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Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:43 am
by Ziggy587
Almost 10 years ago we had a thread comparing Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. A similar comparison can be made between Castlevania 3 and 4. I thought it would be fun to run a poll and have a thread for this discussion.

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Castlevania IV has the better graphics and sound, that's no contest. Some people aren't a fan of the larger player sprite (some people have the same complaint for Mega Man 7). I've also heard the complaint that the game is now too easy because Simon can whip in any direction and change direction in mid jump.

One thing I really like about IV over 3 is the dedicated button for your sub weapon. In 3, you have to hold up and press attack to use your sub weapon. This makes it annoying to use your sub weapon on or around stairs. It can be hard to use your sub weapon, in the direction you want to face, while on stairs. And if you're next to stairs you may accidentally start walking up them instead of using the sub weapon, which will usually result in your taking a hit.

But here's the main two arguments you see: Multiple playable characters and branching paths.

CV3 has 4 playable characters. Trevor, Grant, Sypha and Alucard. CV4 only has 1, Simon. One could argue that Simon's new abilities makes it a little different than just a loan NES Belmont. But the additional characters in CV3 definitely make that gameplay a lot more diverse. Alucard can turn into a bat and fly. Grant and climb on walls and ceilings. Sypha's sub weapons are powerful magic spells. But one of the main arguments for Super Mario 3 versus World is that 3 had a ton of power ups and World only had a couple. I think the same argument can apply to World and 4, sometimes less is more. In World, they refined the flying ability to make it much more powerful, and Yoshi is the single most amazing power up ever. In CV4, Simon is a lot more powerful. He can whip in any direction, jump onto stairs, and use his whip to swing adding a whole new layer to the platforming. CV4 may only have a quarter of the amount of playable characters that CV3 had, but they focused on adding more depth to that single playable character.

Then there's branching paths. Here's an honest question... Are branching paths actually better than a linear path? Branching paths did add a lot of replay value to CV3, especially since different paths lead to different playable characters. I had a lot of fun replaying CV3 to try and find all the possible paths. But I don't think I had any more fun than I did playing through CV4 for the first time.

These days, I kind of prefer the single linear path. I've played both games many times, and I'd prefer to be able to play through all of the levels in a single go. If you want to play every level in CV3, you have to play through it at least 3 times (or 4?). This is nice if it's your first time with the game, but it's more of a chore for me at this point. And I know I'm not the only person to feel that way.

Castlevania 3 - Linear Version: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4735/

This above linked hack makes it so that you can play every level in CV3 with a single play through. If it's your first time playing the game, I highly recommend playing the vanilla game with the branching paths. But this hack is really nice for people that have beaten the game many times over. I've grown to appreciate the linear path of CV4. Maybe it's the "more time to play video games as a kid than as an adult" thing. But I just recently played through CV3 using the above linear hack and had a blast. I would have done a different level order, but it was a pleasure being able to play every level in the game in a single go. And it made me realize there's a couple of levels that I almost never play.

I always thought CV3 and CV4 had about the same amount of levels. A quick Google says that CV3 has 15 and CV4 has 11 levels. So CV3 has 4 more levels, but again, you can't ever play them all in a single go. You'd have to start form the beginning 3 or 4 times.

CV3 might have a few more levels, but I'm not sure how they're being counted. There's a lot of repeated content in CV3. Did they count the clock tower twice? I kind of view that as one level. Did they count both parts of the forest? I count that as one level as well. CV3 also reuses a couple of bosses. You realize this a lot more when you play the linear version. You fight the cyclops 3 times, the mummies 2 or 3 times, and the gargoyle twice. The next time I play through CV3, I'll have to count the levels myself.

One other common reason you hear that CV4 was a step back from CV3 is the fight against Dracula. The below spoiler tag contains spoilers for CV3 and CV4!
A lot of people say that the CV3 fight against Dracula is a lot more epic than 4. In CV3, Drac has 3 forms that you fight. In CV4, Drac has 3 phases but only 1 form. I will admit, in CV4 when Simon's Theme kicks in during the last phase, that was really cool. But only one form? Is this the only home console CV game that Drac doesn't have more than one form?

Although, in CV4 you do fight 4 bosses in a row (Dracula being the fourth) and that's pretty epic in its own right. The music during the first 3 bosses is tense as hell. Then, after you beat Death, the prologue music kicks in and the candles light up and you walk past them. The mood and atmosphere is amazing. I'll never forget experiencing that for the first time.


I'm voting that both are equally as great. There are things that I love about both games. And with the controls and sprite size, they both feel like two totally different games to me.

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:01 am
by PartridgeSenpai
It's an easy vote for IV for me. CV 3, and to a similar extent all the NES Casltevanias, have always felt difficult well past the point of fun to me. Simon's slow, deliberate style mixed with his limited sub-weapons and very limited attack range has made for experiences that frustrate me far more than they provide fun. CV 3's extra levels and characters don't do anything to alleviate the simple problem that NES Castlevania is often frustrating and not fun to play for me.

CV IV gives Simon such better play control and attack options that it feels like I finally have a fighting chance, and it makes the whole experience that much more engaging. Actually having a range of directions for your whip means the game is far less difficult, and by extension far more fun for me to play. I don't like action games that are just constantly beating me down because I haven't been able to perfectly memorize exactly how I'm supposed to get up to a boss who will then just kill me super quick because I can barely react before I'm dead. CV IV is my favorite Castlevania of the non-Metroid-y variety because it is consistently challenging and fun but never feels deliberately frustrating like so many of its counterparts do.

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:00 pm
by MrPopo
PartridgeSenpai wrote:CV IV gives Simon such better play control and attack options that it feels like I finally have a fighting chance,

Weirdly, I feel like the control in CV IV feels much worse than the NES CVs. The change in sprite size throws off the feeling to me.

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:33 pm
by Ziggy587
MrPopo wrote:
PartridgeSenpai wrote:CV IV gives Simon such better play control and attack options that it feels like I finally have a fighting chance,

Weirdly, I feel like the control in CV IV feels much worse than the NES CVs. The change in sprite size throws off the feeling to me.


CV4 was the first CV game that I ever played. I played it for many years before trying another game from the series. I eventually got the NES games, and being use to CV4 you could imagine how hard the NES games felt to me. But eventually I tried more and more of the classic CV series. I played so much of 1, 3, Bloodlines, et cetera that after a while it was CV4 that felt weird to me.

CV4 is the most unique game of the classic series, in terms of control. You were able to whip in more than just one direction in a few of the other games, but CV4 is still the most open in terms of whip direction. Not just a full 8 directions, but also being able to flail it all around like you can. And jump control is also the most loose feeling. You can change direction in mid jump in other games, but CV4 is definitely the most correctable. You can jump on and off of stairs, which you can do in a few of the other games, but all of this combined definitely makes CV4 feel the most unique. Or the most different.

That can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you want to look at it. Having been the first game I ever played in the series, it was my favorite for the longest while. Then eventually, I grew to like some of the other games over CV4. There was a period that I really didn't care for the feel of CV4 anymore. But now, I just accept that it's different. It's an awesome hack and slash action platformer. It feels completely different than every other CV game, but it's still a great game in its own right.

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:45 pm
by noiseredux
MrPopo wrote:
PartridgeSenpai wrote:CV IV gives Simon such better play control and attack options that it feels like I finally have a fighting chance,

Weirdly, I feel like the control in CV IV feels much worse than the NES CVs. The change in sprite size throws off the feeling to me.


Thank you!

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:32 pm
by Sload Soap
I voted for Super Castlevania but honestly neither option is the best of either era for me, unlike the SMB3 and SMW comparison. I replayed a lot of Castlevania this year and when I got to Dracula's Curse I found it a bit under designed as far as the branching paths and the playable characters go. There just isn't enough utility for me to switch from Trevor too often and I echo Partridge in that it too often strays from fun challenge to frustrating grind. I appreciate the effort and it's a much better thought out attempt at mixing things up than Simon's Quest which is a fascinating mess. I just prefer the simplicity of Castlevania and these days Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon does what Dracula's Curse did, better.

I do like Super Castlevania a lot, it's got a bit of a weak (for Castlevania) soundtrack and is maybe a tad too easy (again, for Castlevania) but it is an undoubted classic. However it feels very safe, which is fine, but Rondo and Bloodlines just have a bit more edge for me in terms of playability and music. Iron Blue Intention alone knocks the SCIV soundtrack into a cocked hat. That said the 16-bit games are generally closer in quality so that's why my vote is for SCIV.

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:33 am
by Ack
I feel like Super Castlevania IV is the much easier to pick up and play of the two. I remember going in with no experience and clearing 3/4s of the game without an issue the first time I played it. A couple more attempts, and I had bested the game.

Now as for whether you consider its low difficulty a good thing is a whole other matter...

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:53 am
by marurun
There's a bit not to like in Super Castlevania IV, but I think the variety of new enemies, the excellent composition of the new tracks (even if the instrument samples themselves aren't spectacular), the new and interesting level themes (treasury, library, etc...), and the most accessible gameplay (I wouldn't call the game downright easy, however) make it a stronger title on the whole than Castlevania 3. But it isn't a runaway victory, by any stretch. While Castlevania 3's levels can run a bit long and don't all exhibit exacting design, the alternate characters are all designed quite well, the music is some of the best on the NES (both versions are, the non-Japanese down-graded tracks AND the VR6 enhanced original tracks), and I do enjoy the branching paths quite a bit.

No Castlevania fan should be caught without both in their collection. That said, neither of these are, IMO, but best classic Castlevania game. They are excellent, certainly, but my very favorite title is not among them.

Re: Castlevania 3 versus 4

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:42 pm
by sevin0seven
..I love both! but if I were to choose only one; I would go with Castlevania III. I've finished both games numerous times, but overall I had a greater experienced with Trevor Belmont and the gang. I actually find myself re-playing III more than IV and I think that speaks volume. Sure, IV had better graphics (Mode 7 effects helped to); but I have seen more so called remakes with III inspired graphics (hello bloodstained curse of the moon, and other a likes) and heck even a Netflix animated series. With IV; well there's a super famicom version that is uncensored that could be worth re-playing if your into that sort of stuff :wink: ....but wait; III had a famicom version with superior soundtrack!... anyway, the third time is a charm. 8)