Missed Classics: Vampire’s Bane

I never owned any of the classic Castlevania games from the 8 and 16-bit era.  The first one in the series I owned was Symphony of the Night and it’s probably why it’s my favorite to this day.  Castlevania was always a game that my cousin owned, along with Mike Tyson’s Punchout and Skate or Die.  In my mind as a child these were games that my cousin owned and that I would never own.  I played Mario and Mega Man games,  not Castlevania games and thus I never owned one.  I can’t rationalize this train of thought because I played the original Castlevania at his house and liked it, I just knew I would never have it.  Which I think contributes to the quasi-mystical effect the old Konami grey-striped boxes have on me today.

The only semi-Castlevania game I owned pre-Symphony was a Tiger Electronics version of Simon’s Quest on a wrist watch and it was terrible.  I wanted that thing so bad though,  I think it had a lot to do with how cool I think “Simon’s Quest” is as a name.  It just has a nice sound to it, those two words go well together

It was exactly like this one, they even have it advertised on the same page

So back to the game this post is about, Super Castlevania IV.  I first played Super Castlevania IV shortly after discovering emulation in my early teens.  It was an exciting time full of danger and exploration.  The biggest first impression the game left on me was how much I loved that first level song.  All the music was great in this game and really captured the mood and atmosphere you would expect from a game about hunting and killing Dracula. I can also remember thinking this was not the best game to be playing with a keyboard, as my gamepad from the PC didn’t work at the time.  I logged it deep within the recesses of my brain as a game to come back to and I continually did to check emulators on new computers I would get as hand-me-downs from my parents (along with Yoshi’s Island and Chrono Trigger).  I never got to far in the game back then, probably not past the second stage.

Now flash forward 10 years and I try to operate on a more legitimate level now and avoid the seedy piracy sites scoured across the internet.  Super Castlevania IV was the 1st game I purchased on the Wii’s Virtual Console and I still go back and try to beat it now 3 years later.  I can get to the rotating room stage and that’s where my skills crap out, but man what a great game.  The feeling of precise control that was lost on me with the NES games (and a keyboard) makes it so I never get too frustrated when I die repeatedly.  One thing I haven’t grown out of since my childhood is my love for gloom and doom settings, and this game (along with Demon’s Crest) has my favorite of that type of atmosphere out of all the SNES games I’ve played.

I have made it my current mission to beat the game in the near future.  My Wii is currently at my girlfriend’s apartment so I don’t have the access to do that whenever I wish, but it will get done.  After that perhaps I’ll get Rondo of Blood and see what all the hub bub about that game is.  The 9 dollars it is on Virtual Console is way more appealing than the 100+ that it’s going for on ebay.

Hopefully this will be a post can be continued further, kinda like a blog mini-series.  With the advent of downloadable old games and the 2 pawn shops that recently opened up in my area that carry old games, I’ve found many that I love and never played or heard of as a child.

Until next time kids!

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