Simon gets it whipped

vol 100

One of my favourite games from the era of the first Game Boy Castlevania II – Belmont’s Revenge. Castlevania is always a blip on my radar because you get to go up against vampires. I’m not a big fan of vampires.
But Castlevania II was something else. It was the first time i realized that there are other Belmont’s on the hunt; Christopher in this case. And he moves slower than Simon. The Belmont’s are on a permanent sunday stroll through the park. But Christopher’s animation suggests that he’s not pacing himself to smell the flowers. He’s on a constant workout with a pair of dum bells. The short jump and the walking animation suggests that he skipped leg day on every occasion. But my daydreams about Christopher’s journey ran wild because of the box art.
For comparison; here is the japanese version:

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With it’s classic aesthetic it communicates the plot and introduces the important characters. Dracula is looming over Christopher, the portrait of his son and the scenery where the game takes place. Christopher’s son gets kidnapped by Dracula, turned into a demon and now shall help him restore his former power.
Now here is the cover we europeans and the us got:

img_3312

As a kid this thing drove me nuts. The title explodes in an electric sizzle while we witness Fabio’s rage drunk cousin on a demonic home invasion. He looses his balance and tries to get himself upright with a dash of his whip while the home owner pleads for his buddies inside to call the cops.
It is not a bad cover. It gives you the gist of the proceedings while the japanese cover makes an effort to illustrate a more believable monster hunter while communicating what’s up.

The one thing that stuck with me over the years was the soundtrack. Without the atmospheric 8-bit sound curtain the room would have fallen apart. I’m still humming those tunes sometimes. And due to the wonders of modern technology and generosity it’s available to almost everyone[1].

No other Castlevania game afterwards captured me like this one. The SNES release was neat but i’m still struggling with that one after a while. It’s like the first Metroid or any other kind of nostalgia driven franchise these days. It’s only an echo of the raw thing you felt, processed through the filter of aging.


[1] My favourite track; Praying Hands. Here’s a Playlist of the whole soundtrack.

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