Try Not To Die: An Overview of ‘Castlevania’ For The NES (1986)


It’s 1986. Ronald Reagan is president and one of the biggest TV shows is ‘Family Ties’. Horror is the biggest it’s ever been and home gaming is on the rise. Let’s take a look at ‘Castlevania’ for the Nintendo Entertainment System!

It’s very common for modern gamers to treat old Nintendo Entertainment System games as dusty old relics of a sillier age.

However, some NES games just don’t feel that way to me. The horror-themes Castlevania is one of those. To me, it’s fresh as a springtime rose. Sure, I could delve into the main character, Simon Belmont, and compare and contrast it to other Castlevania games, but this is a game that can stand on its own, and be played simply and enjoyed without “nerding out” about the backstory much (though that option’s there, if you so desire). Plus…I haven’t played most other Castlevania games anyway.

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Anyway, because it’s a horror-themed game, you deal with many stock horror enemies such as; skeletons, giant bats, ravens (Edgar Allen Poe homage?), flying medusa heads, knights, hunchbacks, and more. And it’s all on a quest to defeat Dracula himself.

The main enemies include Medusa, a pair of mummies, and sure, why not, a Frankenstein monster and his hopping mad Igor companion. Then, if you survive all those, you battle Death himself, who is somehow a lesser villain than Dracula. This should give some insight into just how iconic the character of Dracula is in popular folklore (though it’s ironic how easily slain Dracula often is in movies).

Interestingly enough, I’ve still never met Death, so I haven’t actually experienced Dracula, either. In other words, this game presents a challenge to all who dare enter its domain, especially if you’re a beginner. Still, it’s not a game that I become irate at when I die; It’s just a fun challenge.

Crack that whip! (Castlevania, NES, 1986)

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Now, I’d like to talk about the fun weapons. While they are all pretty useful, unlike some games where many of the weapons are lame, the axe is nice to use against the giant phantom bat in Level One. Or you can use a stop watch (which is one of my favorite weapons in the game). You also get a cool boomerang, some holy water, and a bad-ass whip. The whip is by far my favorite weapon in the game. As Devo so wisely put it: “When a problem comes long, you must whip it.” Yes, whip it good!

Here’s the weird thing: I actually went years without playing this game, and I almost feel guilty for not playing it often enough. I mean, there’s Mr. Belmont sitting in my room waiting to defeat evil for all time, and I’m probably busy posting on Facebook.

In other words, I risk letting Castlevania seem like a dusty old relic. Oh well, Dracula, you can wait for my whip some other time. Just know I’ll be ready for you some day, you blood sucking miscreant fool!

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Check out the Angry Video Game Nerd’s review below, courtesy of Cinemassacre:

Love playing the 1986 classic Castlevania? Maybe let the other castle freaks know what you think in the comment section below.