STORY / GAMEPLAY
Although defeating Dracula in the first game, Simon Belmont (a vampire hunter) is stricken by a curse and desperately needs to discover five Dracula’s body parts in order to break the curse. But Simon's quest throughout the land of Transylvania will not be easy, as Dracula's minions (and other deadly beings and traps) will try to stop him. Simon arms himself with his legendary magic whip -the “Vampire Killer”- once again and starts his journey throughout the hostile land. The areas vary a lot and Simon must pass through several underground passages, haunted forests, mansions and moody towns. He must be alerted at all times as the daylight is his only ally during which enemies are not as strong as they can be during nightfall. At night, the foes become harder to deal with, zombies swarm towns and friendly people are hiding in terror inside their houses! The Nightfall is pretty hard for sure! Town people are really helpful during daylight and offer some nice hints. The shopkeepers sell items such as whip upgrades in exchange for hearts you gather by killing enemies or by smashing some candles. New to the series are several RPG elements, like the inventory and the leveling-up system that upgrades Simon's health every time he collects a specific amount of hearts. Note that, the game includes three different endings, depending on how long it takes you to complete it and how many continues you use to do so. Castlevania II is a great game at every aspect.
GRAPHICS / SOUND
Castlevania II has nice visuals and sounds, all combined into a fantastic scenario. The visuals are absolutely great, offering nicely drawn backdrops in areas such as forests, caves, towns, and mansions although I would prefer a better (and brighter) color palette in some areas. It is quite impressive to watch the daylight-nightfall changes. The sprites are beautifully drawn -though small- and smoothly animated. The sound is the game’s strongest point, offering fantastic tunes combined with nice sound FX. Note: The music actually follows the Castlevania series’ aural quality and we have another “gem” from Konami once more!