As the title of the game should no doubt tip you off, this is a remake of the original Castlevania brought to the modern age by the Unreal Engine 4. There is no intro or anything of the sort, you are thrown into the first level right from the get go and it is immediately stunning to see such a familiar sight in a brand new, high-definition light. The original low detailed statue sprites are now 3D textured models with an equally impressive nighttime background. No time to stand and gawk however, there is monsters to kill and a timer to beat.
When you move you are likely to notice that it feels a bit off. It is more sluggish and less responsive. Crouching also takes an unusual amount of time. Walking around the stage it perfectly recreates where every candle, item and enemy from the original are placed. It stays very faithful to its inspiration so if you know where the secrets are in the original they are right where you remember them to be in this remake. The music is ripped right from Castlevania in all it’s 8-bit glory, further adding to the nostalgia fuel.
Probably the biggest change is in the combat itself. No longer does the whip jab right at the enemy, now it takes a bit more time to wind up as Simon reels back then attacks from the side. This change honestly does not fit in very well, not only is it awkward to use with fast enemies charging at you but it will occasionally miss if the enemy is too close. It is a glitch as it occurs about 1 out of every 5 times with my short amount of testing with the zombies. Funnily enough, this had me avoiding collecting the whip upgrades as having a longer whip seems to be the problem.
One change for the better is that the sub-weapons are now bound to a button. It’s not true to the original in that regard, but with all these extra keys/buttons I personally greatly approve of this. You have all of the sub-weapons from the axe to the holy water to use against your foes. All work exactly like their original counterparts though the Stopwatch is slightly glitchy and at times will only stop their animations while leaving a giant bat spiraling right towards your face.
Yes, the bosses have made their way over as well and are back for a fight. Sadly, due to the controls/combat issues, they are not as fun to fight. Only the first two levels have been recreated, each exactly as you remember them. Once you finish off the second boss you’ll reach a stage that simply says work in progress which is no longer true. Konami ordered a Cease and Desist order that forbids any further work to be made on this project though they have left it up to be downloaded which is cool of them.
With some further tweaking, this really could have been something, making it all the more unfortunate. In its current state, it is still worth a play however. You simply download both the rar files, combine them and are ready to play. Keep in mind there are no graphic options so those with a weak PC may find it unplayable as it is on the Unreal 4 Engine. On the flip side, it works with controllers right from the get go making it a very easy game to set up for anyone with a decent PC. All in all, it is a neat experience seeing Castlevania being dragged from the mid-80s into the present day and one fans may want to witness for themselves.
Link to download game here