Review: Arcade Archives Haunted Castle – The Worst Castlevania? Quite Possibly

Sucks to be you.

Back in the early ’90s, Castlevania was mostly known for being a console series, with three entries on the NES, three on the Game Boy, and four total across the 16-bit platforms (assuming, of course, you consider the PC Engine to be a true 16-bit system). But early in the series’ life, Konami released an arcade game, known as Haunted Castle, which wasn’t a port of any other outing but rather an original title. It was a flop and didn’t see much distribution, being sort of a “lost” Castlevania until the advent of emulation in the late 1990s. But Konami has been keen to keep it in circulation recently, including it as both part of the Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection in 2019, and as a separate release in part of Hamster’s Arcade Archives series.

The story in most of the other Castlevania games typically revolved around Simon Belmont (and friends, if applicable) hunting down and beating up Count Dracula, because it was the good and proper thing for vampire killers to do. In Haunted Castle, Simon gets a bit of extra motivation with his wife being kidnapped by the nefarious vampire literally seconds after walking out of the wedding chapel. The goofy manner in which the classic Wedding March song turns sour as the clouds go ominous and Simon’s lady friend is swiped away, leaving him inhis iwhite tuxedo looking mildly irritated, helps set the off-kilter tone of this incredibly frustrating entry.

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