The Anatomy of Super Castlevania IV | I | The bloodletting

The Anatomy of 16-Bit Castlevania: Phase One | Super Castlevania IV Dracula is dead! Long live… Dracula!? It’s true: You can’t keep a good villain down. Or a good franchise. Especially when that franchise’s thin excuse for a plot revolves entirely around a specific villain. 1991’s Super Castlevania IV saw Konami extending its popular NES trilogy […]

What a horrible night

It looks like Simon’s Quest will be arriving today on both the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Consoles. If you’re interested in giving it a go this time around, may I recommend you arm yourself with some analysis and perspective courtesy of the Anatomy of a Game series? It’s a confusing, opaque game for sure, […]

Nobody loves Grant Danasty

Looks like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate: Superfluous Colons reviews have gone live across the Internet. A quick survey of scores shows surprisingly positive results. I won’t be reading any of them just yet — I’m finishing the game and posting a review to 1UP as a sort of send-off. After all, I got […]

Anatomy of a Game: Castlevania Trilogy Afterthoughts

The NES Castlevania remains a high point in my entirely too lengthy history of gaming, and I know many others feel that way. With luck, this series has provided some small amount of clarity on the qualities that have made this trio of titles so enduring. On a macro scale, the NES Castlevania titles feature […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 9-01 to 9-04

After having worked your way up through the castle entrance and the adjacent dungeon, you reach the second of three blocks of Castlevania only to find yourself… outside? With a forest in the background? Block 9 of Dracula’s Curse is a strange one in terms of aesthetics. Although the level design corresponds neatly to the […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 8-01 to 8-03

Regardless of which route you selected to take through the core of Castlevania III, all roads eventually converge at the beginning of Block 8: Castlevania itself. And the scenery should look very familiar indeed.      Yes, it’s Stage 1 of the original game, reproduced in wonderfully faithful form — all the way down to the […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 7-01 to 7-07

Here we are at last, at the end of Alucard’s route — and, by tragic happenstance, the worst stage in the game. Block 7 on the “main” route has the unfortunate distinction of being a genuinely poor piece of game design, entirely reliant on tedious waiting, extended pattern memorization, and flawless traversal of gimmicky stage […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 6-01 to 6-05 ~ Ruins Route

If you elected to take the lower route after recruiting (or not) Alucard, you’ll skip entirely over Block 5-07 and the castle foundations, instead traveling a roundabout course that takes you through a series of partially submerged Roman-era ruins at the outskirts of the castle. The idea of crumbling ruins outside of and predating Dracula’s […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 6-01 to 6-02 ~ Castle Route

Beyond the upgraded Skeleton Knight on the upper spur of the catacombs route, Trevor and pal enter Castlevania proper: The lowest foundations of the castle, a cavernous space over a subterranean lake. Since this is the path that sends you through the greatest amount of castle territory possible, we can consider this the “prime” route […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: The Gang’s All Here

Now that we’ve collected the whole Pokémon assortment of companion characters in Dracula’s Curse, we can take a moment to look at them — compare strengths, weaknesses, flaws, that sort of thing. Some of have more or one or the other than the rest.        Trevor Belmont: Not surprisingly, Trevor is ultimately the best and best-rounded […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 5-07

Let’s assume Alucard (or Grant) and Trevor take the upper road after completing Block 5-06. Where does it lead? Turns out your destination is Block 5-07. That’s twice now that Block 5 on the main route probably should have ended, but didn’t. This is why I’ve referred to this route as the longest in the […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 5-01 to 5-06

The fifth block of Castlevania III‘s “true” route is one of the most unusual stages in the game. It does several very interesting (and sometimes very surprising) things as it sends you deep beneath the lake through a series of crumbling catacombs that ultimately lead to the castle’s lowest foundations. It’s possibly the longest stage […]