Super Castlevania IV (VC) Review

Considered by many to be the crown jewel of the classic Castlevania franchise, and remaining one of the most popular titles to be released on the SNES, Super Castlevania IV is an excellent choice for the Wii’s Virtual Console, and though it battles with a few obvious shortcomings, it is ultimately a worthy recipient of your hard-earned Wii points.

Simon Belmont picks up the whip once more, on a mission to destroy everyone’s favorite Lord of the Vampires: Dracula. What lies between the two are 10 (-ish) stages of typical Castlevania fare. Ominous, moody backdrops with dark, foreboding music set the scene for some serious undead-killing. There is a moderate variety of enemies, from skeletons to knights to floating disembodied medusa heads, which all explode fantastically (for 1991) when destroyed. Unfortunately, no upgrade has been made in the interim between releases, and the game is still plagued by slowdown during these eruptions of flesh and bones.

One upgrade that will be apparent to those familiar with the series is Simon’s improved tool of destruction. In the NES editions, whipping was done horizontally and vertically — Super Castlevania IV added the diagonals, as well as some trapeze-esque swinging and a nunchaku/lasso-style manipulation. The latter turns out to really only be useful for revealing the game’s many pickups, but it looks cool none-the-less.

Looking cool was clearly one of Konami’s focuses back when SCIV was released, because generally, the visuals impress. Although I question the choice of palette sometimes, the game is riddled with Mode 7 effects such as rotating rooms, swinging chandeliers and a size-shifting rock golem boss. Add to this some good fire and water effects, fogging and skulls that watch as you pass by, and you have quite an interesting graphical composition. Some of the stages even have Mr. Belmont moving between the foreground and background en route to his nemesis.

Simon’s three action commands fit easily on either the Gamecube or Wii Classic controller, and are fully customizable. Whipping, jumping and using secondary weapons all feel fine on the Virtual Console. Something about slaughtering rows of enemies with a boomerang cross still makes my fingers tingle. There is one very bothersome aspect of the platforming action, however: why can’t our hero jump while ascending and descending steps? This small disability leaves Simon smooching with one too many of the oh-so-(still)-annoying bats along the way.

Super Castlevania IV has its problems, no doubt, but still remains a viable solution for old-school action cravings. There’s a reason it was so popular at the time of its initial release, and why it’s still hanging in there, 15 years later.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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