How Metroidvania is it? Not a Metroidvania. It's a Classic-vania from before the Symphony of the Night team changed the direction of the series.
Primary Challenge: Melee Combat
Time to beat: ~4 hours
Review Info: This review is part of a broader review of the Castlevania Anniversary Collection on Steam. See the link at the beginning of the review for the main thread.
Buy Super Castlevania IV if you like…
- Classic-Vania with 16 bit graphics
- Brutally Hard Platforming
- Epic boss fights
- Whipping Diagonal
- The Original Castlevania
▼ Review continues below ▼
If Castlevania III was confusing by being a prequel with a sequel-style title, Castlevania IV only adds to that confusion by being a remake of the first Castlevania (I’d like to point out that it wasn’t called Castlevania IV in the Japanese – it was just plain “Castlevania”.) For this remake they decided to try and make things much more accessible, but by no means is it easier.
You can now whip in five directions, jump off of staircases and land on them at will, and your jumps are controllable in mid-air rather than having your jump arc be committed once you push the button. To balance out these new player abilities, they’ve added a lot more instant death traps around the stages – namely in the endgame – and bosses like Death will barrage you with very difficult to dodge onslaughts.
I couldn’t ever get into this game as a kid. I found it slow and boring and never got past the first few levels. Everyone always talked about how great it was and I never really understood why until I made it past the halfway point of the game. The endgame of Castlevania IV is a treat – a challenge that is built up to with expertise, and that final fight with Dracula feels long but epic as the music swells toward the final moment of victory.
I’m not going to say Castlevania IV is better than some of the other games in this collection – I’m not even sure I like it more than Castlevania I. A lot of its level gimmicks are simple, and some are obviously just trying to show off SNES features like Mode 7 moving backgrounds I’m also not really a fan of trading meticulous action choice for frustrating death traps. But it’s still a satisfying game overall, and even though it’s not one I grew up with, I know it’s going to stick in my memory for a long time.
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