Tag Archives: Konami

Dracula Densetsu

Reviews
Dracula Densetsu - Title Screen
Hardware: Game Boy
10/27/1989 (Japan), 12/15/1989 (US), 09/28/1990 (EU)
ドラキュラ伝説
The Legend of Dracula
Castlevania: The Adventure
Support from Konami of Nintendo's handheld Game Boy console came quickly, and with titles from recognizable franchises early on. Castlevania was the first of such franchises, releasing right around six months after the platform itself.  Being the first real mainstream portable system, the early days of the Game Boy were a bit of a wild west. A lot of the releases tended to not be optimized for portable game play in one way or another. Castlevania: The Adventure/Dracula Densetsu didn't necessarily have that problem so much as it seemed to have been designed by people who didn't really understand what qualities made the previous Castlevania games good. Or at the very least, their appetite for trying something new and different with the series was just a little too great. Continue Reading

Akumajou Dracula

Reviews
Haunted Castle - Title Screen
Hardware: Arcade
02/1988 (Japan), 09/1988 (US), 11/1988 (EU)
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil's Castle Dracula
Haunted Castle
The era in which a popular game franchise practically had to have an arcade installment was coming to a close in 1988, but it wasn't over yet. It still was common for a game to establish itself as a hit in the arcade, and then have either a compromised or completely different game appear as the home console port. Castlevania/Akumajou Dracula was one of most notable exceptions that wasn't developed by Nintendo, having already had two successful entries on the NES/Famicom Disk System. That was apparently the magic number to make someone at Konami think that it was about time for an arcade game. Alright, fine...technically the first arcade Castlevania game was VS. Castlevania, which was released in American arcades in 1987. I'm not going to count that though, simply because it was just Konami test marketing NES games (there were other Konami VS. arcade games as well) in arcades before the home versions were released. It was the NES Castlevania game inside of an arcade cabinet, with some adjustments to make the game more difficult so that it could take as much of your money as possible. Continue Reading

Gradius

Reviews
Gradius (Arcade) - Title Screen
Hardware: Arcade
05/29/1985 (Japan), 1985 (US), 09/1985 (PAL)
グラディウス
Nemesis
Gradius (originally titled "Choujikuu Fighter Gradius") wasn't the first shoot 'em up to grace arcades with its presence, in fact many big names came before it. Space Invaders, Xevious, Galaxian, Ozma Wars, and even western titles like Asteroids and Defender all came first. So why was Gradius significant? Not only did it introduce several "characters" that would reoccur throughout the Konami universe (The very ship that you control called the Vic Viper, Moai heads, etc), but because it fleshed out the details of exactly what the average horizontal shoot 'em up would become: A game about strict power-up management, and pattern observation/memorization, and reaction. This may sound negative, but shoot 'em up fans (myself included) have long since embraced what the genre is, and they really have Gradius to thank for making it that way. Continue Reading

Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin

Reviews
Castlevania II - Title Screen
Hardware: Famicom Disk System/NES
08/28/1987 (Japan), 12/1988 (US), 04/27/1990 (PAL)
ドラキュラII 呪いの封印
Dracula II: The Cursed Seal
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Almost one year after the original Castlevania/Akumajou Dracula game, the same team is back to give us a direct sequel on the Famicom Disk System/NES. The nonsensical Japanese naming convention for the series begins here, since instead of calling this "Akumajou Dracula II", Konami went with just "Dracula II". The same basic Castlevania action is still here though, and it feels pretty much the same in your hands as before. But it's 1987 now and Dragon Quest has been released in Japan, so what kind of action game would this be if it didn't have RPG elements? Japanese ads referred to it as an "RPG Horror Action" game, and the timer and score that were present before are now gone. But even though the flow of the game is significantly different, the story is very much a direct continuation. And just like before, it's only really explained well in the manual. Continue Reading

Gradius

Reviews
Hardware: Famicom/NES
04/25/1986 (Japan), 12/1986 (US), 11/30/1988 (PAL)
グラディウス
Nearly one year after the original, Gradius finally came home to the Famicom/NES. This home port does as respectable of a job as a Famicom game can of replicating the look and feel of the original. Sure you don't get the Big Core boss rising directly from the ashes of whatever thing came before it, or the full depth of music found in the arcade version, but at least this is a game that looks good and still has the original music scaled down for the Famicom. Continue Reading