Synopsis: Count Dracula has risen from the grave. Evil has overtaken the land. One man is all that stands between the iconic vampire and the world falling into darkness for all eternity.
What??? Are you surprised? You honestly think that I was going to solely stick to horror movies with this year’s marathon? For the last four or five years now I’ve been searching closets and attics in my house like a madman for Super Castlevania IV but as the days turned into months and then slowly turned into years my quest started to become a lost cause. Growing up I was raised with the values that you cherish what you had so it was impossible to think that I’d possibly given away my cherished copy to a local Goodwill. I was able to locate Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World plus countless others from my collection. This was the reaffirmation I needed to not give up hope and continue on with my search. A couple weeks back I received a text from my youngest nephew he had taken a picture of his TV screen as he was playing Mario Kart 64 telling me he had been out in his garage earlier in the day and found a couple retro gaming consoles and a whole bunch of games. I immediately wrote him back and asked if he had by chance come across Super Castlevania IV waiting with baited breath for his response. Within a couple minutes he wrote back ‘I’m sorry, I looked but its not here.’ Bummed out but not entirely defeated I told him if he ever came across it to send it my way. Out of the blue he stopped by for a visit yesterday and almost immediately greeted me with one of the most magnificent sights that a 34 year old nostalgic gamer could ask for – the Super Castlevania IV cartridge in pristine condition exactly the way I had left it.
This revelation might come as a complete shock to many but here goes – I knew the legend of Simon Belmont way before I knew who Dracula even was. How could that be? Well its not because I lived a sheltered lifestyle as a kid nope far from it, it just the standard innocence of youth whether it was getting together with neighborhood friends and exploring the woods around my childhood home or riding bikes from sunrise to sunset. My full immersion in videos began around the same time as when the 16 bit consoles were waging war with one another. Mario vs Sonic. Genesis vs. Super Nintendo. The battle lines were drawn as for my loyalties Santa Claus gave me the SNES and Super Castlevania IV for Christmas 1991 and my life was changed forever. I didn’t know it at the time but this would be my introduction to Gothic horror. The general concept hiding in every action based video game is good vs. evil even with all the skeletons, Medusa heads, zombies, giant spiders etc. I was actually more focused on the amount of detail put into the graphics and the incredible story which greatly fueled my imagination to the point where when I finally beat the game I had begun to explore the mythology behind it. Getting reacquainted with Super Castlevania IV especially during this time of the year had to be a sign. To my surprise I remembered exactly where every hidden item and power up was proving that the impact of a great piece of entertainment no matter what form it is in will remain forever eternal like Dracula himself.
Final Grade: N/A – Sorry I can’t do it there’s no grade level that could properly represent such an influential masterpiece. If you don’t own a copy drop what you’re doing immediately and start a quest to find it. Feel the surge of adrenaline rush through your whole body making your way through every level as the difficulty becomes aggressively more frustrating. Have fate in your skills with a whip they’ll always be with you you’re Simon Belmont after all and its vamp slaying season.