Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 6-0A to 6-0D

The alternate route’s sixth Block stands out as one of the most memorable stages in a game crammed with them, because of a neat throwaway gimmick. Sure, it basically boils down to a case of stunt programming, but damn if it didn’t impress back in 1990 — and it’s one of the reasons I became […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 5-0A to 5-0C

Every game eventually reaches a point at which it stops teaches and expects you to function on your own steam: To take the lessons you’ve learned and apply them, or fail. Even games like Final Fantasy XIII and modern Zeldas do this, although in those cases it may not come until the very end. Castlevania […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 4-0A to 4-0E

Dracula’s Curse splits midway through Block 3, giving you two completely different paths through the game. We’ll be following the path we saw a portion of yesterday to its conclusion before exploring the alternate route. This puts us in Sypha territory, which (based on the stage numeration) represents the alternate path to the castle. I […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 3-00 to 3-04

Ambitious as Block 1 of Castlevania III was, Block 3 might actually top it. At the very least, it demonstrates the fact that the designers didn’t tip their hands at the very start. You know how you play a lot of games these days with a crazy, amazing, introductory set piece… and then the rest […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 2-01 to 2-06

The second block of Dracula’s Curse introduces a few new elements to theCastlevania franchise. For starters, it’s a wholly optional stage; at the end of Block 1, you’re given a choice of paths to pursue. The lower path offers a roundabout path along the outskirts of the lake surrounding the castle, while the upper path — which leads […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 1-01 to 1-04

So we have the initial run-up of Block 1-01. In Castlevania, this took place outside the castle, and here we have an initial moment of whip-upgrading in a hazard-free zone… but at the end of this screen a pair of bone-throwing skeletons appear. For comparison, these guys didn’t show up until Block 07 of Castlevania. […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Beginning

Many gamers see Castlevania III as a return to form, which is to say it turns the gears of game design backward to pretend Simon’s Quest never happened. Rather, it plays much more like the original Castlevania: Linear discrete stages, high difficulty level, stages designed as refined obstacle courses rather than meandering open spaces. New […]