Review: Castlevania: Dracula’s Curse
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is one of the more prominent titles in the franchise; it focuses on Trevor Belmont in the year 1476 who has continued the oath of his ancestors and taken up arms against Dracula and his minions who have once more covered the land in darkness. Dracula’s Curse takes on the gameplay of the first title and adds a non-linear element and three sub-characters to use during your quest. Keeping Castlevania tradition, this game has loads of enemies, stressful situations and fantastic music, which makes it a grand title and one that should not be missed.
While Castlevania: Simon’s Quest changed the format of the series, this one maintains the level structure with great imagination. The level design takes a step forward and definitely tests your patience in areas that -if a mistake is made- will cost you your life. Thankfully you have new characters to assist you in your journey. They all have special abilities; for example, Grant DaNasty has a unique and highly useful climb ability that allows you to reach places normally not possible. With the alternate abilities and multiple pathways to choose from, the game set certain standards for what sequels should be.
Musically the game is incredible with its melodies and familiar tunes. Very few Castlevania titles suffer from a bad soundtrack and this is not one of them. Everything written here is elegant and beautiful, fully capitalizing on the abilities of the NES. Along with the music comes the gameplay which is more of the simple, two button action, but don’t mistake that for a lack of challenge. Trevor has his trusty Vampire Killer and a slew of Castlevania-staple sub-weapons to choose from to help him destroy the forces of evil. As he and his companions traverse the intricate and treacherous levels of Dracula’s Curse, they finally bring it to an end, once again destroying the Lord of Darkness.
All in all, Castlevania: Dracula’s Curse is a fantastic title and was an excellent way to bow out of the 8-bit era. It surpassed the replay value of its predecessors and has marked itself as one of the best titles in a franchise that continues to grow. Having multiple characters to choose from, each with useful abilities, just compounded on an already fun and engrossing formula and future titles in the series would capitalize on the level designs and non-linear approach which proved its success here. While Trevor’s fight took place long ago, we still enjoy revisiting this battle to be reminded of all its worth.