My copy of Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon arrived from LRG yesterday, and I'm thrilled. Castlevania is one of my absolute favorite series of all time (not that I'm good at the games), and this game is the new Castlevania in everything but name. The developer, the music, the look, the feel. It's all classic Castlevania. And Curse Of The Moon is the intended 'prequel' of the series. It purposefully mimmics the original 8-bit CV games - a trilogy very near and dear to my heart. Luckily, unlike say, what Mighty No 9 did with Mega Man, this game pulls off the feat flawlessly.
I should note that this is not my first time playing Curse Of The Moon. It's complicated. When it first launched, I was like "eh, I'll wait for the inevitible physical release on Switch." But then for some stupid reason, when it was released on the Xbox digital store, I bought it there because I had a gift card. So this was in June, and I'd find myself gaming a lot out on the back pateo on the weekends or after dinner. Which meant, I was playing Switch instead of Xbox. So I figured I'd just wait until October rolled around and me and my wife would play it together as we often focus on spooky games together in October. But when October came my wife was suffering from "morning sickness," which is really apparently "all the time sickness." So we didn't really play any games together that month. Thus, when the physical version WAS finally announced for Switch, it was an insta-buy for me.
Anyway, I'm thrilled to finally be playing this the way I originally wanted to. And it looks absolutely stunning on the Switch's screen in handheld mode. I'd say that of the originally trilogy, this game leans hardest into Castlevania III, which is cool with me. I've always felt that one was underrated. Most notably, Curse Of The Moon has you recruit three other characters that you can swap between - each with their own unique skillset. Also, even though the levels are pretty much linear, there are alternate paths through them, some of which are only accessible to certain characters.
I'm bad with names. But the main dude is your standard Belmont type. His main weapon is a little dagger thing sort of like when you start out in Symphony Of The Night. But he can get some whip sub-weapons. Then there's the girl who's my favorite to play as with her higher jump, longer range whip, and slide ability. There's an alchamist who feels less interesting to play as offensively, but has a cool little forcefield thing he can use. And then there's a vampire dude who... well, you've played Castlevania III. You get it.
Oh, real quick: the music is amazing. So good. Classic Castlevania soundtrack right here. Love it.
The first level starts out as a throwback to the first level of the original Castlevania and feels so authentic. Then you're on a train, and it concludes with a bossfight against a big train thing. His patterns are really easy to figure out and he's mostly a pushover. Though I should note that the inclusion of these last sort of desperation attacks the bosses throw at you are interesting. The second stage is sort of an icy level and you fight a big turtle thing at the end. Third stage feels like some kind of labyrinth and the boss fight is against... a big pile of money or something? It's weird. But unique. The fourth stage concludes with a fight against a giant two-headed serpent that takes up most of the screen. It's amazing. I love this boss fight.
And that's where I left off for the night. Great game. I'll keep at it!
And I beat Curse Of The Moon last night!
Well, I mean, I beat the normal mode. There's still Nightmare Mode and all that. But hey, that just means replayability for later. Curse Of The Moon is such a fantastic "new Castlevania" game. It really nails the feel of those early 8-bit entries. And I thought that the four characters were really unique and interesting enough that it made swapping between them actually feel like it mattered in how a level was approached.
There's a boss that's pretty clearly just Elizabeth Bathory, and that part was AWESOME. The last level that had the swarm of bats chasing you was pretty tricky at times. Tense at least. And the last boss was interesting and challenging enough that it took me a few tries to figure out what I even needed to be doing. And I LOVE the art design of all the bosses in this game. Super impressive stuff. It was just announced that Ritual Of The Night finally has a release date for next month, and I'm pumped.