Castlevania 64 - Worst of the series?


Oct 6, 2013
Law Office
Nintendo DS
I loved playing Castlevania SotN on the PS 1. It was the best Castlevania to date. When I heard that that there was going to be a Castlevania on the N64, I played it. I was very disappointed though since it did not transition from 2D to 3D quite well. What do you think of Castlevania 64?
It was pretty awful, but at least Legacy of Darkness improved on the original Castlevania 64. I actually sat down and played through the entire game.
Technically, it's just "Castlevania" and not, "Castlevania 64". Even the cover box doesn't have the "64" in the title. Tho, it is commonly called "Castlevania 64" by the fans, and pretty much most other people. So there is that.

However, I recall the game being pretty terrible. I never beat it, myself. In fact, I gave up on it fairly early, to be honest. The motorcycle riding skeleton's had me questioning the game early on. After making it into the castle, I only ventured a little bit into it, before giving up and moving on to other games. However, I had one friend who hated it at first, but kept playing it just because it was Castlevania, and he ended up enjoying it by the end. Yeah, can you believe it, he actually enjoyed it. He started praising the game, regardless of it's flaws. He highly enjoyed it, and eventually, went on to beat it.

Last week, when I was picking up The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Collector's Edition, with the Ganondorf statue, at Gamestop, I ran into an old coworker from a previous job. We talked about this and that. But we ended up discussing Castlevania for a bit, because the Lords of Shadow game is coming soon. Another friend happened to show up to pick up their copy of Zelda as well, and we all got into a conversation about games. Including Castlevania, and we all pretty much bashed Castlevania for the N64 as being the worst one that we've played.

So, I have gone online to look up some reviews of this game, and, to my surprise, it's gotten fairly decent reviews. IGN gave it an 8.2/10. GamePro gave it a 90/100. EGM gave it an 88/100. Gamespot gave it a 4.5/5. Most reviews saying that the first level is bland, but the game really opens up and becomes more "Castlevania-like" the farther you get. And that the first level was mostly caused by 2 things. 1, it being Konami's first foray into the 3D gaming world. And 2, the game was rushed out for the holiday sales, and not completely finished before being released. Which happens to a lot of games. One thing that I praise Nintendo for not doing, as they have no problem pushing a game back and skipping the holiday sales in order to make sure that they actually complete the game, and release a quality product, as opposed to only caring about the money and holiday sales. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze being the most recent example. Most other companies would of just released it so that they could get the holiday sales, regardless of the final quality of the game. But not Nintendo, they care more about the quality of the product for the fans, than they do about the money that they could potentially make off of holiday sales. That's thinking "long term" over "short term".

Anyways, Castlevania was clearly rushed, as they even had to drop 2 full playable characters in order to be able to release it on time. As there were originally going to be 4 playable characters in the game. Each unique. Instead, we only got two. I decided to look up some video reviews as well, and I found this. ...

This video review seems to cover the average online review out there. Of course, what's weird is, everybody I know, except for that one person, didn't like the game. Only one person liked it. Of course, he is also the only person that I know who actually completed the game as well. For years, I have only ever heard negative things about it, including from myself. But I never put much time or effort into it, to be honest. That said, with all of these 'positive' reviews around, I might actually go back and give it a full chance now. I'm thinking of popping it in and playing it from start to finish, and giving it a full chance at a 'second opinion'.

Honestly, I was all prepared to come in here and bash the game. But, with all of these 'positive' reviews for Catlevania, I'm starting to think that I should go back and give it another chance, just for the sake of being fair to the game, since I never gave it much of a chance, seeing as how I had kept hearing bad things about it before I even started it. I won't have time to get to it right now, as I'm in the middle of a few other games. But soon, hopefully.
You should go back and give it another shot, because quite frankly you quit too soon. The thing I've learned is that often times the only way to really understand a game is to finish, and honestly if you've put money into it you might as well complete it at least once. That said I have odd feelings about this game - on the one hand there were some pretty interesting add-ins further on, but the fact the first hour or so feels like a slog and then the middle game is kind of boring doesn't really help. Still it isn't that horrible a game and skeletons on motorcycles remains hilarious.
Yeah, I think I will get back to it.. at some point. For now tho, I have too many other games "on my plate", to go back and play it now. However, there were a lot of games over the years that I didn't beat. I'd buy game after game after game, play them for a bit, but then move on to new game after new game after new game. Only trying to beat the games that I truly loved, and wanted to beat. So, over time, there were tons of games that I never beat. That's why I started my quest to beat every game that I own... starting with the 3DS. That was the first system where I started that goal, and as such, I have gone out of my way at times to beat everything that I bought for it. The Wii U was the very next system that I got, so I also decided to keep that goal with that system too. So far, I'm doing alright for myself. I haven't beaten every game, yet. Tho, I have gotten close a few times. But with new releases constantly flowing, it's going to be hard to keep this up the longer and longer the systems are out. Still, I persevere onward. However, I don't plan on continuing that goal with any other systems. 1 system is do-able. 2 systems is also do-able, but knowing my game buying habit, I can see myself owning a lot of games for both systems. Plus, I'll end up buying other games for other systems. So 3 or more might prove to be too much. 2 is manage-able, if you keep up with it.

That said, yeah, I didn't read any reviews on the game. Even when it was new. Reviews have never been a big factor to me. I'll take the word of a friend over the word of a review any day. Mainly because, I know my friends, and what type of games that they like, and thus, can make a good judgement on games for them, as well as they could for me. And usually, we are spot on. So when I kept hearing how bad this game was, and then I finally got to play it myself, I wasn't impressed with the game, and wasn't interested in it while playing it. However, that was years ago. Now, I like going back and playing older games. I've found that some games that I liked then, I don't like as much. And, at the same time, I find some games that I didn't like then, that I've come to like. Just time.. I guess. Of course, there are still games that I love, and still games that I hate. However, there are a few, here and there, that I have changed my mind on. So I'm down with going back and playing games again, that I haven't played in a long time. So I'll eventually get back to this game. Can't do it now, as I'm too busy with current games, and, the holiday season is approaching upon us, so more and more games are coming. So I'll be busy for a while. No time to go back. But, this game is on my list of games to go back and play again. At some point in time.
The N64 Castlevanias were the worst in the series for a while, until the more recent 3D Castlevania games started coming out on PS2/PS3/360 etc.

The last decent Castlevania game was Order of Ecclesia for DS.
I've tried so hard to try to like Castlevania 64 but I just can't get into it. It's a combination of the lack of music and floaty controls. If the controls were a bit tighter and there was ACTUAL music instead of mostly just ambien noise I might have liked it. Those controls though.. eecch..
It was the first Castlevania game in 3D and I felt disappointed after playing it. The game was not bad; the graphics and gameplay were OK. Death was an incredible boss. But something was missing. It could not retain the Castlevania spirit at all. And the control and cameras were impossible.
I only played the game once or twice. To answer your question, I think it was pretty bad. SOTN was such a great game, that Castlevania 64 had a tough act to follow. While I wouldn't have minded it not living up to SOTN, I don't think it even got in the same league. The transition to 3D was handled poorly, the controls were sluggish, and getting through the game was frustrating.
The problem it has.. it tried to do a SOTN but in 3D whereas they should have gone classic style in 3d it would have been better.
Yeah, perhaps they should have started with a little more modest set of goals for the game. Maybe they could have tried to play on the SOTN format more with later Castlevania releases. I don't blame Nintendo for trying though. SOTN was a highly rated success, and any company in their right mind would like to follow that trend.
I knew it was a disappointed Castlevania title before purchasing it, reviews were far from kind. To my surprise, I sort of enjoyed it even though it doesn't hold a candle to other titles in the series. I guess the reason for that is because I went in with low expectations. It's just one of those deeply flawed games that have a few fun play mechanics in place. Meaning that it's not a good game but good enough to waste a few hours on.