This is a Castlevania game. Like every Castlevania game (probably), problems with vampires abound, and this time it’s Richter Belmont’s turn to crack his little whip at legions of the undead. You ever try to actually hurt a person – never mind a skeleton – with a whip? It’s little wonder his family went on to invent cigarettes.
This game makes me want to smoke cigarettes, one of the few things I’ve never smoked. I’ve mentioned before that I’m terrible at games, and this is certainly no exception. Castlevania has always been frustrating for me. I am bad at dodging things. I jump into the flight path of bats without seeing them until it’s too late. Little flying heads knock me into pits while I’m mid-jump. Under my control, the Belmonts would have difficulty climbing their two-dimensional stairs: navigating their own homes would be a chore. “Hey Simon, can you bring me a knife from downstairs?” “No! I keep falling off the landing!” “Never mind! I found a candle up here, but thanks anyway. Oh darn, there’s hearts all over the floor now.”
I was never really a fan of the Castlevania series, but if you are, there’s definitely more of the same here for you to mindlessly enjoy over and over. Castlevania: Dracula X brings to the game table all the elements you’ve come to love in past outings: skeletons who throw bones, tiny annoying things that weave around as they fly, STAIRS, some falling, candles you hit for weapons and hearts, and the twisted architecture of the absolutely mad level designers. There’s probably some tinny simulated laughter if you get far enough into the game. Should you make it to the end of the game, I’m willing to bet you fight TEN DRACULAS. Ever wonder why the bosses in these games don’t just fly away when they start losing? I would fly away. I’m an ultra-powerful immortal and I don’t want to die at the hands of some BDSM dude with a huge chin and a backpack of holding. That was a little pop culture reference to a cartoon for you. I was a child in the 80s and 90s so I have to rely on those to make points.
My attempts at Castlevania: Dracula X led me to play this game in sections: 1) Try to get through the level; 2) Get horribly slaughtered by mis-timed jumps and rotating panels; 3) Figure out the sequence in which I need to dodge enemies and traps and then play in that exact sequence. Repeat a number of times as the irritatingly catchy music gets stuck in my head. Shake my head side to side and yell about the sonic devils infesting my brain.
VERDICT: If you like the Castlevania series, you will enjoy this game. If you don’t like the Castlevania series, you will not. If you’re largely indifferent, this game will not sway your opinion one way or the other. If you’re part of my scavenger hunt, then you need to find this game for a fast 15 points!!!