later games that go for that Super Metroid feel. For me, it doesn't get any better than Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. More pictures! Did you guys ever play Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse?



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