Castlevania: The Adventure

Castlevania: The Adventure
Castlevania Adventure Box Art.jpg
Castlevania: The Adventure, right?

The slow paced adventure with clunky controls, unforgiving level design and no subweapons.

Genre(s): Platformer
Platform(s): Game Boy
Release: October 27th, 1989 (Japan)
December 6th, 1989 (United States)
August 8th, 1991 (Europe)
Developer(s): Konami
Publisher(s): Konami
Series: Castlevania
Successor: Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge


Castlevania: The Adventure is a 1989 Game Boy game that was developed and published by Konami. It was programmed by Masato Maegawa, who would go on to become the founder of Treasure, the creator of games like Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Alien Soldier, Mischief Makers, Silhouette Mirage, Radiant Silvergun, Bangai-O, Sin and Punishment and Ikaruga.

Bad Qualities

  1. Christopher Belmont moves very slowly and because of this the game is very slow paced compared to other Castlevania games where you have to react fast. It also makes Christopher an easy target for the enemies, especially Bats and Punaguchis.
  2. It's pretty short, even for Gameboy games standards, having only four levels in the entire game.
  3. You lose one step of your whip's power whenever you get hit — and like most Castlevania games, there are only two steps above the base whip, meaning that two hits in quick succession is all it takes to potentially find yourself stuck with the game's weakest weapon when facing a bunch of enemies with tricky attack patterns. Bare in mind, your whip only degraded when you died in the other games.
  4. The jumping controls while not terrible, are stiff because Christopher feels heavy when you jump and since this game has a much bigger emphasis on precise platforming you have to jump almost perfectly in segments like in the third level. Speaking of which...
  5. The third level is a nightmare. You have to destroy 3 coils to prevent spikes from descending on you, deal with an ascending spike floor, and wall of spikes chasing you from the right. All whilst making pixel-perfect jumps and dealing with enemies like She Worms and Madmans.
  6. The sub-weapons (a franchise staple) do not exist in this game. Konami's short sighted reasoning for this was due the Game Boy's hardware limitations. This is mitigated to some extent by the fact that your whip's most powerful step now gives you a projectile attack. Unfortunately, not only is this cancelled out by the fact that you lose said attack with just one hit (BQ #3), but it's useless for situations where something like the Holy Water or Stopwatch would be more helpful.
  7. Some of the new enemies like the She Worms feel somewhat out of place since they don't fit the classic monster movie rogue gallery the series is known for.

Good Qualities

  1. The soundtrack is quite good and catchy especially the Battle of the Holy.
  2. You have infinite continues, making the game more forgiving.
  3. The graphics are nicely detailed for an early Game Boy game (the 13th) with good backgrounds.
    • The ending cutscene where Dracula's castle crumbles and Simon is watching, looks pretty neat. There is even a part where it shows Dracula (transformed into a bat) escaping the castle ruins.
  4. While not hard, the bosses are pretty fun, often requiring the player to learn their paths to attack them.
    • The final battle with Dracula is decent and has two forms. In the first form, he shoots projectiles in two different ways and teleports on different platforms, requiring the player to move carefully. As for the second form (while generic) he transforms into a giant bat and flies to the left and right all the way up to the ceiling. He also spawns 3 normal bats from time to time, increasing the difficulty.
  5. Some of the game concepts are interesting.
    • In level 2 if you shoot the rolling eyeballs on a bridge they explode and a part of the bridge is destroyed.
    • If you max out your whip it becomes a Firewhip which allows you to shoot a fireball when you attack with the whip.
    • In level 2 and 4 there are multiple paths to choose from, making the game less linear.
    • Some of the new enemies are pretty cool such as Punaguchis, She Worms (despite feeling out of place) and bats now fly around the screen instead of a linear pattern.

Reception

Castlevania: The Adventure received mixed reviews. The game was regarded difficult at times, with long levels and only three lives before playing the second cycle. The graphics were thought to be "competent", the music well-composed with memorable tunes. IGN said it had a basic design, none of the series' staple bosses, and nothing original. Game Informer's Tim Turi felt that it was held back by its technical limitations but praised its sound quality.

Trivia

  1. In its original US release, Christopher Belmont was never named in US material, which suggested it was Christopher's ancestor, Simon's third journey. It was re-released in 1991 to correct that.
  2. Hearts actually heal Christopher Belmont in this game, which in normal Castlevania games, it is used as a power source for the hero's sub-items.
  3. On the cover "The" is before the word "Castlevania" meaning that it would be called "The Castlevania Adventure" but it's called "Castlevania: The Adventure".
  4. This was the first game that Masato Maegawa worked on, he would later go on to form Treasure after he left Konami as a result of Konami rejecting his original ideas in favor of existing franchises.
  • Around the start of development of Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, a meeting was held to discuss on how to improve on the flaws of this game.[1]


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