So Konami is back with its Second offering in its anniversary celebration. This time it is offering up its dark classic Castlevania.
Castlevania is a series that will later be defined by its gameplay style sharing the term Metroidvania with Nintendo’s classic series. This collection focuses on a time before Symphony of the Night redefined what it meant to be a Castlevania title. The titles found in this collection consist of 8 games spread across NES, Snes, Game Boy and Mega Drive (Genesis) and while gameplay will be familiar to people who only got into the series in the later years, things like backtracking and the RPG style mechanics are not found here and the games instead follow a more traditional level based structure.
Now I’m not going to review each game as they are untouched classics and there are plenty of reviews of the games themselves out there. So instead I’m going to focus on the emulation of the overall package.
Having played the Nintendo games before on original hardware from what I can tell everything is running perfectly (apart from one which I’ll get to). Now I’m not into pixel sizes and that kind of minute detail, but to me, the games look spot on regardless of platform. Also, there are no problems with sound emulation which can be a problem that some emulated titles face due to specific sound chips on specific consoles. So visuals sound and performance were all spot on apart from one title.
(Pictured above, scanlines vs original)
The first Castlevania on the Gameboy does not play well at all. It’s very juddery and struggles to hold a good framerate. Now I don’t know, because I never played original, but this could just be how the game was, but considering the sequel is leaps and bounds better I think it could be a problem on the emulation side of things.
Talking of the emulation side of things, Konami has included the option to change your borders while playing if too don’t like black. You also have filters and can change the aspect ratio to 16:9. Personally, I find this stretches the image in a way that just makes the games ugly so I leave at default. You can also add things like pixel filters to smooth out the image or add scanlines to emulate CRT. I personally found all the filters to be a bit rubbish and they actually degrade the image and it ends up dark and muddy looking.
All in, the Castlevania Aniversary Collection is well worth the asking price to get your hands on some quality titles. On the emulation side of things I have seen things done better with more useful filters on offer, but other than that, it’s worth a trip back down memory lane, even if just for the amazing soundtracks.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*