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Haunted Castle (the Arcade Version) Review

Al has a history of computer programming as well as game design. Alex loves 2D style video games.

The Games Features Creepy Enemies!

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Introduction

As it is known to those close to me, I love old school video games. So, when I saw this game available on the Switch, I decided to give it a chance. This arcade game, Haunted Castle, has now been ported onto the Nintendo Switch.

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On this port, you can choose to play the Japanese, North American, and European versions. I will be focusing on the Japanese version of the game. The game features portions that can be incredibly creepy. The pixel animations are wonderful and detailed. The animations are so detailed as to include a small area of the main character's leg moving whilst attacking.

These Creatures Are Terrifying.

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Music

First of all, I love the compositions in these kinds of the games from around the time of my youth. One of the things that surprised me the most was the inclusion of a rendition of the Castlevania classic opus Bloody Tears in level three. Overall, the music for this game is very good, and above average. The music in the first level is old timey, and a treat to the ears. The second level has music that is action packed. Level four has music that sounds include something similar to that of the nonconventional instrument. All of the music is good, and some of it is great.

"Haunted Castle" Version Of "Bloody Tears"

"Castlevania"

The game is incredibly similar to the Castlevania series. In fact, it is considered to be part of that series. The player starts the game with a whip. The primary enemy of the game is Dracula. The whip can be updated to a medieval mace and a sword. The sword is the most unique item for a game in this series. Movement is fairly stunted, a staple of the Castlevania games. There is also a secondary weapon, that can be used by pressing up while using the attack move. This second weapon can manifest as bombs, the power of the holy cross, and a boomerang.

A Single Tear...

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Gameplay

Inserting a coin results in the sound of a wolf howling. These coin insertions can be used to give extra lives, and to add health to the player. Regardless, the game is still very hard, even if it is fairly short (it was likely not an expectation that most players would get very far). The video game can be completed within half an hour. The game is a traditional platformer, like other Castlevania games.

The Medieval Mace

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The first level is left to right, but the next level starts from right to left (the reverse). By the third level, the player gets to enter a castle. One of the creepiest elements of the game are the angelic demons. I write "angelic" for lack of a simpler description. The beings look like angels, but are evil by their actions. There is a painting of a girl, and she sheds a single bloody tear, perhaps a visible ode to the music that is playing (Bloody Tears).

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The third level includes an enemy with very complicated attacks. The fourth level's boss has a super creepy appearance. The fifth level begins with a difficult part where your platform goes upward. In this level, the gear animations could have been improved; but, that is my only major criticism of the art. The remainder of the pixel art is marvelous.

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The sixth, and final, level starts with very good animation. The bridge begins to crumble as you walk, which must have been difficult if the player didn't have extra quarters! I honestly thought that I needed to fall to progress, but I kept walking until I got further into the game.

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Once the game is finished, the player finds himself at the beginning of the game all over again. I wish there was a longer ending, and more satisfaction to winning, but it appears to basically reset. That is one of my few critiques.

"Haunted Castle" Playthrough

Conclusion

Haunted Castle for the arcade is a stunningly well-made game. I would recommend giving it a try. It's very cheap on the Nintendo Switch, and could prove to be a new favorite in your collection. I loved the music, the pixel art, the gameplay, and noted how well the programming was incorporated. I give this game a five out of five stars!

A Sword!

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© 2021 Alexander James Guckenberger

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