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Retro Fire

Written: 10.27.08
Acquired: 4.8.06
Status: Cart only
Price: Trade

Pub: KonamiDec. '91
Dev: Konami8 MEGS

In the early days of the Super Nintendo, games like Super Mario World,
F-Zero, ActRaiser, Final Fantasy II and Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts help
set the foundation for what would be one epic library. Such a top list would be incomplete without citing Super Castlevania IV.
Its intensely atmospheric levels, striking music and satisfying gameplay has by and large etched an indeliable mark on all those who have played it

It's FANG-TASTIC!  Er, sorry  [Didn't I fire you 2 weeks ago? -Ed.]

And certainly, I am not the exception to the rule. Though admittedly, it did take me damn near FIFTEEN years to finally play it, but BLT (better late than) never!  And now, with Halloween nearly upon us, what better time to look back at the game that was, is, and forever will be...
TRULY, one of the cornerstones of the SNES library, first-generation or not


Sorry. But hey, did you think you could ever read any Castlevania review without at least one lame pun?  Trust me, it won't be the last. Confession time boys and girls: I never played this game back in the day sans a quick go
or two at a friend's house. Yup. The ghoulish feel definitely did appeal to me, but my tastes back then were quite different
(I enjoyed playing mostly the 'underdog' titles so to speak) and of course, my bro made all the buying decisions pretty much, as well as 90% of the renting choices. He was an RPG buff and 2-player guy, so with this being 1-player, we never bothered to rent it. As I returned to my old SNES roots in January of 2006, this game was right at the top of my list to buy and beat. What a sweet opportunity at gaming redemption it was. Yet for months, I could not find a cart only copy online for $12 dollars shipped -- my predetermined max. I was a fairly stingy buyer; I refused to pay over the average going rate of most games, and always tried waiting patiently to pay slightly below the average if I could help it. Finally, it was on an innocent Saturday afternoon of April 8, 2006, that I discovered a mint cart only copy lying in the games' bin. Even better, I had developed a 'bond' with this particular vendor (dubbed "Mr. Nice") who gave me some excellent trades. I traded my doubles of F-ZERO (re-release), BubsyMaui Mallard in Cold Shadow and $2 dollars for Super Castlevania IV and The Adventures of Kid Kleets. It was the only transaction I made that day but DAMN did it make my day. Driving home on the freeway, windows rolled down, the radio blarring, I couldn't wait to finally right a 15 year wrong. Later that night, I began my journey to slay Dracula and his minions of the night. At long last, I had quelled my 15 year long folly

For more on "Mr. Nice" and my flea market tales, see Flea Market Memoirs


My brother Kevin and I, as children born of the early '80s, grew up on a steadfast diet of good ole hearty 8-bit Nintendo adventures. When our esteemed fun-loving uncle moved in with us in the mid-late '80s, life couldn't have been more swell. My parents rarely bought us Nintendo video games. Rather it was our benevolent Uncle Jimmy who helped us procure much of our 18-game collection, over a 5+ year span of 1986-1991. It's hard to believe it's been over 20 years now, but alas, I once again digress

Castlevania was a game I'd seen in Nintendo Power Magazine, and one we rented. There was something about the cover art that captivated my imagination. Being a fan of monsters and such, Dracula's vile mug immediately intrigued me, and I recall thinking to myself how I wished badly to be that barbaric chap there on the box, armed with my trusty magical whip and broad sword, and thwart the evils of Dracula and his cronies. Our childhood friend Tommy had a HUGE NES collection -- I'm talking around 100! Nowadays y'see, such a collection is none too impressive, but back in '89 it was mind-blowing (with carts going $50 a pop no less!). Lucky rich bastard. Anyway, I vividly remember seeing Castlevania tucked in his collection, and we'd play it here and there. Never got too far, but I enjoyed the atmospheric music and concept very much so. Besides, it had to have one of the coolest-sounding video game names EVER. Freakin' CASTLEVANIA, just like the box art itself, it just SCREAMS LEGENDARY. And as the series grew and evolved, it certainly has proven to become just that -- a juggernaut of a famed franchise -- beloved by countless gamers who are still talking about it and playing its various games to this very day. No doubt KONAMI sure hit
the motherload with this one!

Let us now take a quick look back shall we

                                       1986 for the Japanese version and right, who knew?  [I did -Ed.]

The most different Castlevania game in the NES trilogy

                                         Widely regarded by many as one of the very best NES games

#57 on EGM's Top 100 Games List (Issue #100, November 1997)

With the Super Nintendo lying in the wings, it was only inevitable that gamers would see a souped up 16-bit version. And sure enough, on Halloween 1991, Dracula was once more unleashed. The game would come out stateside a little over a month later. Did it live up to expectations? Only the individual can discern that, but by majority's vote in a democracy, the answer is a RESOUNDING YES.
By the way, did you know that Super Castlevania IV is actually a remake of the original?  It still centers around one, Simon Belmont and the year 1691, just one year prior to the infamous Salem Witch Trials. And now, let us take a walk down memory lane. Let us remember the joys and wonders of this impeccable SNES classic. It's time to relive... remember... replay... RVG-style, baby. My fellow Castlevania freaks, kick your feet up and make yourself comfortable. We usher in Super Castlevania IV with severed, blood dripping arms...


          "COME ON old-
          timer!  Let's go!"

                                                                    "HUR-RY UP!  HUR-RY UP!"


                                                                              *HONK HONK*

"Get in here old man!


"Thank you"

"Anything for a fellow pilgrim. We're all on a quest. Sometimes we need help getting where we want to be"


"Reverend Jackson P. Sayer of Dumont County, pleased to make your acquaintance"

"How far you going, Mr. Sayer?"

"God's country... Promise Land. Where are you heading, Mr. uh?"

                                                                      "... Loomis. Haddonfield"

"Car trouble?"

"... Sort of..."

"... You're hunting it ain't ya?


YEAH you're hunting it all right. JUST LIKE ME"

                                                             "What are you hunting Mr. Sayer?"

"Apocalypse, End of the World, Armageddon. It's always got a face and a name

    I've been hunting the
    bastard for 30 years,
    give or take

                                                                    Come close a time or two


You can't kill Damnation, mister. IT DON'T DIE LIKE A MAN DIES"

                                                                      "I know that Mr. Sayer"

"OH you're a pilgrim all right!  Yeah, I saw it on your face back there in
the dust. I saw it clear as breasts and blue suede shoes"

"You're sharp, Reverend"

"Speaking of which, let
me tell you a story about a fellow pilgrim of ours; one that my great grandfather used to tell me....

... his name was Simon Belmont...

(Click on the following for proper musical accompaniment for the next bit, not a Rick Roll!).


Those fools should have never revived the dark demon!  But they did JUST THAT on
one foul and malicious night.... the night HE CAME HOME!

It doesn't matter where you go, Mr. Loomis. It
can be Dumont County or Haddonfield; evil's all the same -- always got
a face and a name. In Transylvania, a small peaceful country out in medieval Europe, there lies a legend that says once every 100 years, when the power of Christ wanes, the forces of evil revive through the prayers of those with wicked hearts. That corrupted evil manifests itself in the form of the one and only, Count DRACULA

And with each revival,
his dark power grows stronger. His goal is to turn all humanity into creatures of darkness, to be ruled under his iron fist. He has appeared in this world many times, and there are many people who fear that in his next appearance, he may well be unstoppable

There is one group that has always been around to see that Dracula is defeated: the Belmont family. For generations the Belmonts have passed along the secrets and skills of vampire-hunting
to the eldest child of the family. While many of
the Belmonts have lived peaceful lives without encountering the Duke of Darkness, they remain ever vigilant. There are occasional skirmishes with lesser monsters,
but the Belmont clan has always emerged victorious

100 years have passed since the last battle between Dracula and
the Belmonts. Tensions mount as Transylvanians reported mysterious sightings of odd creatures appearing under the cover of darkness. Some folks believed it was an omen while many others were convinced it was nothing more than a mere bout of paranoia. Despite the divided ties, the good citizens remained united and a curfew was invoked for precautionary reasons. Children were encouraged to stay out no later than 5 PM

With the curfew in full effect, weeks passed without incidence. Then, tragedy struck when a farmer slept walked into town at the witching hour. The next morning, shrill screams of horror echoed across the land when only the farmer's entrails were found lying on the cobbled road by the clock tower. But rather than fleeing, the people banded together in this time of great need.
On the night of Easter, a grand carnival was held
in town to celebrate the resurrection of Christ

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of town inside an old abbey, a heathenistic group held a ceremony attempting to revive the Duke of Darkness. As they carried out their ritual, dark thunderclouds descended over the countryside. The sinister group stirred itself into a frenzy of mysterious chanting and pagan dancing when a single thunderbolt struck the abbey. The ground shook violently under their feet as the abbey walls shattered. Once more, the almighty Dracula LIVES!

The time has come for the young successor Simon Belmont to call forth the powers
of good to aid him in his battle. Armed with his mystical whip, his courage and the centuries-old knowledge of Belmont family training, he sets forth on his mission...
the mist clears... but the battle before Simon Belmont is only BUT beginning..."

                                           Remember the haunting howling of the wolves here?  EPIC!


Simon Belmont in Super Castlevania IV indeed knows how to whip it well. Never before have players enjoy this much whipping prowess, as Simon can direct his whip in eight directions. In addition, his new and improved whip can be swung in a circular direction. This whip wave isn't as powerful as a straight strike, but has its uses and certainly is very pleasing to employ. Also the whip can latch onto anchors, used as a swing to cross open spaces. Simon can jump better than ever as well, and squat and move at the same time allowing him to pass through low ledges. Now you can jump onto stairs by holding up, and jump off stairs by holding down + jump. These little touches go a looong ways to making the game play like the kind of game we have always dreamed of. With all of these cool new features, Simon says HELL YEAH!
Before the cream sits out too long, you must whip it!  ... Ahem

The same 5 subweapons (only one can be carried
at a time) from the NES games return. But thanks to Simon's newfound whip skills, these subweapons aren't nearly as critical as before. The Stopwatch
still has its purposes of freezing annoying winged baddies from knocking you off into an abyss f'rinstance, and the Boomerang remains forever a game changer

                                             "R" to use, no more Up + Attack nonsense -- WOO HOO!


On a chilly and ominous night, Simon Belmont begins his quest

You know what that skull reminds me of?  The one on the box of Phantom Island. In fact, it almost matches to a tee. It was about four years ago to the day, as I write this, that I succumbed to the new Imaginext toy lineup. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and my girlfriend had asked me to go to the local Spirit Halloween store. It was right by Toys R Us so I decided to pay one of my all-time favorite childhood stores a quick visit. There I saw the new Imaginext lineup -- all these cool-looking sets and basically the kind of neat-o crap I would have TOTALLY eaten up if I were 10 again. All these awesome sets with sweet names like Lost Fortress, Bravemore's Castle and Phantom Island among others. Basically, it was
a LEGOS knockoff, with bigger snap pieces. I'd always loved LEGOS to death back in the day; fond memories of waiting for my bro to skip off to 1st grade as I would then raid his LEGOS stash he all too rarely allowed me to touch while in his presence. Standing there at Toys R Us, then 21 years old, I felt a big nostalgia kick. Just looking at their design and box art, I could tell it was something special. At $19.99 a set, it wasn't a shabby deal, either. But I let that momentary urge to snatch them all up then and there reside, as I resumed my original mission of checking for some extra Halloween trinkets to round out my GF's costume. As I browsed through the Spirit Halloween store, she called me on her lunch break and asked if I found anything good. All my sick mind could think of was yeah, sure, the Imaginext stuff. Ah bloody hell, I went back 10 minutes later and walked out with three sets. To this day, I still have around ten play sets, all sealed and locked up in storage. One day... for my future kids... ONE DAY...

[UH... HEL-LO?  Super Castlevania IV??  -Ed.]

Ah yes!  Of course, 'scuse moi

[*SIGH*  SO hard finding good help these days.... -Ed.]

The roaring classic Castlevania music hits... what a freakin' rush

Once inside, players must contend with savage skeletons and swooping bats. What a memorable romp this is, especially how in the beginning the iron gates rise from the depths of Hell!  And of course, the classic Castlevania sound roaring

Fenced in, or fenced out?  Players will have to travel on both sides via the gate door

Ah, Simon has never been better with the whip. Picking off enemies from a safe distance
is utterly satisfying, and you gotta love how their bones go flying every which direction!

The gate door players must go in and out of to avoid the various gaping holes, nice

Letting the whip just hang
at your side acts as a shield
of sorts from such projectiles.
Simply hold on to the attack
button. As for the whip wave,
move the D-Pad accordingly
as you continue holding down
the attack button. Works like
a dream, and one figures, it's
about damn time too!

Simon ain't nobody's whipping boy

                                      You hafta get up PRETTY DAMN early to fool me... [10 AM?  -Ed.]

[Step on a crack. Break your momma's back!  ... Er, damn you  -Ed.]

                                                                        "SOME NIGHT, HUH?"

Once inside, you quickly realize this isn't your average stable... beware the vicious nest
of vipers clinging to the ceiling above you. They patiently lie in waiting for unsuspecting fools. You know, I bet they pass the time by having an orgy or something [Oh Lord -Ed.]

Told you this wasn't your average stable!  These wretched creatures, oddly dubbed Mr. Hed, float
after you often in packs. Sure, we've all heard of
the Headless Horseman, but this is nuts!

DIE MR. ED!  [Heeey -Ed.]

Those damn Medusa Heads are back to wreck havoc and generally shorten your life expectancy, maybe in more ways than one. But thankfully, they're not too bad in this
game. Do watch out for those loose floorboards though. They flip flop if you jump on
them. Of course, if hit, Simon jumps back conveniently enough. Tread softly!

Simon knows the true value of
"Work Smarter, Not Harder"

Just lay your whip downward
and let a little rotation of your
wrist take care of the rest!

Bada bing bada boom, hasta
la vista snakies

Nothing beats this I tells ya!

Your first boss encounter comes in the form of Rowdain and his "little" pet. I dunno about you, but I personally love these pet and rider boss fights. You get to kill 2 for the price of 1 *evil grin*

Karnov was one of the NES games Uncle Jimmy bought for us, and there was a similar boss fight to this one

                                                                                He's no Skeletor, that's fer damn sure

There goes his beloved pet!  Crumbling like the New York Mets of 2008
[Ouch -Ed.]

There goes your ride, buddy!

Rowdain is a very easy boss fight, but
an enjoyable one nonetheless. He'll try to impale you with his evil lance by jumping high in the air and crashing back down... thankfully in a set pattern that's a breeze to avoid. Then, just pound away on his sorry sack of dim bones. In many action games from this era, bosses flash white when damaged. Here in Super Castlevania IV, they flash a weird green-red-ish color. Rowdain will also twitch in pain with every crackin' whip shot. Keep your distance or otherwise he lunges at you with his lance. It's a very, very simple boss fight. There's nothing elaborate about it and while true, the boss fights in this game are short and of the whip-whip-whip and they're dead in 15 seconds variety, it's still a blast and
in my humble estimation doesn't take anything away from the greatness of the game still. Rowdain won't win any "Most Memorable Level 1 Boss" awards, but I always look forward to sending him and his precious pet back to the scrap heap
                                                                     "YOU WANNA DANCE?  LET'S DANCE!"

At the conclusion of each successful
boss fight a Magic Crystal (sometimes
called the Ball of Light) magically falls
from the Heavens. Grab it to restore
vitality to 100% and prepare for the
next challenge!

Love the heartbeat sound it makes


1 down, *only* ten more to go!


Deep in this dark and twisted forest lies a haunted cemetery where its guests are just DYING for you to stay a while. Sorry. Decayed hands reach up desperately for food...

Hope you're not scared of giant spiders, as they litter the treetops!

Whip as many candles as you can. They provide hearts (used to determine the amount you can utilize your subweapon), replenishment, money, subweapons and so on. Sure they make the place look festive, but romantic dinner this ain't. The only date you got here is the one Drac wishes to carve on your tombstone!

                                                                                      A classic Castlevania staple

ATE MY NEIGHBORS!  I love the grunt they make as they die

                                                               They move at an alarming speed

The Bushmen are among my favorite enemies

                                          They're no match however for the infamous Bushman of SF!

After the forest, you make your way through a swamp and this subterranean river

Cross this creaky old bridge and you'll soon come face to face with the one and only...

  Boy, if only looks could ki -- [Don't
even try it mister -Ed.]

*GASP*  Er, is it just me, or is the bitch nude?

She'll also lob some snakes at you. It's another easy but cool little boss fight

                                          And that's WITH makeup!  [Should see my Mother-In-Law -Ed.]

Cross this stream after defeating Medusa to pass Level 2


Now Simon must venture through this cold, creepy cavern. They say that caves are the unknown wonders of the world. And some believe, some caves weren't meant for man to cross. This is one of those they speak of...

You hear something rustling and stirring in the distance... you're not alone...

A flock of bloodthirsty bats come swooping after you as a giant golem meanders just ahead. The golem is easily my favorite regular bad guy -- it's so much fun to kill him

You see!?  He splits into many smaller versions as you whip him like a sorry government mule. It's way too sweet for words to do justice

Talking about cutting a guy down to size eh?

                                              Golems when whipped go through these 3 stages: sweet

Gotta love how this
pillar of bones is oddly positioned here. I love when game programmers position baddies in the weirdest spots; just kind of gives a game a certain 'life' to it

A perfect example of when to use the whip wave

Throughout the game you can find hidden rooms; this being the easiest. Whip the blocks and wait in case a top one drops. It's really cool how these blocks shatter when you whip them down

                                                          What could possibly be hiding inside?


It's one of gaming's longest and greatest mysteries... why's food like burgers and fine pork chops just lying out in the wide open?  Or, as in this case, buried deep within a cave behind some heavy rocks no less. But perhaps it's just an answer Mankind was never meant to know

Like my pops used to say: "Don't question it, just take it!"

Out of the caverns and into the waterfalls as a very atmospheric level 3 continues.
The ever classic falling blocks/platforms is ever present in Super Castlevania IV

Their color change warns you of incoming fire, so get that whip ready

                                                These guys apparently failed to attend Kindergarten

The little water bubbles Simon kicks up is a great touch

                                               Mermen defend the moat by spitting streams of poison

The path now turns upwards as Simon must scale the Tower of Fear

At the very top of the tower lies the horrible beast known as the Orphic Vipers! This twin-headed terror would love nothing more than to make you its next meal

                                          One (er, two?) of the most memorable bosses from the game

Beware the poisonous gas  [I got your poisonous gas right here -Ed.]

                                                              The Cross works pretty well against it

One down, one to go!


Dracula's domain includes many towers and castles. Level 4 takes travelers to the Outer Keep, a place of unspeakable horrors and wonders. Face multiple bosses and experience some of
Super Nintendo's most graphically brilliant moments!

For some reason I just love that wooden staircase

                 Watch out for twisted Japanese
                 horror movie-esque monsters
                 popping inexplicably out of the
                 castle walls. What malpractice!

                                                                   FWIW, The Maid is the creepiest film I ever saw

Here even skeletons will reach for you from the cracks in the wall

The peculiarly named Puweyxil is your first
test here. A giant skull
with a long serpentine
tongue filled with acid.
Never before has the
term "Crackin' skulls!"
been more appropriate

                                                   The first of two bosses here in Drac's Outer Keep

Who could ever forget this rotating room of doom?  Better hang on for dear life!

And then you had this spectacular spinning corridor. Ooooh, ahhhh. It still impresses to this day, and I could only imagine how TRULY mind-blowing it must have been to see this back in December '91!

WHOA... one of many defining moments in SNES history!

[Get straight!  Go forward!  Move ahead!  AHH GET IT OUTTA MY HEAD!  -Ed.] 

Talk about having a ROCKY day!  [*slaps forehead*  -Ed.]


Level 5 is a very short romp though one of Dracula's courtyards. There is no boss to contend with whatsoever. It's merely a race against the clock. Beware of the harpie!

Doing the Wave at sporting events = bad. Doing the whip wave here = good

I love this little scene. It just reminds me so much of the NES Castlevania games. While flashy colors and trippy Mode-7 can be great, this goes to show you how even the most basic colors can be effective to setting an atmospheric tone

                                                                 Now THIS is Castlevania, baby!

As you gaze up at the statues, you see some form of ill-play has plagued the region. Remaining ever vigilant, you push on ahead, ready for any and all challenges...


You now find yourself in the hallowed halls of one of Drac's castles. Fine statues and chandeliers decorate the place, but you quickly discover your average hall this ain't!

Another standout moment. If you felt like YOU WERE Simon here, you're not alone!

                                                            Ghastly apparitions haunt these halls

One has got to dig the soft green tiles found within these hallowed halls.
The cool thing about the graphics is that they don't give you the reality of a castle, but rather the impression of one. Video games shouldn't be about mimicking reality in my view. They're forms of escapism. And Super Castlevania IV does a great job of just that

Blocks may contain goodies inside -- be sure to whip around

Players must cross spiked-filled gaps by quickly hopping from one narrow block to
the next. To make matters more dire, these blocks crack if you stand on them for
more than a split second... so you'd better make haste!

Ahh, one of the simple pleasures of this game: to take a dump all the while whip waving two lowly skeleton guards into a pile of scrap. If this ain't fun [and relieving -Ed.] then quite frankly, I don't know what is

"Anyone got the funnies?"

Remember the annoying red resurrecting skeleton from the NES games?  He's baaack!

"Well Simon, which hand is
the ball in?  Come on, I ain't
got all day now. Well actually,
I do. But still -- come on now!"

Don't be a fool, the House always wins!

If these ghostly dancing partners ever sign up for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE,
they're a shoe-in for the title. Simply coz -- well -- they've been partners for eternity!

Meet the boss of level 6: the Dancing Spectres. They're actually named, believe it or not, Paula Abghoul and Fred Askare. Personally, I find them a disappointing boss choice only because you were already battling dancing couples mere moments ago. Now, if their faces were rotting with worms and maggots...

Simon's a homewrecker if I ever saw one

                                                    Send the sorry lot back to their graves, Simon!


Making your way past the hallowed halls and into the library, Simon must deal with all sorts of unholy knights

Knights are double tough, requiring multiple strikes before submitting

These winged-demons make crossing through this bit rather perilous. If you have the stopwatch subweapon, now is a perfect time to use it

                                        Wouldn't it be cool to have a stopwatch in real life?  [~_^  -Ed.]

Oversized floating books serve as your means of transportation in this slighty tricky bit, thanks mostly to the red resurrecting skeleton standing guard there

A chill runs down your spine as you step foot into this ominous hallway. You feel as though you're being watched, and that one wrong step could be your very last...

Now that's one creepy looking portrait!

  The spooky woman in the portrait springs to life as she holds you hostage in her iron grip. Meanwhile, a flock of ravenous bats come swooping for ya as an unholy knight heaves an axe with your name written in blood on it

Great moment. Shake out of it, whip that old bitch, snap off the bats' wings and then send that knight back to the scrap heap where his sorry tin ass belongs!

I love bizarre and creepy enemies like the ole witch in the portrait there. These type of strange creatures really adds an extra bit of mystery and atmosphere to a game

                                                              Play on a stormy night, no lights, AWWW YEEAH

YIKES!  Check out the size of this sucker. What a nasty ole creature

The Axe works great here

                                                  Be ready to squat, or say hello to the Grim Reaper

The guardian of this level is Sir Grakul, a giant knight who was peacefully resting until you came along...


                                                       Great entrance. Now it's a duel to the death!

Sir Grakul attacks with a giant axe and sword. Though he's a rather simplistic design and more akin of a level 1 or 2 boss, he's still a hoot to slay. Send him to an eternal slumber!

"Compensating for something, HMMM?"


Drac's dungeons are crawling with venom-filled spiders...

                                                                 ... and deadly spiked platforms

Vicious plantlife sprout up as do skeletons dwelling in the darkness

Tricky this bit is!  Thank God for an energy bar and no one-hit wonders eh?

Gawk at the translucent beauty!  The Monster (yes, The Monster) guards the catacombs

Never fear, his double is as wimpy as he himself is!

"All right, I love me some 2-for-1 specials..."

                                              With the Triple Shot, the Cross makes short work of him

The big guy never stood a chance!


All whom have traveled
to the Treasury have been driven mad by the endless gold pieces and treasure chests, as well as all the vengeful spirits that fill this place of unspeakable horrors

I love this level. It's *SO* intensely atmospheric

Trespassers couldn't believe the wealth of gold and jewelry that laid before them. Alas, Simon cares not for riches but only to thwart the evil plans of the Duke of Darkness

Earn yourself a pork chop if you leap on one of these treasure chests 255 times. Weird, but true


At times Super Castlevania IV is about deliberate pacing, other times you must high-tail
it. This is the latter, as the riches-filled platforms give way immediately following contact

Barbaric skeletons and ferocious long necks look to impede your quest

                                                  "I'LL SHOW YOU WHO'S GOT THE BIGGER WHIP!"

The gold coins and sparkling jewelry suddenly come together to form the vile Zapf Bat

"Looks more like Fool's Gold to me!"


You're so close to Dracula's keep, but before you can meet up with the Duke of Darkness you must survive this clock tower jaunt

Navigating on the giant gears can be a bit tough

                                                                 Simon says hurry the F*CK up!

These Skeletal Knights are top-of-the-line in their breed

Akmodan II guards the Clock Tower. Not a bad-looking boss, but fairly generic and more akin to
a boss you'd fight in the earlier stages of a game. Nevertheless, unwrapping this git remains ever fun

                                                   I can't help but think of ole Doc here  [Dork -Ed.]

Onto the next section of stage 10, it's the token collapsing bridge

                                              I love this enemy design; shame they only appear here

Now is definitely not the time to linger!  A massive buzzsaw gives chase, and of course, the stairs fall off as soon as you touch them

You ever had a REALLY bad day?  [I'M HAVIN' ONE RIGHT NOW!  -Simon]

                                                                Plus baddies to boot!  Just great

I bet you remember this cool part too where these stairs just fall off as you barely catch the next flight

Oddly satisfying, wasn't it?

The evil bird-like Slogra is the first of three boss fights you must conquer in order to face Dracula. This was the 1st boss to give me some trouble. He must have been pretty popular, as Konami resurrected him for PlayStation's Symphony of the Night

                                                              "Let's see what you got, Birdman!"

Eventually you'll get to Death itself... good luck!


Ole Drac can be a tough customer. He has a deadly wave of purple projectiles and can even conjure the powers of lightning. I guess being the Duke of Darkness has its perks, eh?  He's not so tough though if you know about the infamous pre-battle trick... and I hope you know what I'm talking about. Because if you don't, where the hell have you been living for the past 15+ years?!  You might as well turn in your gamer card right now. I'm only kidding, but I hope you
do know. Of course, the cheat was to make the game beatable for all, but you can't claim you have conquered this game if you go for the cheat

[So have you?  -Ed.]

WELL would you look at that...  *points to watch* we're all outta time!


                                        There it is folks. The infamous cheat to easily knock off Dracula


Konami sees to it that every gamer will find success with Super Castlevania IV. Included is a slightly cumbersome yet very handy password system

Pssst!  There's the password to face ole Drac himself


There are some slight differences between the US version and the Japanese version (Akumajō Dracula). F'rinstance, in stage 8 the pools are filled with blood, but in the US version that color was changed to be green, becoming an acid-filled pool. Blood also no longer drips from the ceilings. Some other small changes. Overall, nothing worth crying about, but it just reminds us of how conscious Nintendo was about keeping things PG in the early days of SNES
Japanese cover of Akumajō Dracula

                                                Oops!  That was a strange oversight  *scratches head*


Castlevania's debut on the PlayStation came in a BIG humongous way in '97 with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It's considered by many as one of the finest action adventure games in not just 32-bit gaming history, but of all time. No longer was it merely getting through
11 stages; it became a backtracking adventure and even helped form a new gaming phrase dubbed "Metroidvania."
(Side-scrollers with an emphasis on exploring)
Great atmospheric game that continues Castlevania's top legacy

                                            It also came out on Saturn (JP only) as Akumajou Dracula X

The famed franchise lives on today (latest being Order of Ecclesia)


(Special thanks to SEGA SATURN MAGAZINE for the following information August 1998)

Very few video game series stand the test
of time, but Konami's Castlevania series has managed to provide more than a few surprises over the years.

With Castlevania X: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation and now Saturn, the series has reached a new generation of gamers. However, Castlevania didn't earn its impressive reputation over night. Since 1986, when the first game appeared, the Castlevania series has earned a loyal following. Almost everyone who has played any game in the series loves it, and anyone who hates the series probably hasn't played
it at all!

One of the most enthralling aspects of Castlevania is its story. So far, each game has fit perfectly within a century-spanning storyline.

Originally, Castlevania was planned as a Star Wars style epic, with three games set in the past, three set in the present, and three set in the future. However, it now looks like that idea has been scrapped, as more games take place in the past (although Castlevania Bloodlines was the most contemporary of the Castlevania titles, as it takes place in the early 1900s). To get SSM readers up to speed, here's the complete Castlevania timeline to date with important characters and events included. Some of the entries don't actually take place in a specific year, so we've used a bit of artistic license in the compilation of this trip through yesteryear...

  • 1421: Elizabeth Bartley
    Count Dracula's niece, Elizabeth Bartley, was put to death after she was found guilty of being a vampire

  • 1431: Count Dracula
    Dracula was at the height of his power and fully terrorized the country of Transylvania

  • 1450: Sonia Belmont
    Sonia is the first female Belmont character in the Castlevania series. Sonia is also the main character in an upcoming Castlevania title for Game Boy. The game has no title
    yet, but apparently Alucard also makes an appearance. Sonia is 17 years old

  • 1492: Trevor Belmont
    Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NES, 1990)

    Trevor is the originator of the Belmont "warrior chromosomes" and takes the center stage in Dracula's Curse, the biggest and best of the 8-bit titles. Along his perilous journey to Dracula's castle, one of three characters could join Trevor: Sypha Belnades, a sorcerer, Grant DaNasty, a thief, and Alucard, Dracula's rebellious son (who appears again in Symphony of the Night). The Japanese version of Castlevania III was an easier game,
    and Sypha's character was a woman

  • 1592: Christopher Belmont
    The Castlevania Adventure (Game Boy, 1990)

    Christopher Belmont was limited to just two Castlevania titles -- both for the Game Boy

  • 1607: Christopher Belmont
    Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (Game Boy, 1992)

    Christopher's son, Soleiyu, is kidnapped by Dracula. Christopher takes on Dracula again in the hopes of finding his son alive

  • 1692: Simon Belmont
    Castlevania (NES, 1987)
    Super Castlevania IV (Super NES, 1991)

    Simon Belmont took up the battle 100 years after Trevor defeated Count Dracula. Super Castlevania IV is actually a remake of the first 8-bit title and possibly one of the best games in the series

  • 1699: Simon Belmont
    Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES, 1988)

    Simon Belmont discovers he was cursed by Dracula to die a slow and agonizing death.
    To lift the curse, he must revive Dracula and then destroy him

  • 1792: Richter Belmont
    Dracula X (PC Engine, 1993)
    Castlevania: Dracula X (Super NES, 1995)

    Richter's story is set long after Simon's game. Dracula X introduced Maria, Richter's sister-in-law. Although she is not of the Belmont vampire hunter bloodline, she has
    super powers nonetheless. Richter is 17 years old; Maria is 11

  • 1798: Alucard
    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation, 1997; Saturn, 1998)

    Alucard awakens from his self-imposed eternal slumber only to sense that Dracula is going to be revived. Alucard sets off to Dracula's castle in the hopes of stopping his father once and for all. Symphony of the Night's ending opens up a potential relationship between Maria and Alucard, which will (hopefully) be explained in future titles

  • 1892: Eric LeCarde is born in Segovia, Spain

  • 1895: John Morris is born in Texas, USA

  • 1897: Quincy Morris dies
    The latest Belmont descendant. Quincy dies moments after defeating Dracula. Watching in the shadows are his son (John) and his best friend (Eric)

  • 1917: Elizabeth Bartley is revived and rejuvenated
    Castlevania: Bloodlines (Megadrive, 1994)

    Drolta Tzuentes, an amateur witch, accidentally brings Elizabeth Bartley back to life. Bartley immediately makes plans to revive Count Dracula. John Morris, Quincy's son and latest vampire killer in the Belmont bloodline, joins his friend Eric LeCarde. LeCarde's girlfriend, Gwendolyn, was turned into a vampire by Bartley

That's where the Castlevania timeline ends... for now. However, with an N64 title looming on the horizon, as well as potential PlayStation and Dreamcast games, this chilling saga is thankfully far from over!

(Special thanks once again to SEGA SATURN MAGAZINE, issue #34, August 1998, for that Castlevania timeline of terror!)



Super Castlevania IV was lavished with high praises and nearly everybody who played it seemingly fell in love with its ace soundtrack, visuals and gameplay. As you can see, the
critics absolutely ate it up, as did the fans. It's widely regarded as a top-tier Super NES
title, and rightfully so!

  • EGM: 8, 8, 9
  • Super Play: 91%

                                            EGM's Top 100 Games List #20 (issue 100, November 1997)


Super Castlevania IV lived up to the hype and then some. It's got it all: incredible graphics, amazing sound and classic gameplay. Some might say it's not nearly challenging enough, and while I agree it is on the easy side, I much rather have a game be slightly too easy than for it to be impossible, y'see. The last couple stages can be very grueling, but of course, your mileage may vary. Yes, the game does have some slowdown (such as during the boss fight with the Orphic Vipers) but honestly, I didn't find it nearly as bad as some were claiming. It didn't take away much from the game at all. Speaking of the bosses, while they're not Konami's VERY best, they still are quite a treat to behold, and even more satisfying to slay. This is not merely a game -- it's
a freakin' EXPERIENCE

I believe the very best video games are the
ones that take you on a journey. The best games are experiences. Super Castlevania IV simply possesses an epic quest feel to it, and that's what makes it special for me, nevermind the excellent graphics, sound and gameplay. You're Simon Belmont with the sole goal of defeating Dracula. You trek through 11 wide-ranging and diverse stages, from haunted cemeteries, zombie-infested woods, creepy caverns and cursed castle halls to name but a few. It's simple, but SO highly immersing. You latch onto the quest. It's escapism at its best! Let's face it, most if not all of us play games to be swept away to a land of wonder, mystique and adventure -- Super Castlevania IV certainly does that well. And it's a shame there aren't more epic games like this

                                                   The classic age-old rivalry wages on once more!

As mentioned earlier, the colors of the game give it a striking and surreal feel. It doesn't give you the reality of a castle, but rather the impression of one. It is bigger than life.
I don't want my games
to simulate life or be too realistic. I like digging into a fantasy adventure, get swept away and become totally enraptured with its atmosphere, action and/or plot. From the very chilling moment you press start at the title screen and you hear that wolf's haunting howl, you knew you were in for a special treat -- the kind that sadly, games all too often fail to achieve. Then, as you made your way across that introductory sequence, with that hulking skull looming in the distance, you passed through the massive drawbridge with the classic Castlevania music kicking in... it's just beautiful. You may not be too impressed with the early stages but stick with it as the later levels really take it up a notch. I enjoyed the first couple levels but it wasn't until stage 3 -- the Creepy Caverns -- that I began to truly feel the 'PULSE' of this game. From there, I never looked back

While many prefer the newer style of play (the exploring, leveling up and backtracking), I still prefer this basic style. Just move forward, not have to worry about having this item or that, conversing with side characters or any of that crap. Don't get me wrong,
I enjoy that type of game too, but when a game is this good and doesn't need all that extracurricular activity, I can't help but love the raw beauty of it all. The bosses have their energy bars, I have mine, and soon, one of us won't. Simple as that. And sometimes, the simplest things are among the best things. Not just in life, but also in video games. You know, I look back to that Saturday night of April 8, 2006, when at last I had finally began my quest of slaying Dracula and his minions of the night, and a devilish grin crosses my face. I was damn nearly 15 years late to the party, but it was worth the wait. I wished I'd experienced this back in the early '90s, but that's OK. I had the luxury of playing it as an older, wiser and more appreciative gamer. Playing it made me proud I decided to re-invest in
a Super Nintendo; Simon's adventure alone made it all worth it. Dracula may well indeed revive every 100 years, but damnit, every Halloween or so, I'll send him BACK to his grave!

Super Castlevania IV.... a stirring classic and a must-own for any Super Nintendo fan, period

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9.5
Longevity: 8

Overall: 9.5


"And so, that's how the great Simon Belmont put an end to the Duke of Darkness... for now..."

"Very interesting story,
Mr. Sayer"

"He was a great pilgrim all right. We all have our own demons to conquer, just like he did. 300 years later Mr. Loomis, and things haven't changed all that much...."

"I know that, Mr. Sayer"

"Ah, Haddonfield. Here we are. It was my pleasure, fellow pilgrim!  And good luck in your hunt"

"Thank you so much"

"OH and Mr. Loomis -- HAPPY HALLOWEEN..."

In Memory of Donald Pleasance and Carmen Filpi

                                         HAPPY HALLOWEEN INDEED Y'ALL!  MWAHAHAHAHA!  ^_^