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The Curse of Dracula vs. Shadowiii
The Curse of Dracula In all honestly,
MCW, Me, and Aeth
Download: 33 KB
Play Time: too many hours and --- minutes
Review # 22 for Shadowiii In all honestly, "Defend" should have been the first selection.
Them's Fightin' Words
    The "do something with nothing" contest was a weird contest, if I do say so myself. First of all, it only got two entrees (this and PACOHR by Fyrewulff). I dare say the contest spanwed some of the weirdest games I have ever played. If PACOHR was too easy and short, this game is too long and difficult. MCW told me to prepare for a challenge, and boy, this game is tough.

The game is a rather bizzare Castlevania parody. You may note that the hero is a Belmont, and also that the game pokes fun at quite a few of Castlevania's oddities. Overall, the game is somewhat enjoyable, though you'll have to be pretty darn determined to beat it.
    First off, remember that it costs "points" in this contest to use graphics and pallets, so obviously the graphics are gonna be cheap. The graphics in this seem to change between an 8-bit style (I liked the rocks) and the ever-poplular "Magnus" style (ooh! Big blocky colors! Soo pretty!). Overall, I wish that they had stuck with just one style. The battle graphics are 8-bit, and the hero graphic is pretty sweet. I really liked the 8-bit style of things, and I wish the entire game had been made in that fashon. Being a fan of the NES games (Castlevania and Zelda especially), having the entire game be 8-bit would have been awesome. But I guess I'll have to be content with just a few 8-bits.

Before I get specific I'd also like to comment on the incredible overuse of blue. Picasso's blue period can't even hold a CANDLE up to what this game has done. My eyes stung of blue before beating thit game. The main hero's picture was blue. Two of the three huge puzzle maps were blue. There was no pure white, it was (you guessed it), light blue. I'm blue da do de da do di *gets bricked*, um, yeah. The game would have looked alot better of that hidious blue had been replaced with the classic "Simon Belmont" brown (again contributing to the 8-bit feel), but as it is it I guess dracula's castle is blue this time of year (night or something?), but...yeah, you get the picutre.

NPC's are...well, really ugly. Dracula's is neat, but the same NPC for Dracula is used for Guy, so that was kinda dumb. The bosses are blue orbs (wee! more blue things! *shoots self*). I did like the rocks though. They were 8-bitty coolness. Plus they weren't blue, they were brown! Halleluja!

Tilemaps are poorly done in my opinion. They are all in the glorious "Magnus" style, which is just sickining. At least they are easily distinguishable (stairs are easy to see, etc.), but besides that (and the fact 90% of them are BLUE), these maptiles are extremely ugly.

Hero and enemy graphics (though blue), are pretty cool. I liked Guy Belmont's hero graphic a lot; it was really 8-bit style (what is with me and my 8-bit obsession? Maybe I should visit a video game theripist or Rinku in the house? :P). The enemies were good and fit the theme too. I enjoyed the battle graphics, except that really ugly background. Egads, it was ugly.
    Well, it is basically your typical Castlevania storyline: Kill Dracula because you are from the fabled Belmont bloodline blah blah blah. You have to gather Dracula's various body parts (including his peni-...legs!) like in HOD and SOTN, and then...rebuild Dracula like a Gundum model or something so you can fight him. Yipiee.

It pokes fun at a lot of castlevania aspects, as well as having a few camio "quotes" in it. It is humerous to a point, though not really funny enough (of course, there are very few spoken lines anyway, so I guess they made do with what they had)
    Gameplay...oh man, how...interesting. The game is an RPG a degree. Basically you use your whip a lot to beat up enemies. After you kill enemies you gain "hearts" like in the rest of the Castlevania games. These are basically MP that can be used on sub-weapons when you acquire them. There are no healing items at all (save save points [tee he he! .........shoot me]), which means you get to heal by...defending! (horrible memories of Legend of Dragoon burst into my head).

What else do you do? Well, you wander around huge maps consisting of various puzzles, from switching the green book on a bookshelf to moving rocks, to sliding through waterways. All the while having the random battle enounter be on WAY too high. Not only that, but if you don't have any sub-weapons, battles will take you FOREVER because you never level up. This really frustrated me a lot. I would understand if battles were few and far between, but since they came every bloody 10 or less steps, on maps that are MAZES, I really got frustrated (and bored!) fast.

A neat aspect (though implimented a bit poor) was the day-night transactions. Basically the screen would go dark and it would be...night. A few things were different, but overall it was just dark. However, this script was really buggy for me. I don't know if it is based off of steps or a timer, but the periods were WAY off. It was day for a LONG time, then it was night for about ten seconds, then day for about ten seconds, then night for about five seconds, then a flash, then day for a really long time. This was really annoying because I sat infront of that @#$in boss waiting for night to come and it didn't. FIX THIS. PLEASE.
    Battles are, as mentioned above, blazingly tedious. Though they do get a bit better after acquiring sub-weapons, they are really dull in general. The overall originality of them was a great idea, but it was wasted by the fact that the random battles came too often and that sub-weapons were difficult to find.

Basically battles go like this. Almost all enemies do only 1 damage to you. Defending heals 2 hp. You have 20 HP, so you have to be careful. So you get into a battle and...there is an enemy. So you wack him, he wacks you back for a while. You are down to 10 hp. Next battle: three enemies.

Oh crap.

So yeah, you are dead, and since save points are basically hidden, you probably have to start over. Yay.

Basically I spent 90% of the time defending trying to get my health back up. This was really dull, especially because "Defence" was three things down on the slider, so sometimes I didn't move fast enough and lost the 2 hp I was trying to heal. ARGH.

If you are going to attempt this monster, be aware that you will be spending a lot of time in battles. A LOT. Oh, did I mention you can't run?
  Map Design
    Maps are dull, but satasfactory for a contest game with limited resources. They basically pull back to the basics: NPC push, water sliding, and maze "find the secret" puzzles. These are overall decently done. The only downer is that incredibly high random battle encounter, which basically breaks all the maps down the seams. Help me.
    Balance is very precise, which is a good idea. If you are defending you recieve no damage, which is good. The downer is defence doesn't last an entire turn; it only lasts about one second (or less), so the odds of getting attacked are low.

Battles are hard, I'll say that. Very hard. Balance could be improved to make them less difficult (giving more HP won't fix this), or at least less tedious. I honestly have no problem doing lots and lots of battles, but if they are as dull and cut-throat as just isn't very fun.
    The music is two Castlevania tunes (which I converted to Bam, thank you very much). The joke is I converted something around 25 and MCW only used two, and the day I wrote this review I converted some insane number around 71 and MCW is only going to use about 20 of them. Oh well, I got to listen to some cool Castlevania music I guess.

The tunes fit, though I did find better ones when converting, to be honest :D. But they are nothing bad, though having more certainly would help, because these get old really fast. Especially the battle theme, because you will fight around 1000 battles in this game before finishing it (if you survive that long).
    I started out enjoying it, but my enthusiasm burnt down rapidly. This game is really hard and REALLY TEDIOUS, which is something I really hate. I could take hard battles if I felt I was improving my character or doing something better in the game's long run, but just fighting them to fight I was thinking back to games with bad gameplay like Legend of Dragoon or "Never Go West," which isn't a good thing for me to be thinking.

The Castlevania references are hilarious, but besides that there is nothing to keep me engrossed. I was ready to quit about ten minutes in, and I still had quite a few more hours to go.
Final Blows
    Games need four things to be fun to play: Gameplay, Music, Story (dialogue), and Graphics. Considering MCW, Me, and Aeth only had limited resources to work with, I commend them for making a rather large game with some potentially nice touches. But the horendious battles really make me mad. Of course, it is a bit like the old-school Castlevanias, where you kill hordes of those ever-spawning "medusa heads" without gaining any reward, but that is much different.

Overall, I would only recommend this to a die-hard Castlevania fan, and even they may be turned away. If you don't like Castlevania you can still play it (it is funny on its own), but be prepared for a long ride.

To the authors: a worthy effort, and well done with the resources. The battle system is ingeniously Castlevania. Though the score is low, I still commend you for a job well done. Keep it up.
Three i's! THREE i's!!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

Three i's! THREE i's!!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
Final Scores
Graphics: 4.5/10.0
Consdering what they were given, the trio did a decent job, though it was really really blue. Making the entire game non-contest 8-bit style would be really awesome, though it is...ok as it is *coughmangustilemapscough*
Storyline: 6/10.0
Gameplay: 2/10.0
Help me, it was boring. I really liked the Castlevania aspect of it though. A lot. Maybe if a full-scale game with less obnoxious puzzles (and random enounters) were made it would do the system justice. But for now it is pretty much a mess.
Music: 6/10.0
Not bad. It is Castlevania, is Vampire Hunter (yay!). I would have picked different ones (Bloody Tears! Bloody Tears!), but overall not bad. More tunes would be nice but...yeah. Limited resources.
Enjoyment: 3/10.0
It was funny at first, but it was downhill from there. The puzzles weren't too hard, but the battles sure were. I didn't have much fun with the battles, so I didn't leave this game on a happy note.
Overall Grade: D+
Final Thoughts
    Picasso's blue era has nothing on this. "I'm blue da do de da do di..", ok I killed the joke. Funny game, difficult battles, long experience. You have been warned.  

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