Super Castlevania IV – Simon Reborn – IMPLANTgames

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It seems weird to me the fourth installment
of the Castlevania franchise includes the prefix ‘Super,’ as well as the suffix
‘IV.’ Like the marketing team couldn’t decide
if they should advertise this as the fourth game in the franchise… or to celebrate the
first Castlevania title on the Super Nintendo. Despite being the fourth title in the franchise,
Castlevania IV is a retelling of Simon’s original adventure, updated both technically,
taking advantage of the then new 16-bit hardware, as well as mechanically, with a massive overhaul
to the gameplay. While modern audiences may not always appreciate
the evolution of a game series, changes were generally accepted during the 1990’s. Be it Mario, Zelda or Metroid, there was little
backlash when a series marched onward. Mario continued his evolution towards a wider
audience with easier gameplay. Zelda followed suit, with waypoints helping
with progression and more healing items. And of course Metroid evolved from a bomb
every floor labyrinth, to something far more thoughtful. So it should be no surprise, the development
team massaged the Castlevania formula. The biggest change comes in the form of the
whip. In the classic trilogy, Simon’s whip was
a simple melee item, able to launch forward to damage foes. In Castlevania IV, the whip is so much more. First, it can be flicked in all 8 directions,
which has the greatest benefit of hitting enemies above. It can also be used as a shield, deflecting
certain attacks. It can sort of be wiggled around, damaging
enemies in unusual ways. Finally, it can be used to swing off specific
hooks, adding an Indiana Jones element to the gameplay. On the surface, this could be viewed as a
negative. As others have stated more eloquently, the
increased utility of the whip greatly reduces the utility of the sub-weapons. One of the main elements of the previous Castlevanias,
was finding the best item to use in different situations. Like the axe against the bat, or the cross
against the owls, or the holy water against death. Experimenting with different items was a trademark
of the franchise, and thanks to unlimited continues, experimentation was encouraged,
and rewarded. However, as Simon’s whip can now melee in
all directions, one doesn’t need holy water to damage an enemy below, or an ax to hit
an enemy above. And to this extent, the argument the whip
is too powerful and negates the need for sub-weapons is… persuasive. On the flip side, the improved whip does have
positive impacts on the gameplay. For example, one no longer needs to suicide
if they have the wrong weapon leading to a boss. Or one doesn’t have to struggle through
nearly impossible sections if they possess the wrong weapon. Rather, the vampire killer, is always an adequate
weapon for whatever situation Simon comes across. And in this regard, I think I am ok with added
utility of whip. In fact, it adds depth to the gameplay. Take the final fight with dracula for example. One can use the cross as a weapon to actually
damage dracula, and then hold the whip out to act like a shield against the incoming
projectiles. Rifling off the sub-weapon, then quickly getting
the whip in position in the limited time window provided, requires precision, and successful
pulling off the combo is satisfying. The second major change is the jumping. Much like Grant in Castlevania III, Simon
can now change directions in mid-air. Simon lacks the momentum and physics based
precision of say Mario, but like the games before it, Castlevania IV never requires this
much dexterity so it isn’t a problem. Still, I do find Simon’s additional mobility
to be a bit overstated. For example, regardless if the player taps
the jump button, or holds it, Simon’s jump height is static. Additionally, speed or inertia cannot be changed,
Simon simply changes direction at the same speed. It is useful for sure, and makes jumping sections
like the chandeliers in stage 6 manageable, but nimble? Simon is not. Finally, there are a few enhancements that
make generally navigation smoother too. First, Simon can now jump onto stairs. This can help make one recover from knockback,
or just ease the speed of forward progression. Second, if the stairs are placed at the end
of a platform, Simon will automatically climb up or down them. In the classic games, one had to press the
appropriate diagonal on the d-pad to engage the climb. While rare, I did accidentally walk off the
ledge in the previous titles, and my muscle memory is occasionally present in the recorded
footage. In either case, the ability to land on stairs,
and not walk off ledges, are welcome additions and show the attention to detail the designers
put into the gameplay. The rest of Castlevania IV is a straightforward,
back its roots, approach to the series. Gone are the non-linear RPG elements from
the second game, and branching path multi-character elements from the third title. Instead, the player will only control Simon
through a linear set of levels on the way to Count Dracula. And if I’m honest, I don’t have any problems
with this approach. Castlevania IV is laser-focussed and avoids
some of the pitfalls of past games when the execution did not match ambition. That isn’t to say Castlevania IV lacks ambition. The team seemed hellbent on exploring the
technical leap the Super Nintendo provided over the original NES. Right off the bat, the player is forced to
go through a gate and begin navigating in the background. Foreground and background enemies can only
interact with Simon when on the same plane. Sadly, this concept is never revisited in
the adventure, but it does look cool. In addition to multiple scrolling layers,
the designers also showed off the SNES’s fabled mode-7. This includes the famous horizontal tower
section, this rotating level, and the scaling background acting as the boss, although this
is certainly not the first time a moving background was used as a boss. While not especially impressive today, with
some serious frame rate issues, a lack of color depth, and the inconsistent pixel size
that comes with rotating something at such a low resolution, I do applaud the developers
for experimenting with the hardware, and exploring how such effects could be integrated as a
gameplay element, rather than just a zooming a title screen. No offense to Super Metroid, it is just the
footage I have on hand. But back to the laser-focused gameplay. Castlevania IV is all about jumping, and whipping,
through 11 stages, defeating bosses, while slowly making progress towards the showdown
with Dracula. Who according the Western release, has risen
from his grave 100 years after the events of Simon’s Quest. Though Simon hasn’t aged, suggesting he
is still cursed, or was bitten by a vampire, or who knows. Anyway, in Japan this is a retelling of Simon’s
original 1691 adventure. Per usual, the opening cinematic of the game
show Simon at the gates of the expansive Castle property, before the game begins proper. The begining moments lack any sort of enemies,
letting one acclimate to the gameplay tweaks if needed, before the adventure kicks off
proper. The first stage also does a great job with
the sub-weapons. For example, the holy water is first presented
in these sections with headless horses. The horse heads will travel right into the
attack, giving a good use case for the unique weapon. On the next screen is the stopwatch, which
is an extremely effective weapon on medusa heads, stopping them in their tracks, preventing
them for knocking the player into these flipping platforms. Another touch I absolutely love is that candles
now drop health! In previous entries, health was only available
in the form of wall meat, or churches. But now, candles can drop the life replenishing
item. This is a little touch for sure, but I feel
like the developers did a good job dropping little health pick-ups now and again, while
still rewarding big health drops for those wanting to check every wall in the game. The first stage is where one will also learn
the new grapple mechanic. The first hook appears with a safety net underneath,
letting one come to grips with the engagement and release, before the game removes the safety
net later on. While Castlevania IV does include some tricky
areas with multiple hooks, these always lead to bonus items, and multiple hook swings are
never required for progression. Which is a good thing, because it isn’t
the smoothest mechanic in the world. I appreciate the restraint, and the designers
never force the player to do something beyond what the controls are capable of. One area of Castlevania that did give me some
issues at first however, were the flipping platforms. Thankfully, the beginning of stage 4 offers
a safe place to practice and learn their behavior. And on this recorded run, I thankfully was
able to navigate them without incident. Still, I suspect a few players got tripped
up with the incredibly tight window one has to jump after landing on one. Moving along, I can’t help but notice how
Castlevania IV is broken into three acts. The first five stages all take place outside
of Dracula’s castle. These five stages are relatively easy, not
all of them even contain a boss, and do a decent job of teaching the player to try all
of the sub-weapons and explore the full utility of the whip. The second act of the game begins when the
player enters Dracula’s Castle. There is a notable increase in difficulty,
enemy patterns become more complex, jumping requires better timing, the threat of falling
into a bottomless pit becomes very real, and Castlevania IV harkens back to the brutal
difficulty the series was built upon. The final act is the build up to the final
set of bosses, which include collapsing stairs, and some brutal vertical scrolling sections
which will feel impossible until the player learns the devilish patterns crafted by the
designers. There are three separate boss fights before
the climb up to Dracula’s Castle, and then of course the battle with ultimate baddie
himself. I bring this up because I feel the area Castlevania
IV most excels at, is the difficulty progression. In the original Castlevania, the toughest
stage was the fourth one, with beefy enemies, tough enemy patterns, and a brutal boss. It made the fifth stage feel downright breezy. Same goes for Castlevania III, with the lower
path Stage 7 being by far the most brutal level in the game, and the stages after it
being rather tame in comparison. But in Castlevania IV, the final stage, is
unquestionably the hardest. It is a vertical trek up collapsing stairs,
which the player has to jump on, reinforcing the need for the player to master the act
of landing on them in the first place. The player has to move quickly too, as a hazard
travels up the screen, offering a one hit death to slow players. But not all threats are from below. The second half of the climb has the player
jumping across moving platforms to make it to safe points on the screen. But one has to be mindful of the ceiling,
which can also contain spikes which tear through Simon with a single strike. It feels like a proper final stage, testing
the players skills and offering a gauntlet to overcome before the final showdown. But everything here feels fair. The player has been forced to move quickly
in previous stages. Stage 3-3 has collapsing blocks, forcing the
player forward, and collapsing blocks were introduced in a safe area right away in the
first stage. Players hopefully noticed they can land on
stairs by holding up, though I don’t actually think this was required before this point. Still, after two hours of play, one should
feel comfortable with the navigation. And of course, pattern recognition has been
slowly pushed on the player in the form of an ever increasing array of deadly spiked
platforms. This final stage feels like the culmination
of everything Simon has been through, all wrapped up in the final epic section of the
final epic stage. This difficulty progressions can also be found
with the bosses. Well, sort of. Truth be told, the bosses in Castlevania IV
are… easy. This is usually because Simon can inflict
damage faster than the boss has any hopes of dishing back. Even when the player fails to react with any
sort of skill or precision, it probably doesn’t matter. And if one hangs onto the cross sub-weapon,
it is game over. However, things begin to pick-up in stage
7. Here, the boss does attack somewhat frequently,
and getting into a little groove while dodging the flames on the ground can provide a semblance
of satisfaction. Same goes for stage 8, where one can whip
at Frankenstein’s Monster’s projectiles. While a better sub-weapon would shred these
bosses, I do appreciate how a little strategy helps tip the battle in Simon’s favor. The bats in Stage 9 are another good example. When hit, it or they drop projectiles. The player needs to strike the enemy in a
strategic way, to best avoid taking return damage. Again, not the most difficult thing ever,
but things are starting to get engaging. Until one arrives at the mummy. At times it feels like the mummy is trying
to avoid damaging the player, which is bizarre. And there are obvious safe spots on the screen,
which further suck the challenge out of the encounter altogether. Thankfully, progression continues with the
final boss rush. Slogra is easily my favorite boss in the game. He moves and strikes quickly, and one really
has react quickly to avoid return fire. Ducking becomes critical here, during both
phases. First to avoid attacks, and in the second
phase, to dish out the pain. While jumping on these platforms isn’t required
to beat him, I did find they greatly assisted my timing, helping me to get into a good groove
during the battle. The middle boss of this rush is a bit disappointing,
although diagonal and upward slashes dull the monotony of the near constant horizontal
whipping the game usually presents. Death ups the ante however, as he usually
does. To be honest, even on my fifth playthrough,
I never quite go into a proficient rhythm against him. Though his projectile attacks are easier to
whip down thanks to the increased reach of the whip, and a more predictable starting
point. I did eventually settle into a routine of
whipping while he performed his scythe attack, which seemed to tip the damage exchanges in
my favor. Finally, there is Dracula. This is another two-phase affair, with the
Count launching projectiles at Simon in the first phase, followed by an energy crash attack
in the second phase. This is another strong fight, easily up there
with the very first encounter from 1986. What I like about it is how consistent it
is, and how the patterns can be learned. These flames irritated the crap out of me
on early playthroughs. However, they are not random, and there is
a pattern to learn. They slowly charge at the player, but their
decent is slower than their horizontal movement. And as they retain momentum once failing after
being hit, one can control where they land. Eventually I learned to strike the first from
below, then walk under the second one before striking, allowing each to land away from
Simon, greatly mitigating their destruction. While my execution isn’t always the best,
and Dracula’s random spawning is at times unfair, I again found myself getting into
a good rhythm, or groove, and could reliably defeat the final boss without wanting to throw
my controller. Dracula and Slogra are both great bosses,
and easily some of the best bosses found in the franchise thus far. I do appreciate how there is a nice progression
in difficulty from the beginning to the end. Although part of me feels many of the early
encounters don’t provide much engagement or satisfaction. Perhaps I shouldn’t expect bosses to be
a test of skill to conclude the level. It is clear the designers didn’t. Maybe it is more of a spectacle. Something large and flashy, like fireworks,
to reward the player for getting through the levels challenges. From this perspective, the bosses all serve
their purpose just fine. Moving along is the iconic soundtrack. Theme of Simon is a strong opening track. Like the classic tracks before it, it feels
like a Castlevania track, and like the graphics, it also very much takes advantage of the new
hardware. The sample-based hardware of the Super Nintendo
allow for more distinct instrument sounds with less guessing or interpretation on my
part. The track relies on the organ, I hope, to
set the haunting mood. Different horned instruments are featured
prominently, giving an orchestral feel to the piece, helping it feel grand and epic. It is an awesome way to begin the adventure,
feeling slightly hopeful yet somber, it is memorable, but isn’t a jingle. It is gothic, yet heroic. After this, the soundtrack gets… weird. I don’t want to say bad, but there is something
simplistic in many of the compositions. When I listen to them, I don’t feel energy
or emotion. They are not atmospheric either, and I can’t
place them in the game when I listen to them as stand alone tracks. Are they period pieces? Is it lounge music? Jazz? I don’t know. Instrument selection and melodies seem to
change arbitrarily and I have difficulty comprehending what the composers are trying to convey. Not all tracks leave me scratching my head
though. Boss music is fantastic. The beats are rapid and capture the mood of
a frantic boss encounter. It almost sounds like a college fight song,
and I can envision a marching band using the track to amp up a crowd in a stadium. The depth and maturity often demonstrated
in the NES trilogy is again alive and well, and I absolutely love it. However, Entrance Hall once again leaves me
baffled. Maybe it is just me, but it reminds of being
at a baseball or hockey game. Surely I can’t be the only one… Which is the exact opposite of Chandeliers. Despite a similar instrument set, I now feel
like I am in a classic monster movie, rather than a sporting event. I feel dread and danger, which is a much better
representation of what Dracula’s castle is all about. And as these Chandeliers are mysteriously
moving on their own, this is the type of music that will draw me into the game world. I’m not trying to be a scrooge here, and
Casltevania IV does have a few standout tracks, and great renditions of Bloody Tears, Vampire
Killer, and Beginning, but as a whole I don’t find the soundtrack to be as moving, deep,
atmospheric, technical, or well, pleasing, as the games preceding it. A fine effort for sure, but I feel like some
of the experimentation isn’t as impactful as it could have. Graphically, Castlevania IV is alright. The art direction can be a mixed bag for me. The bright primary colors are often at odds
with the detailed sprites, failing to look realistic or artistic, lacking a central artistic
theme and often lacking in contrast. While there are awesome touches of detail,
like this painting reaching out its arm to stop Simon, or this skeleton impaled on these
spikes, many of the areas left me underwhelmed. The exception would be stage 8. The background is grungy and dirty, and the
shading on the bricks give them an almost wet appearance, like the dungeon is damp and
musty. The foreground also pops against the background,
giving my eyes something to focus on, rather than everything sort of blending together. This better mirrors the earlier titles, where
platforms popped against the background, always communicating clearly to the player what is
going on. Again, I don’t want to be too negative here,
Castlevania IV is a fine looking game. Nothing is hideous or offensive, but I don’t
find it to be a looker either. The slowdown certainly doesn’t do the game
any favors either. What is the point of an epic run across collapsing
platforms, if the game grinds to a halt. It kind of ruins the impact. Despite the confusing soundtrack and bland
visuals, I did find myself drawn to Casltevania IV. Despite replaying the game multiple times
in a short period of time, fatigue never set in and I never dreaded pressing start at the
title screen. What Castlevania lacks in presentation, it
more than makes up for with tight gameplay. The 8-way whip action is as good as advertised. Enemies are often placed at different levels,
forcing the player to attack enemies in all new ways. While Castlevania III tried to evolve the
jump and whip gameplay with all new characters to a varying decrease of success, Castlevania
IV evolves the jump and whip formula in a much more balanced and consistent manner. With each playthrough, my personal success
was based on me getting better at the game, recognizing patterns quicker, and learning
more efficient ways to defeat bosses. My success was no longer dependent on the
path or side-character chosen, and instead based on… me, making for a much more engaging
adventure. While some may prefer more variety catering
to different skill levels, I find the developers were better able to craft a tighter and more
focused gameplay experience by stripping the game back to just the mechanics of a single
character. The gameplay isn’t always perfect though,
with enemy placement occasionally not matching platform placement, surprise enemies attacking
from off screen, the stair grabbing occasionally not working to my expectations, and spikes
instantly killing the player. Thankfully, these moments are ultimately,
few and far between. What kept me coming back was the progression
of the experience. While Castlevania IV starts a bit slow, the
back half of the game is terrific. I was challenged to learn patterns, execute
tough jumps, find shortcuts through levels, and demonstrate proficiency with the jumping
and whip to tackle difficult boss fights. I loved finding stage 4-4 was actually much
shorter than I originally though. After realizing it looped vertically, I discovered
I could skip the vertical section when timing the platforms correctly. At first I wondered why this one arch was
lacking a chandelier, and then discovered it was the developers communicating there
was something special about this one, leading to a secret room underneath. This platform in 9-2 initially seems like
a trap, with a casket enemy not blocking any candles. But if one wanders up there, they’ll discover
a second secret treasure room, offering a way to recover health and hearts on a tricky
level. The teaching moments in the game are excellent,
from flipping platforms to hanging from the whip, and the item placement in the beginning
stages. These moments ease players into the action. Castlevania IV is tough, but rarely feels
cheap or unfair. It doesn’t feel relentless, but rather slowly
builds to its epic conclusion. The action starts slow and breezy, before
becoming intense. Maybe Castlevania IV is a regression in difficulty,
or maybe it is a better designed game, one that retains a high degree of challenge, but
with less cheap moments, greatly reducing frustration and increasing engagement. Overall, I find Castlevania IV is an excellent
evolution of the Castlevania formula. The jumping tweaks are minor, but a welcome
change. The 8-way whipping places less of a reliance
on the sub weapons, and keeps the action moving forward and the pacing quick. I never had to suicide if I had the wrong
weapon, nor did I need to start a level over to obtain the correct one. I felt confident the vampire killer was enough
to overcome any challenge. Health drops from candles and automatically
walking up or down stairs further smooth out the gameplay. One can even walk forward while crouching,
again keep the player moving forward towards the conclusion. Platform placement is thoughtful, requiring
precision, but never pixel perfect precision, again keeping the game moving forward and
the pacing brisk. While I wish the presentation was better,
with more artistic flair and less gimmicks, and I really wish I could hear in the soundtrack
what everyone else seems to hear, I still ended up enjoying Casltevania IV. What it lacks in presentation, it more than
makes up for with tight gameplay, engaging enemies, and levels designed around Simon’s
limitations. Combined with the perfect difficulty progression,
and it makes for an immensely engaging experience that will satisfy most. Ultimately, Castlevania IV is most definitely…
super.

 

75 Responses

  1. george liolios

    December 6, 2019 10:19 pm

    Super Castlevania 4 great graphics and music overall, great controls, but very easy for my taste. The only hard spot that I have some issues is at stage 8-2 (9:11 in video). It is very easy and a simple game and i don't like it

    Reply
  2. Obscure Media

    December 6, 2019 10:24 pm

    Wouldnt call the graphics bland or ugly they were going for a very specific look: old school dark fantasy horror magazine comics, western RPG, DND etc and it nails that look. The NES games tried but couldnt totally do it with the hardware so on SNES I find 4 to be the idea of vision that the series originally wanted to show.

    Then regarding the music they tried a more ambient and emotional OST, one I find trying to convey Simon's emotions given his respective situations. Like the jazzy stage 3 track is weird but Simon is traveling through ancient Greek ruins hidden away deep underground, something that would feel strange and opening. The Waterfall music beforehand I find to be like the depressing thoughts of his dangerous quest only just starting after the adrenaline of the first few stages wears off. Stage 4's 2nd theme dizzying and relentless like the obstacles faced there. This is how I've always seen it anyway: more thematic for the protagonist's struggles and it always immersed me into the hero's adventure more than other CV games have. It's different from most of the series and I think it's beautiful (Bloodlines, 64, SOTN, Aria and 3 also tried this but not quite as effectively). The unique presentation is why it's my favorite in the series along with 3.

    Will say it's nice to see the first positive review of CV4 in ages. After egoraptor's video a lot of people fell into groupthink and just call the game bad now (same thing happened to Sonic and DKC in recent years, popular games to hate on)

    Reply
  3. Will Mistretta

    December 6, 2019 10:54 pm

    I play through this one every year or so and each time it feels longer, and not in a positive way. They really could have cut large portions of the trip to the castle without losing anything of value. Levels two and three in particular are pretty dang dull. It's still enjoyable, but wow did it need the video gaming equivalent of an editor.

    When it comes to the eight-way whipping debate: Konami never did re-visit the concept. That's pretty strong ammunition for the naysayer camp, I think. A noble experiment, but a failed one.

    Reply
  4. Futaba Sonikun

    December 6, 2019 10:55 pm

    Great review

    I actually first played through CV4 this year and honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of it but this video has made me appreciate it a bit more

    Reply
  5. Marcus Cicero

    December 6, 2019 10:56 pm

    I always enjoy your reviews! They are the most detailed & thoughtful – even though I've seen youtube reviews on this game before, I forgot that you could use the whip as a shield

    Reply
  6. StaySkeptic

    December 6, 2019 11:08 pm

    I love this game's atmosphere but I found the first act so boring to play I stopped

    (Note I am a fan of the series)

    Reply
  7. blarg!

    December 6, 2019 11:12 pm

    Everybody i know says this is the best old-school castlevania. I don't like it because it's SOOOOOO EASY. There's no challenge at all. I can beat it without taking any damage

    Reply
  8. Frénk

    December 6, 2019 11:25 pm

    Something I like about Super Castlevania 4 is that the sub weapons are activated using their own dedicated button, it just makes much more sense to me than holding up and wipping.
    I find that the typical complaints about the whip being overpowered are exaggerated (especially since wiggling the whip does less damage than swinging it), but not without merit, as in many vertical sections I found myself hitting enemies from underneath the platforms they appeared on. Other than that I found the levels and enemies complement the whip for the most part, though I did feel ad though having less restrictive controls and attacks made the levels feel a little less deliberate, at least compared to RoB. But still, it is a great game imo.

    Also I see you used the invisible stairs to get 99 hearts and a triple cross on Dracula lol

    Reply
  9. James Edward

    December 6, 2019 11:37 pm

    Bro, how do you only have 27k subs? Your videos are so good. You should be up to at least 100k+ by now. Youtube confuses me sometimes.

    Reply
  10. John Miller

    December 7, 2019 12:05 am

    Watching again after reupload because it’s an excellent video. I’m excited to see where you go from here since the series diverges in so many directions.

    Reply
  11. eithereor x

    December 7, 2019 12:16 am

    Implant, there's another remake of the original Castlevania, originally developed for the japanese only X68000 computer and re-released to the Playstation in 2001 as Castlevania Chronicles. It would be great to hear your thoughts on it!

    Reply
  12. Jonathan Martin

    December 7, 2019 12:20 am

    I agree with most everything you said, except about the music. This is one of those soundtracks I have gone back to for years. I think it really captures the creepy and haunting feeling while also having the action game flair. I can literally listen to this soundtrack whenever and enjoy it. I honestly don't know what sporting events you go to, but I think if I heard Entrance Hall at a sporting event everyone around me would be WTFing all over the place. I think the best part about the soundtrack is that there is variety, it's not just all rock organ music. It has some complete changes like Submerged City and Forest of Monsters. It has more atmospheric type titles, that are really more like soundscapes, like the Cave or Dracula Battle. It's got some great use of organ, which we expect, but also drums, which are totally unexpected. As far as I'm concerned this is one of the best soundtracks on the system.

    Reply
  13. Sean Freeman

    December 7, 2019 1:01 am

    Great review!
    Edit: I agree that the soundtrack is a bit of a mixed bag, but when I first got to Dracula's final form and that synth starts up, I got goosebumps. It's also a reprise of the music that plays in the intro of a new game, when the story is relayed to the player. It feels like the adventure goes full circle in that moment.

    Reply
  14. lh9591

    December 7, 2019 2:01 am

    How are you going to go about reviewing the rest of the series? Chronologicaly internationally, or from a different nation of origin?

    Castlevania X did not sate the US appetite, especially at the time. Now it’s looked backed as ok, and a mediocre entry in the series.

    Having played the actual Rondo of Blood, it’s embarrassing what X turned out to be.

    Reply
  15. SlyBeast

    December 7, 2019 3:32 am

    Don't know how far you intend to go with this series but I hope you cover the lesser known/loved Castlevania titles such as Vampire Killer for MSX2 and Legends on Game Boy. Interested in your take on those 2 in particular.

    Reply
  16. mr79843

    December 7, 2019 3:59 am

    I agree with the music being not as good for the most part. All my friends loved this game more than the NES ones, when I was a kid, but I always thought the NES ones were better and I still love the NES Castlevania games the most. All of them are good, of course, but the NES ones are the best.

    Reply
  17. Christopher Brickwedde

    December 7, 2019 4:17 am

    A very well thought out review…I don't entirely agree with it though.

    1. Sub weapons are not undermined by the new whip as much as you think. Like the CV's before it, there was a few weapons that lacked any real utility and one that was OP. In this game the triple cross can greatly improve forward movement in levels and can straight up trash all but a handful of bosses in seconds. I would suggest, if you've not done so, look up a recent speedrun for CV4. You'll see very quickly what I'm talking about and you'll find that most of this is very easy to execute with a tiny bit of practice.

    2. While the sound track is a bit more spread out, I do think the tracks actually do a good job of providing theme to the levels. The treasure rooms track has a sense of adventure. The theme in stage 3 – 1 sounds like a desolate cave, while 3 – B sounds like a depressing slog up a waterfall. I think the music works well with the level design overall.

    3. My only major complain with this game is how under powered Dracula is in this game. I feel like a second form would have added to the game. As it stands Dracula is one of the bosses that can be easily destroyed with a good cross strategy. I've found that I can normally finish Dracula in 6 cycles or less.

    At any rate, I enjoyed watching this and can't wait for the next video.

    Reply
  18. boonanaman

    December 7, 2019 5:47 am

    Wasn't able to watch it before it was re-uploaded so I Don't know what was fixed but great video also is this the last Castlevania video or is there more classic games

    Reply
  19. Lucas Gamer PY

    December 7, 2019 5:50 am

    OH BOY Super Castlevania IV i like this game enough i think i've been spoiled by Rondo of Blood and Bloodlines (two of my favorites in the Classic series) and…by level B that level almost drove me insane my first time through but yeah it feels like a finale when the game doesn't decide to troll you with the stairs…..yeah i fell thanks to the stairs don't wanting me to advance. 5:13 Now i hate you more Kris first on Twitter now here what's wrong with you man XD nah jk. Level 8 what a nightmare that was and still is for me. I gotta say the game's soundtrack is atmospheric and yeah some tracks don't fit but others yeah they rock specially Simon and the elite trio theme god that theme is just delicious. You're the first person i know that likes Slogra (and the first one that didn't get cheap shot by his wonky hitbox) Gaibon yeah he's a joke and Death is easier than Slogra but yeah he puts a fight. Now that i've seen this video i have to try the whip as a Shield cause i've never thought that i can cheese the mini fireballs. And when you said cheap unfair and relentless hah i remembered Dracula X and stages 5 and 6…..kill me please. Well as always a great review and yeah this game is Super like the channel man 😉

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  20. Jared

    December 7, 2019 6:38 am

    I'm on the late train as usual, but fantastic video Kris! Loving this Castlevania marathon, by the way. Always exciting to see what you're cooking up for us. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Omega Tyrant

    December 7, 2019 12:33 pm

    I do disagree with the assessment of the omnidirectional whip and its effect on the game. The whip in Castlevania 1 and 3, while not optimal, was still a very solid weapon on its own that you could use to handle nearly everything in the game if you were good enough; I can beat 1 and NES 3 whip only without issue, with the only serious roadblocks being Death in both games, the Doppelganger in the third with bad luck, and Dracula's final form in the third. Additionally subweapon placements were generous in 1/3, upon dying you will almost always have something nearby and never be forced to take on a boss whip only, and will often have an ideal subweapon available before bosses too; suicides before reaching a checkpoint because you got the wrong subweapon will never be forced.

    The main problem though isn't that an omnidirectional whip is incompatible with Castlevania gameplay, but rather Castlevania 4 was designed with 1's and 3's design philosophies balanced around the old whip, rather than being designed around the new improved whip. Besides the subweapons not being improved or changed to give them more apparent purpose in conjunction with the new whip, the enemies weren't improved either. You touched on this somewhat with how most of the bosses can be beaten by just mashing the whip at them with no real effort to dodge their attacks (though I think you give too much credit to the Knight and Frankenstein's Monster, they too can be easily beaten by just whip mashing, and it's really only the Zapf Bat and final four that require real effort), but the enemies too are substantially nerfed in their threat compared to the original games, as their simplistic patterns/attacks were designed around the more limited gameplay of 1/3 and were retained pretty much exactly in 4; Axe Armors still slowly back away while throwing one slow boomerang axe low or high, Bone Pillars still periodically shoot a sequence of three small fireballs purely horizontally, Skeletons slowly walk around periodically throwing one arching bone or simply swinging a melee weapon your whip hugely outclasses, and so on. Some of them were even weakened, like the Axe Armors and Bone Pillars taking half the hits to kill, and have reduced damage output overall. Then since you can whip in any direction, enemies can't really make up for the shortcomings with tricky positioning, as you can just whip them from wherever while they often can't retaliate. Combine this with the much more plentiful health powerups, and you should almost never die from combat outside of against the final four bosses, difficult parts in 4 pretty much only come from tricky platforming with bottomless pits and instant death spikes.

    The omnidirectional whip really isn't taken advantage of for other gameplay aspects either, you got the underutilized whip swinging and that's about it. Now the omnidirectional whip is fun in its own way and I would have certainly liked to have seen another Classicvania with the omnidirectional whip, but this time actually with the game, enemies, and bosses actively designed around the whip's advanced capabilities. Shame Konami never gave that sort of game a shot before moving the series on to only Metroidvanias and the 3D titles. Overall I see 4 as a substantially less engaging game than 1 and 3 because of this, it doesn't help that a lot of the levels and songs are so dull too, so I've replayed 4 a lot less often than I play 1 and 3.

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  22. Daddy Gonna Punish

    December 7, 2019 2:52 pm

    I like your reviews but you are definitely a product of your generation. Almost everyone I know loved the whole of this game.

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  23. Fizzonator

    December 7, 2019 3:35 pm

    We'll have to agree to disagree about the music. I can't follow where you're coming from talking about sporting events and things like that. Perhaps hearing it for the first time in 1992 after only having an NES previously makes it more memorable for me, but it remains a favorite until this day.

    Everything else is spot on. I do think this game benefits more than most from being played on a CRT, as far as the backgrounds and foregrounds running together, but the color choices are whacky in some levels regardless. This is my favorite Castlevania game and your video is great, keep up the good work.

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  24. Dom Moore

    December 7, 2019 3:52 pm

    it was actually never intended as a remake/retelling of anything – it is a sequel. IGA basically pulled the idea of it being a remake out of his ass (just like when he said the 64 games were never canon despite those two games being the first main series titles since scv4). An unfinished jp novel is a sequel to scv4 and features Simon as a dhampir as he is described to be in the guide for scv4. That said the novel retcons Belmont history hard so you could argue scv4 is a reboot/semi-sequel, it is not however and has never been a remake. Interviews across internet from dev team support that this is a sequel, only intended to be 'back to basics' in the same way that say Halloween 4 is to the 1978 film. Later post-IGA sprouting rubbish interviews describe scv4 as a semi-sequel or in one case a 'half remake'. This is all just a case of rewriting history which plagues the classic CV games.

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  25. Blue Dragon

    December 7, 2019 7:44 pm

    The reason this game is the best is because Simon can flail his whip, and it can be the funniest thing to see.

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  26. Pondering Ghost

    December 8, 2019 1:56 am

    You had to been there going from NES, TG16, to the SNES and hearing that sound and music on a nice stereo set up back in 1992 to really appreciate it. Magazines proclaimed it near CD quality at the time. As for the soundtrack, there's definitely a Brad Fiedel vibe to it.

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  27. jedialpha777

    December 8, 2019 9:00 am

    I've watched a lot of ur vids, and by far, this is my favorite! You did such a AWESOME job. Castlevania is one of my favorite things ever, and you handled it with the utmost respect. Keep up the great work.!
    🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟👍🏻👍🏻

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  28. jedialpha777

    December 8, 2019 9:05 am

    Also, I love the notion of lenient boss battles being fireworks. I've felt that way with a few games but never could articulate it. I don't mind an easy boss from time to time. Especially if the levels are SUPER hard.

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  29. AzureSymbiote

    December 8, 2019 2:02 pm

    Hmmm… I never considered the critique of the music and the art but you've given me something to chew on. Good work.

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  30. Nicholas Rumleskie

    December 8, 2019 2:10 pm

    I enjoy how you always look at certain challenges in video games with certain spectacles. A good example is how you view bosses as end challenges of levels

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  31. DuoStuff

    December 9, 2019 4:34 am

    I'll admit it took me a bit to get to these Castlevania videos, and that's mostly because I was waiting for this one. Really excited to hear your thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed this game myself, so I'm looking forward to this.

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  32. Jose Caraballo

    December 9, 2019 2:37 pm

    Are you gonna do the Game Boy games from this era? Would have loved to see them stuck in there in release order

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  33. sixstringpsycho

    December 9, 2019 5:06 pm

    12:49 I’m pretty sure this guy was in the Castlevania Netflix adaptation. He had a cool fight with Trevor. Same beak and spear, even!

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  34. derek221122

    December 9, 2019 10:54 pm

    excellent review but i do dsagree on some parts. the graphics are fine. not everything has to be dark and brooding. i love how the game looks aside from slowdown issues. i also like the difficulty. a little easy at first but it does get challenging later on, but not to the point of being damn near impossible like how a lot of castlevania 3 felt. i also love the soundtrack. i enjoy the entire thing. with the entrance hall well, it gives off that grand ballroom kinda vibe so i think the music kinda fits with that. controls? controls are good. and being able to whip in every direction and the flailing does make it easier but i enjoy it. with a boomerang cross with the triple shot, i can obliterate medusa in less than 10 seconds if i time it right. i love everything about this game and it will forever be my favorite game of all-time.

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  35. NES ADDICT

    December 10, 2019 3:41 pm

    At first I didn’t like the music either, but after a couple plays I got it. I personally think this sound track is an all time classic and I love it.

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  36. Dick An.

    December 10, 2019 8:33 pm

    You played this game very differently from how I play it, which I can appreciate. Though I don't have the same patience for what I think is lackluster enemy patterns or the… bad… boss designs (mostly), it's nice to see a different way for approaching the game and the context to approach

    Reply

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