Today is Hardcore Abuse Day

I would like to declare today HARDCORE ABUSE DAY in honor of the fact that my copies of Oretachi Game Center versions of Contra and Haunted Castle have arrived. Haunted Castle is a pretty big deal as it’s the only Castlevania game that I’ve never actually played, besides the obvious (specifically Castlevania Resurrection or the port of Symphony of the Night… since they don’t exist). I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate Haunted Castle, because it has a reputation for being cheaply designed and generally unenjoyable. But hey, it’s Castlevania.

Contra will probably turn out to be the better experience, since it’s the arcade game. Also, it’s Contra. I’d be happier if it were the second arcade Contra, which I played the crap out of back in the day, but any excuse to command color-coordinated warriors in their battle against deadly alien joggers is fine by me.

Apparently each chapter of the Oretachi series comes with a mini-DVD of superplays, so maybe I can watch some insane Japanese robo-gamer blaze his way through Haunted Castle rather than suffering through it myself. I hear the game was packed with unavoidable hits, so the superplay demos should prove conclusively whether that was really the case.

Edit: “Superplay” my butt. Apparently Hamster (the charmingly-named publisher of the Oretachi titles) is a little fuzzy on this whole “awesome gameplay video” thing. Neither Haunted Castle nor Contra feature full-game superplays, and despite being billed as “no miss” playthroughs — which, to my knowledge, normally means “flawless” — they’re pretty crappy performances. The Haunted Castle guy takes tons of damage, barely squeaking past the third boss, and the Contra guy is out of lives by the time the video ends (halfway through the game). I know it’s ridiculous, but I feel sort of cheated — I could see better performances for free, online. Help me,, you’re my only hope.

Edit 2: Well, now that I’ve played Haunted Castle I can definitively say that I really, really hate it. On the other hand, the music’s really good — apparently this was the original source of some of the series’ best themes, including Hearts of Fire and (I think) Iron Blue Intention. Handily, this version comes with its own little mini-CD of music so I don’t have to suffer through the game to enjoy the tunes. They thought of everything! (Except a way to make the game fun.)

41 thoughts on “Today is Hardcore Abuse Day

  1. I love the idea of superplays, but wish they’d bring some of them over here. Sure it’s okay to watch the YouTube version, but damnit, I don’t like watching video’s of amazing gameplay on my monitor.

  2. I actully rather enjoyed Haunted Castle. It’s hard, but whatever.

    At least the music was good, and it did feature the first apperence of “Bloody Tears”.

  3. Oh, man, I totally neglected to pre-order Haunted Castle. It’s a matter of completion for me, too; along with the N64 games, it’s the only Castlevania installment I haven’t beaten. I better get on this before Play-Asia runs out of stock and it becomes an eBay exclusive at twice the original price.

  4. Re: Michael
    The first appearance of Bloody Tears was in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, which was released in Japan a good half-year before Haunted Castle. HC’s musical triumph is better identified as Cross Your Heart, the song that plays in the first level and, despite being absolutely rockin, has never resurfaced in a subsequent game.

  5. Oh, I remember Cross your Heart, it’s in the Rondo of Blood soundtrack, although sadly not in the game itself.

  6. Well, count that as a -1 towards my hardcore score. Oretachi sure is a peculiar name, btw.

    Any non-mod methods for playing PS2 imports? I have a slimline model.

  7. Non-mod methods: I bought a Japanese PS2. Not very sensible, probably, but a lot less hassle than dealing with mod chips.

  8. Preferably not involving any extra hardware units. Ok, I’ll be more specific, since there seems to not be any other option: any import bypass discs that don’t require mods?

  9. I missed something. Namely, what the hell “Superplays” and “Oretachis” are.

    From context, it sounds like some sort of commercial speedruns, but not very good.

    And Haunted Castle… that’s the arcade Castlevania, isn’t it?

    LBD “Nytetrayn”

  10. The key to enjoying Haunted Castle is to turn the difficulty and damage options to their easiest settings. It also helps to not die ever, since the game takes away your weapon upgrades when you continue, and it’s actually impossible to finish some stages with just the whip. Oh also, try not to let the game “forget” to give you those weapons upgrades when it’s supposed to, since it tends to do that sometimes.

    Fun game though! Also it sounds like I could totally do a better “superplay” than the Oretachi guy, which is kind of sad really.

  11. “Well, count that as a -1 towards my hardcore score. Oretachi sure is a peculiar name, btw.

    Any non-mod methods for playing PS2 imports? I have a slimline model”

    Yes: With the swap discs and a minor addition to the PS2 slim casing (which is removeable, doesn’t require opening of the console, and doesn’t void warranty), you can play imports with ease. It’s actually easier to play imports on the slim than the original PS2, which at the very least required a casing modification and the swap disc(s).

  12. In responce to all “Oretachi sure is a peculiar name” business:

    Actually, “oretachi” is just one of the many ways in Japanese to indicate the word “we.” Specifically, it’s a masculine and pretty casual form used by pretty much anyone male. So, in this case “Oretachi Game Center” just means “Our Game Center.” Pretty simple and boring, actually.

  13. Castlevania in general is pretty lame. How can a generic and silly idea for an 80’s home computer era platformer can become an epic series of adventure action games that is treated by people as if it was great story telling is beyond me. Good gameplay, maybe a few times. But it was never original. And Dracula, people, Dracula lives and dies in Bram Stoker’s novel. Can’t Konami come up with their own evil bad guys? For all the money they are making selling kitschy pulp in kitschy videogames they should stop using generic demons and come up with their own demonlogy or something. Non Bram Stoker’s Dracula has always been lame. At least Josh Whedon came up with his own vampires with their own stories, taking archetypes to make them his own. And people talking about canon in Castlevania, Jesus, I almost shit my pants when someone said there was a Castlevania canon. A canon for a lame Dracula non canon series of generic videogames. Pffffft. As if Castlevania was little more than just another generic story using classic monsters as the main bad guys. Castlevania’s “canon” story bullshit is little less than Teen Wolf (at least Tenn Wolf knew it was a generic 80’s movie product).
    And Simon Belmont = Paul Belmondo, just a name for a sprite in an 80’s substandard plataformer taken from a french actor.

  14. Castlevania is SUPPOSED to be a conglomoration of “monster” movies in a fun game. At least nobody’s ever tried mining Castlevania to create something original. *cough*Hellsingmovie*cough*

  15. I’m glad to hear you hate Haunted Castle–now I don’t feel so bad for not ever playing it. I’d like to play it some time just to see it, but I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything now.

    Speaking of “Castle” games, did you ever get into the Dark Castle games? Man, I used to rock those on my dad’s Mac growing up. Silicon Beach Software was my favorite company! Enchanted Sceptor, Apache Strike… those guys were awesome developers. I couldn’t get over how great the sound was in those games. And for some reason, they rocked hardest in black and white. I saw a color version of Dark Castle on a friend’s PC (yuck!) and just didn’t like how it looked.

  16. Heart of Fire originated on the NES Castlevania soundtrack. The version in Aria of Sorrow is actually an amalgamation of Heart of Fire and Don’t Wait Until Night, a song from Haunted Castle, which is probably what you’re referring to.
    Iron Blue Intention is from Castlevania Bloodlines. I’m not sure which Haunted Castle tune you may have it confused for.

  17. “can become an epic series of adventure action games that is treated by people as if it was great story telling is beyond me”
    Except it isn’t, and what the hell ever gave you the idea that anyone thinks that? Even Mario tries to make things make sense in the context of its insane world. Castlevania just tacks arbitrary dates on to each game.
    “Good gameplay, maybe a few times.”

  18. Yes, Dracula lives and dies in Bram Stoker’s novel, but he gets killed by some hillbilly with a knife… NOT with a steak in his heart, so theoretically he’s still alive! Because there are like rules or something to killing Dracula. So Konami can keep making unoriginal Dracula games FOREVER!!!!!

  19. Dracula in Castlevania is Bram Strokers Dracula. That was established in Bloodlines since the hero in that was the son of that hillbilly who stabbed Dracy.

  20. Correction: Stabbed in the heart and turned to dust in the non Konami canon of serious literature.

  21. Why are these things being argued over? Castlevania’s a game. It doesn’t take itself very seriously. Just play it and enjoy it, because that’s all the creators want you to do. Though, on the subject of using original vampires over Dracula, imho, it’s much more respectful to just use the count and leave respectful vampire design at the door, than to go through the most often humiliating process of fleshing out a “new” vampire. Most CV characters have the same personality anyways, so it’s just a name.

  22. Debating the overarching plotline (or some might argue lackthereof) of Mega Man is more senseible.

    That said, the idea of Castlevania games having a timeline is at least more sensible then Nintendo trying to shoehorn all the Zelda games into some sort of ongoing timeline.

  23. Dracula hasn’t been the main villain in a long time, though. He’s definitely played a part, but in most of the post-SotN games he’s just a part of the background story, not *the* mean villain. However, Iga’s misguided attempts to make original vampires and giving depth to the story were in some mediocre games. However, it’s a game, so what. Judge Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness not by their plot inconsistences and lack of logic, but by the weakness of their gameplay.

  24. “Correction: Stabbed in the heart and turned to dust in the non Konami canon of serious literature.”

    what does that matter? he can be resurrected in various ways.

  25. Yes, Dracula can be resurrected. Called back by humans who wish to pay him tribute. Take for example the NES Castlevania, you’re resurrecting Dracula every time you turn on the NES to play the game. The only true way to completely defeat him would be to break the cartridge. But Dracula is tricky, see. There are a whole bunch of Castlvania carts floating out there with numerous sequels. Its like a Dracula diaspora. Its too late to defeat him. Game over, man! Game over!

  26. I loved the first 2 Castlevania games for the NES and the emulated Rondo of Blood in a pirated copy of Magic Engine. In my opinion Igarashi or whatever he is called should stop worrying if Castlevania 64 belongs or not to a canon and people should stop carying if Super Castlevania IV is or isn’t a remake of the first Castlevania. All I know is I like to look at awesome monster drawings and I hate the GBA Castlevanias and the new PS2 ones because they take the story way way too seriously when Castlevania wasn’t about the story it was about awesome hand drawn monster sprites and kickass mode 7 like effects. Mode 7 is a nice word to say kickass 2D visuals man! I think Angel and Spike should star in the next Castlevania game because I know Spike could kick Soma’s ass and reduce Alucard’s face to a pulp because he looks like Billy Idol and Billy Idol is awesome.

  27. What is a comments board? Nothing but a miserable little pile of opinions! But enough talk. Have at you!

  28. Rad be that last comment.
    That said, I’m very curious as to what the esteemed Mr. Parrish thought of Cave Story.

  29. That is the most awesome fact about the Buffyverse EVER! Will Billy Idol and Spike ever join forces to battle evil in a Castlevania game? student and teacher fighting side by side? We can only hope… and keep praying.

  30. Snatcher is definitely the best Konami game ever. Anyways, to the point!
    If the one naysayer from earlier had beaten Castlevania, he would know not to point to Bram Stoker (who totally ripped off the historical Vlad the Impaler), but instead to the legendary b-movie actors of years gone by. The credits give us Bela Lugosi, the greatest Dracula actor (as Death instead of dracula?), Boris Karloffice (Boris Karloff, probably) as Frankenstein, Christopher Bee (Lee, obvously)… And just like those classics, the monsters always seem to come back. So don’t blame the Castlevania guys, blame hollywood.

  31. Oh, and I second a nice post on what your thoughts on Cave Story was. On account of its totally awesomeness.

  32. Not to mention the film strip side style borders on the title screens for the first few games in the series.

  33. all i know is that when i first saw the intro to SotN, i was like, how the fuck is this the best castlevania ever? it’s so damned retarded! and then i played it, and it was.

  34. Wait until you see “Castlevania: Rebel Yell”. That one’s gonna be amazing.

  35. and by ‘it was’, i mean it was awesome.

    incidentally, i typo:d this place today as both taosty and tasty.

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