We’re in early 1988 now- It’s been a journey to this point. And now- we are going to talk about one of Konami’s most polarizing games. Let’s take a walk though the Haunted Castle… and see if it’s as bad as a lot of people say- when it’s compared to the Vs. System counterpart.
The game was initially developed as an original horror action game unrelated to the Castlevania series.
At some point during the development period, which was around six months, the game was in bad shape, quality and schedule-wise. Reportedly, the project was short-staffed. The head of Konami ordered people who were working on a completely different project, called Hot Chase, to help out with the project, one of which was Masaaki Kukino.
It was decided to retool the game into an entry in the Castlevania series. The development team alongside the Hot Chase team spend one month redrawing all the sprites in order to make the game’s atmosphere match up with that of Castlevania. Furthermore, unfinished stages and characters were completed and the quality of the player and enemy sprites was improved, as well as their effects and attacks. The schedule left no room for any big additions or changes. However, the concept of the crumbling bridge in the last stage was conceived during that stage of development.
During this stage of development, the protagonist’s identity was changed to Simon Belmont. However, Haunted Castle was specifically made for the arcades and it’s not a port of the original Castlevania. Due to complicated mechanics posing a problem in arcade games, it was decided the game should be different from the previous two Castlevania games. Despite this, Haunted Castle was advertised as being “the ultimate version of the game that appeared on the Famicom and MSX“. The game is also often labeled as a “remake” of the original Castlevania by Konami, despite almost sharing nothing in common.
This game was never given a dedicated cabinet- as the Nintendo VS. cabinet version came out about a year earlier.
Enough Jibber Jabber- how bad is this game? Let’s find out!
This a great video on the comparisons between, the Vs port, Haunted Castle, and the NES port of Castlevania.
Sadly, Haunted Castle did not get a home port. All three games can be played via the Castlevania Collection and Arcade Archives series. No relation.
So- what do I think of Haunted Castle? I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone says. The graphics and soundtrack are top notch. It’s a tough game, but looking at visuals like this, you want to keep playing to see more! We wouldn’t see a better looking Castlevania game for another four years with the release of Super Castlevania 4 on the SNES. Just look at this!
What do you think of Haunted Castle? Have you played it? How does it compare with any of the other games in the series?
Let me know in the comments!
Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!