GSJ10: Theme of Simon

Contributor Jeremy Signor makes an interesting case for Super Castlevania IV: Namely, that it was one of the first games to try to recapture a sense of nostalgia for earlier entries of its series. That may seem, as the kids say, “wack,” since the earliest entry of the series was barely five years old by that point… but it’s a compelling argument. Nostalgia has to start somewhere, after all, and the divide between 8- and 16-bit gaming — the most visible gulf in game design (visual and otherwise) that had yet been seen — made for a pretty good place for developers and gamers alike to pause and contemplate change, evolution, and mortality.

Or maybe it was just a really neat remake. Your call.

6 thoughts on “GSJ10: Theme of Simon

  1. Great read and I agree with Signor in that Super CV4 is my personal favorite CV game as well.

    Also, the music is still so damn good.

    You know, when I was a kid I never realized this was a remake, so when it said “every 100 years Dracula returns” at the start of the game and it was about Simon, I thought they were trying to tell us Simon was over a 100 years old. I hated that fact, which turned out to not even be right.

    Silly kid logic.

  2. I never realized until not long ago that it was a “re-imagining” as well. I remember saying, “That’s not right!”, and then looking it up and… crap. Oh well. At least I didn’t make a fool of myself on the Internet in the process.

    At any rate, Super Castlevania IV is interesting in that, while it retains much of what made Castlevania awesome, it also felt a good deal different because of the multi-directional whip and less methodical jumping controls. It’s like Castlevania without a huge mean streak, one where people might actually see the end.

    In some ways, I would love it if Konami would revisit this particular formula for the series. I love the Metroid-ish ones, and Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth was fun, but I’d love to see one that pulls all the tricks of Super CV4.

  3. I’d like more “remakes” like this. Developers play it too safe.

    Totally the best in the series, by the way. I did like the Dracula X Chronicles quite a bit, but I played it before the original. THAT was a remake.

  4. I didn’t play this game until a few years ago, and I can still say it’s one of the best Castlevania games yet. As a re-imagining of the original, it improves upon all the right things to make a perfectly balanced game.

  5. I could always feel that remake-y vibe from the virtual back to basics approach. I missed Castlevania III when it was new, only to play it years later, and it felt more progressive for the most part with the branching paths and alternate characters, and had a more ideal level of challenge.

    I’m one of the people who feels the multidirectional whip broke the balance of the game. Here’s the thing: none of the existing enemies were tweaked to counter said whip, and few new enemies were designed to counter it as a threat. Combine a zoomed in depth of field, and you have a default weapon that can strike any on-screen threat, in a series that relies on cleverly positioned enemies for challenge. There might be a case to be made for this making the game more fun… if Simon didn’t still move at a geriatric pace. Said pace works in other games because of the more methodical pace of the game where with a limited weapon set along with slow movement, tactical approach is everything. Needless to say, said tactics aren’t half as necessary, and you’re left with a slow, less eventful advance through the game. Now Maria from Rondo of Blood, she was brokenness done right. Her agileness made her broken AND fun.

    Sorry to harsh on the lovefest. I still do think it’s a solid game, and does have some of the best platforming of the series.

  6. It says none of the stages are remotely the same, but I thought several of the later stages (the ones where you enter the castle proper) were based on the original game?

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