Ahhh... Castlevania. Games like these are the reason to own an NES. For any of you young kids out there who haven't played the original I suggest you drop the 25 bucks and pick up an old NES control deck for this series alone.
Twenty years later Castlevania is still fun and challenging. Most of the basic elements of the series are represented, the whip, cross, dagger, holy water, and axe, monsters and bosses based on classic gothic or mythological creatures, the evil clock tower with flying medusa heads, and of course the ol' whip-the-candle-to-get-the-hearts thing that's become a hallmark of the series. This first adventure is more of a straight through action game, so there's no free roaming castle or multiple items to collect. But in a sense the lack of RPG elements gives this game a "pure" feeling.
The game doesn't really get hard until the next to last level or so when you die after four hits. The game does tend to be frustratingly annoying with genocidal fury in certain places, bad guys have the tendency to knock you off of moving platforms into water or spikes and kill you, but this was what 8-bit play mechanics were all about. But most seasoned gamers should be able to pass it in a day. And Drac in his demon form is still has hard as ever.
It's good to go back to your roots once in a while. Games like this are why you should own an NES.
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