Sunday 14 July 2019

Castlevania Collection ★★★★☆

Castlevania is celebrating its thirty-third anniversary this year, and as part of the Konami fiftieth anniversary rollout, we have been blessed with the Castlevania Anniversary collection on PS4 and Switch. Made up of eight games of varying quality, Castlevania Anniversary is a must-have for nostalgic fans and a great introduction for people like me that have intended to play one of the games for the past thirty-three years and got distracted by puberty and Sonic 2.

I love Metroidvania games and have been playing through the Metroid games as a historical exercise lately, the early games of which are hard as balls! Castlevania started off as an absolute masterpiece that is incredibly challenging but not as Nintendo Hard as Metroid. This makes the Castlevania collection stand up as a perfectly playable game in modern era Earth.

Most of the games in the collection are an absolute must play, especially Kid Dracula which until this collection had never been released in the west. The Gameboy games have none of the charm of the 8-bit and 16-bit equivalents and aren't worth playing at all. You'd be better off smashing away at your DualShock 4 with the tv off. 

The original, Simon's Quest and Super Castlevania are masterpieces, each of which makes other really hard games that come to mind that I am sick of comparing things to, look like Pokémon go. The formula was so well developed back in the 80s that it has inspired countless video games since, and though the highlight for Castlevania was the PS1 game Symphony of The Night (which is irritatingly absent), there's a lot to be got from this collection.

Kid Dracula, as the name implies is a much more child-friendly game, and while not easy, is much more straightforward and joyful, and betrays its Japanese roots much more with the animation. For the low low price of whatever it costs, you can expect to get your money's worth in a few hours, and with multiple characters in the 16-bit era, you'll not be left wanting. The only reason you'll want to play the Gameboy games is to get the trophy for Castlevania collection (playing all games once). 

I can't believe I took so long to get into these nonlinear platformers, but the only thing shy of having played them as they were released is to play them in this collection. With save states and a marvellous collection of tv filters for your preferred level of immersion, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a must-have. 

David Roberts

Castlevania at CeX

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