VC Weekly 284
Posted 29 Mar 2014 at 11:14 by Sam C Gittins
Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins
Both previously released NES titles, here is another chance to play a couple of classics from a now bygone era. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!
Available for download this week we have...
Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Castlevania, known as 'Demon Castle Dracula' in Japan, is a platformer with some RPG conventions, assuming the role of Simon Belmont you traverse through Dracula's castles six levels. While this game does not play like modern Castlevania titles or any of the entries in the Metroid series, it certainly has it's own set of quirky gameplay traits. There is only one real specific route with very little backtracking at all, it basically involves a lot of running from left to right, killing things with your upgradable whip or sub-weapons, whilse collecting hearts by killing enemies and destroying candelabra; basic though it may be it's still fiendishly fun.
Though fairly involved for it's time, the adventure is pretty standard over twenty-five years on, you can easily finish it without dying providing you have a certain amount of skill, Indeed it offers little challenge and is extremely short - bar a couple of short difficulty spikes - so don't be expecting many epic boss fights like in the upcoming Lords of Shadow games as this is merely a NES title. some of the inspiration is heavily borrowed from classic horror stories as boss fights include: Dr. Frankenstein's monster, the Grim Reaper and Medusa, though this is nothing new because as many will know by now, Kid Icarus does much the same thing albeit in a more 'godly' manner.
A few minor niggles which might bother some include the inability to change direction in mid air plus you can't jump up or down staircases; minor annoyances perhaps but mobility is often an issue within the adventure/platformer sub-genre so it's certainly worth considering. Overall the controls are still reasonably solid making for a decent experience, dispatching enemies with your trusty whip is probably the best thing about the game as it genuinely never gets old, it even gets better as you progress as you witness your weapon getting upgraded to a Morning Star which eventually has improved range extending its usefulness.
Visually it may be fairly basic with sprites that look reasonable but perhaps not the most detailed even by NES standards, though the backgrounds are colourful as they manage to set the scene very nicely indeed. Aurally as you might expect being the first game this is where many of those classic tunes that the series is now famed for originated, so there is plenty to like here especially when you consider that every entry since basically takes direct inspiration
from here and it's of little wonder as the sounds used in this title are truely top-notch.
If you're new to the series then I would have to recommend downloading Super Castlevania IV on the Wii Virtual Console instead especially as it essentially re-tells the events of the original but with some of the more comfortable conventions that you may be more used to. But if you're a long-term fan and just want to play some classic Castlevania on the go then you really can't go too far wrong here, providing you know what you're getting plus the addition of save states and knowing you can play this anywhere, any time should be more than enough to keep you vampire-hunting for a good while.
Verdict : A classic Castlevania that makes up in fun what it lacks in challenge.
Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Developer: Nintendo EAD
A seldom remembered classic of its time which got seemingly overshadowed by the greater releases from the big N around about the same time; created by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, Devil World is an action game of sorts where you control a dragon named Tamagon who must defeat evil by collecting Boa Boa dots and breathing fire in their general direction all inside a strangely familiar maze structure.
It's undeniable that it somewhat resembles the original Pac-Man at least in maze and dot consuming respects but it's not as simple as that, scattered around the mazes are crosses which you must push around to collect the dots and all the while you are doing this the devil is dancing at the top of the screen making life difficult for you.
He can summon many minions which will kill you with one touch but while in possession of a cross you can spit fireballs which will engulf your foes, the only catch is the crosses will only last for a few seconds though they infinitely respawn but so do the enemies. But wait there is more, as while the Devil dances the mazes moves to his advantage; so when he moves left or right the maze will do so also accordingly which adds to the challenge of the title.
When you've collected all pellets you may proceed to the next round in which there are four Books which do not respawn but have the same fireball bestowing properties of crosses, this time though you must slot them into a cube in the centre of the screen thus defeating the Devil and moving onto the bonus round. In this round you must collect books for bonus points and can move across arrows which correspond and counteract the Devils moves, the game then moves on and you are back to the concept of the first level but harder; the more you play the harder the levels get as invincible Mini-Devils and more enemies are introduced.
Overall it's a quality title with decent graphics for it's time and a classic soundtrack, it might not be in the same league as some of Shigsy's other masterpieces but it's every bit as enjoyable and has a lot more depth than the game it appears to have borrowed from. So if you're looking for something thats both original and entertaining from Nintendo's back catalogue of long lost classics then you will certainly find it here; oh and just to clarify, yes the Devil assist trophy in SSBB did originate from this very game.
Verdict : Dancing with the Devil has never been so much fun.
That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!