79. Super Castlevania IV

Super Castlevania IV (1991, SNES) by Konami

Current Any% 1 Loop Leaderboard (speedrun.com)

Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
-Castlevania X (SNES)
-Castlevania (N64)
-Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (N64)

Super Castlevania IV, the 1991 16-bit entry by Konami, was the 5th and final Castlevania game I had to learn for the Trials, and the 2nd one along with Symphony of the Night that I had never played previously.  Once I picked this game up for the first time, I was enamored with it.  The smooth graphics, tight and well-designed controls, and banging soundtrack made it a blast to play, and it felt so satisfying.  I was truly excited to learn speedrun strats for this game, and spent a good amount of time learning how to progress through this wonderful casual game with haste and… oh.  I died.  Reset, let’s try again.  Oh… I died again… Reset…

Oh.  I died again.

But the thing is, you might be thinking that I died because the game is difficult.  And that it is, but that’s not what I mean.  This game has some of the most quirky quirks I’ve ever seen in a speedrun.  Specifically, how things seemingly change whenever the game feels like it.  For example, this game allows you to jump onto stairs by holding the up button on the D-Pad.  But on occasion, you will fall right through the stairs, as if you weren’t holding up.  Usually, this tends to happen over an open pit or over spikes.  Another example is how your subweapons and whip will pass right through enemies and candles, again typically at the absolutely worst time possible.  Rings glitch out, releasing you despite holding “Y”.  Lag causes you to lose momentum.  It’s truly an unfair aspect of an otherwise terrific game that caused me to question my skills, and brought me to the brink of giving up and throwing my SNES off the balcony!

It’s a shame, too, because this game has some of the coolest speed tech on the SNES.  The zip in stage A is really cool, and the ring glitch allows for a fun skip, although I declined to use those in my speedruns due to their high risk.  Each section has a fun main route, with strategies not dissimilar to Castlevania III in their scope and excitement.  Using i-frames, damage boosting, and fast kills, you zoom through sections designed to take much longer, and in doing so you can do them much safer as well.   Using the cross, you can target the many enemy obstacles throughout the stages, and quickly dispatch the bosses.

This was a satisfying Trial to complete, despite it causing me insane amounts of stress and anger.  Losing multiple runs to the late game because of the stairs, rings, and hitboxes was enough to make me almost quit.  I’m glad I didn’t… but I’m glad I will never have to play this speedrun again.  Although… perhaps someday I might feel tempted to try again.

It was fun… except whe- oh… I died again…

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