How Metroidvania is it? Low Fit, Not a Metroidvania. Simon’s Quest is the only game that could be comparable to the genre – the rest are ''Classic-vania''.
Primary Challenge: Melee Combat
Time to beat: ~20 hours
Review Info: Castlevania Anniversary Collection was played on Steam.
Buy Castlevania Anniversary Collection if you like…
- Game Collections
- Awesome Retro Music
- Hard-but-fair Linear Platforming with a Cerebral focus
- Legal Copies of Older games.
▼ Review continues below ▼
It’s nice to see Konami supporting their old IPs, and while the Castlevania Anniversary Collection could certainly use some improvements (I mean, what else wouldn’t benefit from some improvements?), it’s at least a superior way to play all of these games compared to their original releases – especially at the price point.
Anyone who’s familiar with the current emulation scene may regard the features of this collection as lacking. There isn’t any fast forward or rewind button. There are only six graphical settings for each game. You can’t patch Castlevania II with the “Redacted” fan update. Perhaps the most glaring omission is the inability to change the game controls within the menu. Being as this is a PC game, it’s more of an inconvenience overall, since Steam has a built-in control remapping function, though many players might not know about it. You also can always use Joy2Key or similar programs to do whatever you want. With that said, I found it pretty easy to get used to the default controls, and for Castlevania IV the mapping on my PS4 controller was exactly what it would have been if I was playing on the original SNES.
Another possible gripe is the inclusion of only one “Quicksave” for each game, which does go beyond providing the “intended experience”, but also alleviates the nuisance of relying on painful-to-enter codes to record your progress if the game even provides that. Having only one save-state option isn’t a huge issue for most of the game’s titles, but it may be disappointing for games Castlevania 3 or Castlevania Bloodlines that include multiple characters or split level options – you’ll have to delete your previous save to play the other options just like it was the 1990s all over again.
Konami has already promised future patches with the other regional versions of each game, so it’s entirely possible that these other complaints will be addressed as well. Definitely voice your opinion on the forums or wherever Konami might be listening. As far as how the collection runs in its current state goes, I didn’t have any performance issues aside from the ones that the games had on their original release. I was able to enjoy each game to its fullest just like I was playing them on their original platforms, and the options available, while few, only enhanced the experience.
The Castlevania games, or rather the “Classic-Vania” games, are notoriously difficult. Each of them runs between 1-4 hours long if you play perfectly, but you’re not going to do that unless you’re superhuman. The inclusion of quicksaving does add a ton of accessibility for modern players. You can save whenever you want and load whenever you want, effectively giving you infinite lives, or if you REALLY want to abuse the system, you can save and load every moment of each boss fight to ensure a perfect first time run. You can also ignore the feature entirely and play it like you had to in the 80s and 90s – whichever way is the most fun for you is legitimate. They do however add a little extra incentive to play it the original way – each game will record your playthrough which you can watch again from the menu. If you ever load your game, this playthrough is erased, meaning you’ll have to finish it all in one sitting to record your awesome skills for the internet to see – if you even care about that sort of thing. Another reason not to abuse the save states is that they picked the most annoying “Cling” sound ever to play every time you enter the save state menu – do it too much and your brain might explode from overexposure to the high pitch punishment (it’s something else I hope they patch out.)
Overall I’d say this is a good collection of great games, and a fine way to legitimately play them on your PC. I’d like to see some improvements to the overall package, but as far as the games go – which are the main attraction – they run just fine. I hope Konami looks toward the Sega Genesis Classics Collection since that seems to be the best and most comprehensive way to provide older games through legitimate means, boasting even steam workshop support (which would be good for Castlevania II at least.) But, just adding a few more save states, sound options, and maybe a fast forward button would elevate this offering from good to great.
Reviews for Each Game Included in the Collection
It would be wrong of me close this review without talking a little bit about each game in this collection, So I’ve completed mini reviews for each game in the links below!
I’d like to note that playing through this collection is the first time I’ve completed any Classic-Vania game from start to finish. I’ve dabbled in a lot of them – just never actually completed one. So my opinion on each of these games does not come from any nostalgia of playing these as a kid (But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that just playing games from this era conjures up fond memories.)
Want a second opinion? See what other reviews say:
(59% of 22 Reviews)
All Time: Very Positive
(82% of 479 Reviews)