Arcade Archives Haunted Citadel Evaluate (Swap eShop)

Arcade Archives Haunted Citadel Evaluate (Swap eShop)

Captured on Nintendo Swap (Docked)

Again within the early ’90s, Castlevania was principally recognized for being a console collection, with three entries on the NES, three on the Recreation Boy, and 4 whole throughout the 16-bit platforms (assuming, in fact, you think about the PC Engine to be a real 16-bit system). However early within the collection’ life, Konami launched an arcade recreation, often called Haunted Citadel, which wasn’t a port of another outing however slightly an unique title. It was a flop and didn’t see a lot distribution, being kind of a “misplaced” Castlevania till the arrival of emulation within the late Nineties. However Konami has been eager to maintain it in circulation just lately, together with it as each a part of the Arcade Classics Anniversary Assortment in 2019, and as a separate launch in a part of Hamster’s Arcade Archives collection.

The story in a lot of the different Castlevania video games usually revolved round Simon Belmont (and mates, if relevant) searching down and beating up Rely Dracula, as a result of it was the nice and correct factor for vampire killers to do. In Haunted Citadel, Simon will get a bit of additional motivation together with his spouse being kidnapped by the nefarious vampire actually seconds after strolling out of the marriage chapel. The goofy method by which the basic Wedding ceremony March tune turns bitter because the clouds go ominous and Simon’s woman buddy is swiped away, leaving him inhis iwhite tuxedo trying mildly irritated, helps set the off-kilter tone of this extremely irritating entry.

Arcade Archives Haunted Castle Review - Screenshot 2 of 5

Captured on Nintendo Swap (Handheld/Undocked)

The fundamentals of a Castlevania recreation are in place – you journey via six levels throughout the land, finally ending up in Dracula’s citadel, whipping skeletons, zombies, bats, and different assorted creatures, most impressed by basic Hollywood horror movies. However lots of it simply feels incorrect. Take for instance, Simon’s design. As a muscular, leather-clad barbarian-type, he truly appears fairly near how he’s offered on the quilt of the unique NES recreation (and the title display of this one), however it appears awfully unusual in comparison with any of his console counterparts, particularly his awkward strolling animation. Motion is sluggish and attacking feels flimsy. This has rippling results via the remainder of the journey, notably since Simon’s sprite is so massive, making it exceedingly tough to kill the tiny bat enemies that stay a relentless nuisance all through the entire recreation.

In contrast to a lot of the different Castlevania video games, there aren’t any candles to whip, so weapon upgrades, subweapons, and hearts are dropped by particular enemies. However essential weapon improve drops are unusual, and should you miss any of them, you’ll be caught with the default whip for fairly some time. Nonetheless, it is not like several of the weapons are notably robust, as a result of most enemies take a number of hits to kill. Castlevania followers will in all probability be conversant in the leaping hunchback enemies, they usually make an look right here, however in addition they take at the very least two whacks to get rid of and it’s almost not possible to clear them out with out taking harm, particularly since they typically assault three at a time. You’ll discover your vitality draining very shortly in Haunted Citadel.

Arcade Archives Haunted Castle Review - Screenshot 3 of 5

Captured on Nintendo Swap (Docked)

There’s kind of a cheat round this; whilst you solely have a single life, you’ll be able to insert a number of credit to increase your life bar a couple of instances, plus there are checkpoints partway via every stage for if you perish. The unique arcade recreation restricted the variety of instances you possibly can proceed, although this model helps you to proceed as many instances as you need. You shouldn’t really feel unhealthy for cheesing it, as a result of there aren’t any precise well being restoratives, and it’s actually the one possible strategy to see this one via to the tip.

Ex-Konami staffer Masaaki Kukino has revealed just lately that the title was accomplished in simply six months and there wasn’t time to stability it correctly, and it reveals. Arcade video games are sometimes designed to suck in cash however Haunted Citadel is particularly egregious in the way in which it hurls hazard after hazard on the participant, giving them little or no probability to reply. Even should you memorise enemy and lure placement, the awkward controls typically conspire to kill you. Merely put, it is not a lot enjoyable on a pure gameplay degree.

And regardless of how frustratingly designed and poorly balanced it’s, Haunted Citadel is definitely price at the very least one playthrough for Castlevania followers. Visually, it’s inconsistent, as famous with the awkward Simon sprite and another strange-looking enemies, however the background design is mostly nicely performed. It predates the entire 16-bit console entries, and has a really totally different appear and feel. And among the degree designs are fairly cool, at the very least in idea.

Arcade Archives Haunted Castle Review - Screenshot 4 of 5

Captured on Nintendo Swap (Docked)

The primary stage begins at nightfall and shortly transitions to nighttime. It begins to rain, as a wall involves life and flings itself at you brick by brick. Then a torch is knocked over and units the bottom ablaze, forcing you to leap over its flames, earlier than coming into a mausoleum and preventing in opposition to Medusa. The second stage begins in a foggy forest earlier than strolling all the way down to a subterranean canal, the place the river water is offered with an odd color biking impact. After reaching the opposite facet, you emerge to a mountainside underneath a blood purple sky. The subsequent stage, the standard citadel entrance hallway space, has a weird part the place you’re warped away to what seems to be Grecian ruins the place you struggle off harpies, solely to be warped proper again after they’ve been killed.

These are the highlights of the sport, and the remainder of the levels are a bit of blander. But it surely’s nonetheless cool to see because it has many basic Castlevania tropes however earlier than they have been absolutely shaped – in any case, that is technically the fourth launch within the collection, printed in 1988 after the MSX2 recreation and the primary two NES video games. For instance, whereas the whip has been tied to the collection’ identification for a very long time, on this recreation, Simon can truly wield a sword. It doesn’t operate any in a different way, however it positive is a novelty.

There are subweapons like firebombs and a boomerang that doesn’t truly return if you throw it, but additionally a cross that fires out a collection of extraordinarily highly effective beams. A number of the concepts that have been utilized in later Castlevania video games pop up right here – like a huge rock monster, haunted eating tables, and a knight made out shattered stained glass window shards. The soundtrack, too, is improbable. It was composed by Kenichi Matsubara, who additionally labored on Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and different basic NES Konami video games, and even contains the collection’ trademark “Bloody Tears” tune. The synth high quality is stellar for a late Nineteen Eighties arcade recreation and almost each observe is improbable, plus a few of them have popped up in later video games.

Arcade Archives Haunted Castle Review - Screenshot 5 of 5

Captured on Nintendo Swap (Handheld/Undocked)

However what units this standalone Arcade Archives launch other than the Arcade Classics Anniversary Assortment? Properly, not a lot. Each variations have been ported by Hamster, so the emulation is principally an identical. Each variations allow you to tweak the issue settings a bit, too. That launch contained the American and Japanese variations – the American model is considerably tougher, with enemies inflicting rather more harm. The Arcade Archives launch contains these two in addition to the European model, which is nearly the identical because the Japanese model however with an English title display. The Arcade Archives model additionally has extra show modes, permitting you to customise the scanlines and such, and tweak issues like enabling or disabling continues.

There may be additionally the same old Hello Rating and Caravan modes present in different Arcade Archives releases, permitting you to put up your rating on-line. As a result of these choices, it’s very barely higher than its Anniversary Assortment counterpart… however that model contains beforehand unseen supplemental paintings, plus seven entire different video games, making this one a far weaker worth general.


https://www.nintendolife.com/evaluations/switch-eshop/arcade_archives_haunted_castle