In the spirit of the upcoming Hart & Usagi Podcast episode we’ll be doing on the Castlevania series, I figured I’d wet your appetites for that audio goodness by letting you know what my favorites of the Castlevania series currently is. A quick honorable mention goes to Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge on the original Game Boy. It’s the best of the three on the GB and has the kick ass music the series is known for. It’s a must play if you’re in anyway interested in the more forgotten gems of the platformer genre.
CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT
A very awesome direction for the series to take at the time in 1997. At the outset, after Death strips Alucard of all of his items and weapons, you feel underpowered. It’s the same feeling I also got at the start of the inverted castle. Otherwise the game feels very easy and Alucard overpowered. Traversing the inverted version of the castle also feels clunky. Overall, though, it’s a fun game and definitely worthy of its position as an all-time classic.
SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV
After the third NES entry, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, it seems Konami felt the need to tone down the difficulty with the fourth game. They also played a lot with the new features of the Super Nintendo, namely Mode 7. Whipping in eight directions and the R button being dedicated to the subweapon makes for a fun time even if a bit easier. That is until you arrive at the first of four bosses at the end of the game. Slogra will end you!
**READ MORE ON SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV: Favorite Game Music
CASTLEVANIA II: SIMON’S QUEST
You could almost consider this game the first of the SotN style. It’s has the free roaming element where you can go anywhere you want at any time as long as you have the required items to do so. The problem, however, is that it isn’t nearly as polished as those later games. It’s also very difficult to know what to do or where to go without some kind of outside help. Once you do know it can be quite enjoyable.
CASTLEVANIA: PORTRAIT OF RUIN
Of the three DS entries I liked the middle release the best. It didn’t have any of the DS gimmickry from Dawn of Sorrow. It simply used the touch screen as a second, additional screen. How novel! The character switching on-the-fly is a fancy way to have two sets of equipment ready at all times. It’s still cool and does lead to some fun ways to fight the tougher bosses. Even the namesake portraits give some variety to the areas you visit.
CASTLEVANIA: ARIA OF SORROW
This is without a doubt my absolute favorite game in the entire Castlevania series. I have no doubt it’ll never be surpassed in my eyes. Anybody who claims to love Symphony of the Night and hasn’t played Aria of Sorrow is really missing out. So get out there and find yourself a copy of this masterpiece of gaming history. You will not regret it!