Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

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Sut
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby Sut » November 30th, 2018, 6:53 pm

Oh yeah I know it’s a real thing it’s just that he used it without actually knowing what it is.
The Atari ST(e) came with a blitter I believe but not many software companies made use of it because the bulk of the ST’s out there were the ST(fm) models.

Stalvern wrote:the ST can barely scroll a background without coughing and sputtering. Wings of Death is one of the ST's greatest masterpieces of programming just for managing to keep a frame rate that the crappiest teenage homebrew on the Amiga takes for granted


Wings of Death is one of my favourite shooters and I think it’s a console quality title. The Bitmaps always managed to make the ST scroll decent as well, Speedball 2 is a great example but again is not smooth as the Amiga. Ocean France were also very good ST developers with the ST version of Toki (in my opinion) being the best version of the game (oddly the Amiga version has some iffy scolling issues). US Gold never seemed to manage it, all their games had massive sprites the ST just couldn’t throw around at the required speed without tanking the frame rate.

Stalvern wrote:The ST's one graphical advantage over the Amiga is slightly superior 3D performance – both systems handle 3D graphics with the CPU, and the ST's is a bit faster (same model, different clock speed).


Oh yes that was one example we used frequently, that and the fact the ST was the lead platform for a number of years meaning the ST version was usually released first and only minor improvements made to the Amiga version. Most publishers opted for pretty much straight ports due to the shared CPU. ST games usually having a slightly better frame rate due to the faster processor and the ports being straight code conversions meaning all the Amiga scrolling was also being done in software rather than hardware.

Then Shadow of the Beast came along and the tide turned and the ST started getting the naff ports. Interesting times.

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DrLitch
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby DrLitch » November 30th, 2018, 7:56 pm

Stalvern wrote:(Also, palette. A pallet is what a forklift picks up.)


:D Much appreciated, my vocabulary is +1

JWK
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby JWK » June 23rd, 2019, 9:55 pm

Can’t believe I didn’t see this thread. You know me: I love me some Castlevania. Gonna have to listen to this podcast, for sure.

I think JLH and I were discussing a SCV4 vs Bloodlines a couple years ago and I revealed that I had switched my opinion on the two. Something like 9 years ago, I did mini reviews for most of the series and I firmly believed Castlevania 4 was the best 16 bit game. Now? Not even close. Rondo of Blood is BY FAR the best game in the series from the 4th generation. Bloodlines would be second and Castlevania 4 third. Some are suggesting SCV4 should t be considered a classic anymore. I don’t know if I’d go *that* far. But my love of the game has cooled off considerably in the last 5 years or so. I just find Bloodlines so much more interesting. It’s a gorgeous game that really pushes the Genesis. And for a system not really touted for its color (total and simultaneous colors are quite a bit less than the SNES) Konami really used the available colors to great effect. I still believe Super Castlevania IV is a great game. I really do. But it’s just far too easy. I mean, it’s not like Bloodlines is all that hard, either, and I could beat Rondo with my eyes closed now. But the multidirectional whip is so overpowered that it make much of the game a cakewalk. There are lots of SNES games that I would rank over SCV4; Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, Yoshi’s Island, Mega Man X, Earthbound, etc. But the Genesis only has one game better than Bloodlines and that’s Shinobi III.

Now that I’m thinking about the series, I should really put my thoughts on Bloodstained in the Now Playing. Or User Reviews when I’m done.

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DrLitch
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby DrLitch » July 16th, 2019, 1:47 am

I forgot all about this thread. I replayed Bloodlines a few weeks back. Better graphics and general gameplay than SCIV but I did prefer the music and cohesion of SCIV. I guess if I had to choose it would be Bloodlines - SCIV is just too darn easy and the limitations of the SNES they could not put many enemies up on screen either. There was much more going on in Bloodlines and the action was faster. The graphics to SCIV sucked. Grainy, low res, and full of browns. The soundtrack on the other hand was amazing. The Treasury level apart, all the tunes were memorable, particularly the one that plays when you defeat the Grim Reaper and the lights flick on as you make your way to Dracula. Talking of Dracula, what a let down. Easiest end boss in gaming history. Bloodlines got more things right but it still felt like a coin-op title in some ways. Pile your quarters in there, move onto new level, sense of adventure is lacking. Saving grace is the levels were well designed and decently sized. I loved the Atlantis theme of level 2 while level 3 and 5 were a trip. Fun game with reasonable difficulty but it did not prove to be a long lived experience. From this era Rondo of Blood was the most polished Castlevania game by far. I also think I prefer the Castlevania on the Sharp home computer to Bloodlines and SCIV. It came out on the PS1 as Castlevania Chronicles. Hard as nails but somewhat satisfying. Rondo > Chronicles > Bloodlines > SCIV.

Is SCIV no longer a classic? My question is "Was it ever a classic"? I do not recollect it ever propping up lists of classics on the SNES. Sure it was mentioned favorably but it was never held in the same esteem as at least a dozen or so SNES titles.

CharlieR
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby CharlieR » August 8th, 2019, 7:58 am

DrLitch wrote:
DrLitch wrote: SCIV is just too darn easy.


I don't usually play these really hard games like Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, or Castlevania, but I'm interested to hear why you say it's easy. Definitely not disputing your post, but I'd like more insight. Is it specifically because of the limitations of the SNES that the game seems easier?

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Gentlegamer
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby Gentlegamer » August 8th, 2019, 8:37 am

CharlieR wrote:
DrLitch wrote:
DrLitch wrote: SCIV is just too darn easy.


I don't usually play these really hard games like Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, or Castlevania, but I'm interested to hear why you say it's easy. Definitely not disputing your post, but I'd like more insight. Is it specifically because of the limitations of the SNES that the game seems easier?


CIV is too easy because they gave the player air control during jumps without adjusting the platforming to challenge it and the powerful eight-way whip attack that makes all the sub-weapons superfluous

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DrLitch
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby DrLitch » August 18th, 2019, 3:04 pm

CharlieR wrote:I don't usually play these really hard games like Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, or Castlevania, but I'm interested to hear why you say it's easy. Definitely not disputing your post, but I'd like more insight. Is it specifically because of the limitations of the SNES that the game seems easier?


Part of what makes a great Castlevania game has always been what can be best described as "surmountable difficulty" - in that if you dedicate some patience and time you will be skilled enough to navigate through the game and beat it. To put Castlevania IV in context - when I fired this one up more recently, I lost my first life on level 7 (the library) when I mistimed a jump. I lost another life on level 8 (instant death on spikes) and one life on level 10 (fell off crumbling stair and the wheel of spikes moving up the screen got me). I completed the game without needing a continue. I did not lose a single life to a boss or enemy. Contrast that to Bloodlines. I beat the game recently but lost my first life on level 3 (got swarmed by the flying bird like creatures) and a bunch of lives on subsequent levels. I needed two continues to beat it. Castlevania Chronicles, this game was maybe too challenging for my personal taste - my gamepad got launched across the room. After two days of trying and cursing I eventually beat it. Castlevania Rondo of Blood was not quite as brutal but I still needed two continues and got a good butt kicking on several stage bosses.

Regarding easiness in Castlevania IV: In other Castlevania games you always have something attacking you, you always had to keep your wits about you. Being able to whip in 8 directions in IV gives you forgiveness in mistiming your attacks - it seems you can always recover from a misstep. Frankly if you can beat the enemies in the game wiggling around a limp whip you know it is too easy. How can a whip kill something when it is just hanging loose? I will always have a soft spot for Castlevania IV and subjectively it should be a great game given the sum of parts/whole paradigm. The music is outstanding and the "adventure vibe" is strong with it. Graveyards, Forests, Forts, Castles, you name it. Objectively though this is probably the worst 2D side scrolling Castlevania game outside of perhaps the butchered Rondo of Blood port on the SNES and Castlevania II on the NES. For sure the Genesis, PC Engine, Sharp 68000x, and the NES classics (apart from #2) are superior to IV in a lot of aspects. That said though, having recently played through Bloodstained Ritual of the Night and halfway through replaying Symphony of the Night, these old 2D Linear Castlevania games are too limited for my tastes. Even Rondo of Blood is somewhat a mediocre experience compared with the recent Bloodstained game or Symphony of the Night.

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » August 24th, 2019, 6:48 am

Easy doesn't equal bad.

It means Castlevania IV is an entry level game for players new to the series, that even older folks with slower reflexes can still enjoy. It's a meditation exercise, steeped in atmosphere, with just enough risk to shame anyone who lets their guard down.

Anyone who thinks it's too easy should be either speedrunning it or aiming for a perfect run. No lives lost, or if you're masochistic enough, take as few hits as the engine will allow.

Besides, it's the only time Simon Belmont has actually felt like the chosen one. This is a game where he deserves that famous Belmont strut.

The fact most people have a great first time with it, speaks for itself. It more than deserves to keep that classic status, even if there's a few times you wish they'd had more time to explore all their new ideas.

Instead of simply removing them in the sequels, because Konami themselves were intimidated by the creative challenge of building new challenges around them.

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DrLitch
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Re: Super Castlevania IV Retrospective

Postby DrLitch » August 26th, 2019, 8:08 pm

I do not think Castlevania IV is at all a bad game, it is a very good game. The bar is set high with this series and a high bar lends harsh criticism. Dracula X on the SNES for instance gets absolutely hammered but it is a good game by any reasonable measure. A solid 7/10. But for a Castlevania title, 7/10 feels like 3/10.

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:Easy doesn't equal bad.

It means Castlevania IV is an entry level game for players new to the series, that even older folks with slower reflexes can still enjoy. It's a meditation exercise, steeped in atmosphere, with just enough risk to shame anyone who lets their guard down.

The fact most people have a great first time with it, speaks for itself.


Very good point and being the least frustrating Castlevania game makes it the best entry point to the series. In fact it is actually a reimagining of the first game, along with the title on the Sharp 68000, so in the timeline it is right there as the first entry.


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