Lots of stuff going on; I almost forgot about this!
I want to kick this entry off with a YouTube video that serves two purposes. One, it showcases the powerful effect of Holy Water in Castlevania; this video quite literally overhauled the way I look at the game. Two, it features one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite chiptune artists, Cheap Dinosaurs.
Now that you've chewed on that, you can see how handy this item is. Even if you were already well aware, I most certainly was not. In fact, my history with the series had my friends and I avoiding Holy Water by any means necessary, as if its essence would spill out into Belmont's grip and burn him like the sinner he surely is.
So yes, it was Holy Water that got me over that ages-old obstacle of Death. Though my victory over every man's inevitable defeat remains a programmed illusion, I found solace in the concept of besting the Reaper, even in this virtual world.
Death remains just that, though: an obstacle. The real Summit of Man's Might rests atop Dracula's castle, and the battle to get there offers up some of Castlevania's fiercest challenges yet. Against the odds, my accomplishment awoke in me a primal drive to finally see this game to its end, and see it I did.
Let's talk about Dracula for a second. Though we won't get to speak of the ULTIMATE Drac fight for a few more entries, the battle that goes down in Castlevania is pretty worthy of a final boss. Just look at that smug bastard!
But it's not until you whip his freakin' head off that he reveals his true form. As cartoons, comics and games have taught us, the Japanese have an interesting concept of Count Dracula. He is somewhat of a snaggletooth'd gremlin-devil here, and he'll wallop ya! There's nothing more crushing than facing defeat near the end of a boss's second form, but it makes the win that much sweeter, and it's one of many reasons I couldn't stop talking about finally beating Castlevania after so many years.
For those wondering, I did indeed involuntarily pump my fist and exclaim "Yes!" like a sugar-struck child of roughly 11.
Most importantly, I feel like I can fully appreciate the game now. I've called it cheap many times in my life, but it's really not. Like many NES games, it has its fair share of "issues," but it's pretty well designed and it holds up to repeat play. Best of all is the fact that you can start right at level one after the credits roll, kicking off a much more difficult version of the game.
While you bask in my personal glory, I leave you with another song:
Listen: Wicked Child
Coming up next: Simon's Quest!