It's sad to say, but Castlevania 2 is overall the least favorite Castlevania
game among many people. Why is this? This is probably because of the cryptic
nature of the game and how it was poorly translated to English. The people
in the towns and the books you find throughout the American version of the game
barely give you any tips that are vital in completing the game. The game
itself can be a cryptic maze if you do not look up a guide online to tell you
where to go and where to use your items at.
Behind this translated mess is actually a very fun game, in my opinion.
Castlevania 2 players from Japan probably appreciated the game a whole lot more
than people playing the American version. Besides the translated mess, these are
the other factors of why people do not like this game:
Bad Aspects of Castlevania
Grinding - You need to grind in this game in order to collect
hearts to buy all the items you need and to use your special abilities.
This can be a bit tedious for some. I personally do not mind some
grinding, but it can become a chore every now and then.
Back Tracking - The game plays more like Castlevania Sympathy of
the Night more so than Castlevania 1, 3, and 4. This isn't a bad thing,
but I feel like they could have made the level design more unique throughout
the game, then the back tracking wouldn't be so mind numbing as you would be
able to tell where you are at, or at least
give you a map system to tell you where your at.
Easy Bosses - The bosses in Castlevania II are not as fun as
other Castlevania games, and Dracula is a joke in this game.
Day to Night Transition - This happens to be the only Castlevania
game where there is a day and night cycle. Overall I feel like it is a nice
touch and I appreciate it overall. The enemies get stronger at night and
things seem to be a bit creepier as well, which I think is definitely
castlevaniaish for sure. It turns day and night every 7 minutes throughout
this game. The problem is when this happens, the gameplay pauses for about
10 seconds. Many people hate this. I have to admit, the transition could be
a little bit faster, but this little set back shouldn't be the deciding
factor of why you shouldn't like this game.
Negative aspects aside, these are the highlights of this game that make
Castlevania 2 stand out from the rest:
Good Aspects of Castlevania
Fun RPG elements - This was the first RPG game I played as a kid,
and I really liked it. This was the first time in my life (when I was 7
years old) when I had the feeling of collecting currency to buy something,
it felt good! Not only that but feeling the power when your character levels
up, it really felt like I was conquering Castlevania. Obtaining special
items, talking to towns folk, finding books hidden in walls, I felt like a
detective for the first time in my life as well. Too bad the translation was
poor, arghhhh!!! Oh well. A smart detective had to use Nintendo Power
in order to beat this game. I wonder how many people figured out how
to kneel with a red crystal at a certain spot in order to summon a tornado
to take you to the next area? Probably not many!
Game Feel - The controls in Castlevania 2 are rock solid, even better
than Castlevania 1 and 3 in my opinion. Simon just feels good to control,
whipping, jumping, kneeling and turning at the same time, it all feels great.
The hit feedback you get after whipping enemies feels better. The music is
awesome. The graphics are good. My only complaint is that I feel the level
design could be a little bit better and more in-depth, especially in the outside
Fun to Speed Run - I personally love Castlevania 2, and I rank it as
my second favorite Castlevania game after Castlevania 4. One of the
hardest challenges of this game is to beat it without dying once or using a
church to refill your life, along with beating it as fast as possible. I have
personally been obsessed with conquering this goal, and I have finally
accomplished this feat. You can watch this run on YouTube right here:
So is this game Good or Bad?
It really comes down to personal opinion. I personally think this game is good
and bad. If you want to play this game, then I suggest you use a certain ROM
Castlevania 2 Redaction, with this version, the game itself remains 100%
intact, the only thing that is changed is the translation is all fixed up. This
version correctly fixes all the hints, clues, and text that the towns folk gives
you along with the hidden books throughout the game. There is also a few
other improvements such as the transition from day to night is more seamless. So
Castlevania 2 Redaction
should allow you to thoroughly enjoy this game if you are a newcomer.