Quick Review : Contra III – The Alien Wars (SNES)

If I had played this game straight through without dying, the total game time would have been well under an hour. As it was, I spent merely 3/4s of an hour replaying a particular section until I beat it. As with Castlevania, the appeal is in the challenge, not the longevity. And I was positively hurling my SNES Classic controller in frustration from Level 2 to Level 6 (yes, it only has 6 levels!). Continue reading

Quick Review : Resident Evil VII (XBox One)

Now this is how you reinvigorate a franchise! Resi 4 veered the franchise into the action genre; VII takes it back to its roots…with a twist. The first person perspective really, really drags you deep into the horror…and as a horror game should be, Resi VII is, for the most part, terrifying. Continue reading

Quick Review : Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Switch)

You wait over fifteen years for a sequel, then within five years you have two shiny new sequels to that thing you love. That decade gave you plenty of time to replay that game and pick out exactly what made you fall in love with it. The first sequel didn’t capture the magic of the first…and unfortunately, the second sequel, Luigi’s Manion 3, doesn’t quite capture it either. Continue reading

Quick Review : Luigi’s Mansion 2 (3DS)

This is a sequel I’ve been waiting almost 15 years for! Luigi’s Mansion 2 offers not just one, but five mansions to explore. Sounds good, no? The problem is that you are rarely allowed to explore them freely. In the original, you did return to E.Gadd after completing a particular area, but in this sequel each mansion is split into missions. They break down each mansion so you don’t feel as if you can explore. You are constrained. Continue reading

Quick Review : Luigi’s Mansion (GameCube)

Sometimes, you can’t beat the original, can you? This was the first game I bought for the first console I ever bought with my own money, and that’s a memory that will never leave me. Luigi proved you don’t need a Mario game to introduce a Nintendo console. His brother can do it on his own! Continue reading

Quick Review : Castlevania – Symphony of the Night (PlayStation)

My Castlevania journey continues with Symphony of the Night! I bought it on the Xbox Arcade, and I bloody loved it. It takes more than a little inspiration from Super Metroid (one of my all-time favourite video games) and adds RPG mechanics and an array of weapons, shields and armour. As with Super Metroid, it’s a fantastic mix of atmosphere, music and gameplay that makes backtracking thrilling.

castlevania symphony of the night legion
Out of the many memorable bosses, Legion was perhaps my favourite, especially in terms of visuals.

Without ‘levels,’ there’s a desire to keep on exploring. When do you stop? After you’ve acquired an item? After you’ve beaten a boss? Symphony of the Night is almost impossible to put down. It’s a classic fully deserving of the term “classic,” served by a soundtrack that keeps on giving. Yes, the “secret castle” may be a letdown, but you’ll never forget you first playthrough of Symphony of the Night

Hammy’s Rating: 5/5

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Ritual of the Night

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Curse of the Moon

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania (NES)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania III : Dracula’s Curse (NES)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania : Aria of Sorrow

Quick Review : Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse (NES)

THIS is how you do a sequel. Expand the number of levels and playable characters, and give the player a branching path. Oh, you also make it INCREDIBLY difficult. I though the original was tough, but this…this is infuriatingly difficult at times. If I thought that battle with Dracula was tough in the original, than I had no idea what was coming up with III’s version of Dracula. It took me hours to defeat him!

castlevania 3 dracula
Considered giving up so many times during the final boss battle…and may have thrown my controller a few times as well!

Just like the original, the challenge is sometimes unfair, but never so unfair that it made me give up (although I did consider it at times…). There are moments where enemies appear from nowhere, knocking you to oblivion. It’s as tough as nails, but there’s always the possibility to surmount it. The longevity/repeatability is appreciated, as next time I pick it up I’ll take a different path (and experiment with other characters). It’s surely the finest “pure” Castlevania out there (I consider SotN and its ilk to be impure Castlevanias…)…but dare I play Castlevania II?

Hammy’s Rating: 5/5

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Ritual of the Night

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Curse of the Moon

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania (NES)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania – Symphony of the Night (Playstation)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania : Aria of Sorrow

Quick Review : Castlevania (NES)

Sometimes, you’ve got to go back to the beginning. Thanks to the NES Classic, I did…and what a game to start the franchise! The gothic atmosphere fills the player with dread and uncertainty. You’re sucked in almost immediately…and the insurmountable challenge keeps calling you back. Yes, it’s unfair at times. Yes, the rigid controls constrain your ability to dodge and kill enemies. But there is always a small chance that you can succeed…

castlevania dracula
If you think this Dracula is difficult to kill, wait until the Dracula of Castlevania III …

Unfortunately, there are only 6 levels, worth half an hour of gameplay if you played it from start to finish without dying (an impossible challenge?). It’s a damn shame that the game is so short. From playing its remake to playing the original, you can see the potential in those 6 levels. But that potential isn’t realized until Castlevania III…

Hammy’s Rating: 4/5

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Ritual of the Night (XBox One)

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Curse of the Moon (Switch)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania – Symphony of the Night (Playstation)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania : Aria of Sorrow (GBA)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse (NES)

Quick Review : Castlevania – Aria Of Sorrow (Game Boy Advance)

As soon as I finished SotN I wanted to play it through again. I wanted to explore, to find things I hadn’t in my first playthrough. Aria of Sorrow is SotN’s rightful successor, capturing its essence without being a mere replica. For one, the storyline is more complicated and compelling. Although the visuals can’t hold a candle the SotN (thanks to the GBA’s limitations), they are still vibrant, colourful and oozing with style. Exploring the caslte here is just as involving, if not more so, than SotN. While the map is smaller, it seems the developers packed a whole lot more into it.

aria of sorrow underground reservoir
When are we going to get re-releases of all the GBA Castlevania titles>

 

Combat is improved as well, thanks to the ‘Soul Set,’ a system where you capture the souls of defeated enemies. These souls give you attacks, abilities and more, enabling greater flexibility in combat.

Is this better than SotN? Another playthrough of both is necessary to decide that. But Aria of Sorrow is a much more compact package…

Hammy’s Rating: 5/5

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Ritual of the Night

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Curse of the Moon

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania (NES)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse (NES)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania – Symphony of the Night (Playstation)

Quick Review : Bloodstained : Ritual of the Night (XBox One)

Like Curse of the Moon, Ritual of the Night is basically a modern sequel/retelling of a Castlevania game; this time, it’s the classic Symphony of the Night. Instead of Alucard, you play a Miriam, and Dracula isn’t your main enemy. But you still explore a castle in a game that doesn’t stray far from the Metroidvania gameplay of Symphony of the Night. Like I said before, the familiar can be comforting. Here, the familiar is cushioned by optional quests, a ‘shard’ combat system,and a craft/food mechanic that provides some distraction from exploring. The exploration itself is still as addictive as it was in Symphony of the Night, even though the line between inspiration and imitation is blurred here. The castle layout is too similar to that of Symphony of the Night, with a few interesting differences here and there. Oh, and the castle isn’t simply reversed to get the “good” ending; a whole new area is opened up!

ritual of the night gameplay
Why does every female video game protagonist have to show a bit of leg?

If I were more attached to Symphony of the Night, the comparisons between the two games would soon fail to raise a smile, but instead twist my mouth into a grimace instead. Ritual of the Night adds little new to the Metroidvania sub-genre, but it’s still an addictive, thrilling ride regardless. But Hollow Knight still reigns supreme as the modern Metroidvania to beat…

Hammy’s Rating: 4/5

Click here for my Quick Review of Bloodstained : Curse of the Moon

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania : Aria Of Sorrow (Game Boy Advance)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania (NES)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse (NES)

Click here for my Quick Review of Castlevania – Symphony of the Night (Playstation)