579th played so far
Year of Release: 1997
Most of the Metroidvanias we have played so far have been Metroid, rather than Castlevania. We have previously played Super Castlevania IV, the first on the list chronologically, which was a good 2D platformer in an open area.
This is the next one on the list, although, looking at Wikipedia, several games came in between. And of course in the series chronology, it comes somewhere in the middle. Still, it’s a series I’ve been wanting to play more of. Here we go.
One of the things I didn’t realise is that in 1997, tutorials weren’t quite as common, and I didn’t check a manual beforehand. So it took a while before I figured out save games and weapon use. That initially made my life more difficult, I had to figure it out as I went along. Not always that well – considering that I struggled with the intro fight, that was meant to be the recreation of the final fight of the previous game.
Then you re-enter the (reconfigured) mansion, fighting enemies along the way (plenty with trickier ways of attacking, not just a straight up ‘kill them’) and rather quickly gathering power. There’s an experience mechanism involved, so you level up to become stronger which led to some early grinding.
That was because the first boss already was tricky for me to defeat (guide writers disagreed, but I’m not a great platform gamer – as we knew already). I needed the extra health to survive some more attacks. Then there was figuring out the strategy – who to attack first, and how to get them stun locked, something that felt a tad cheaty, but was needed.
Then, of course, I failed to find a place to heal, and got a game over running around like a headless chicken trying to find one… It got me a lot deeper in, but the game really relies on you backtracking and finding different places to go. It’s a lot of fun, I just panicked unnecessarily. There was so much more mansion than I could fit in my head – I’ll need to get a map up in the future.
I think this game was a bit too difficult for me, in large part because I’m not used to the genre and struggled with my reflexes and recognising enemy behaviours. At the same time, interactions that appear in the rooms were interesting from the start and I would love to explore when I get more abilities. I’m sure future games will be just as appealing.