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Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

If you’re a kid who grew up with the NES then you know that Konami was a big time player back in the day the came with hit after hit from Contra to the TMNT games and the most famous of them all being Castlevania! In recent years Konami has not been what the were in the early 00s and even the 90s. The reboot of the Castlevania series with the Lords of Shadows series was good with the first two games, it ultimately fell apart with LoS 2 in nearly all fronts and Konami has not mentioned the series in game form since that entry. We got the awesome Netflix animated series but as far as the games go not a peep! That’s where Koji Igarashi and Inticreates steps in with the Bloodstained series and the prequal to Ritual of the Night, Curse of The Moon which is a love letter to those who love old school Vania especially Dracula’s Curse (Iga’s favorite).

In Curse of the Moon we start assume the role of Zangetsu, a vengeful swordsman seeking to rid of whatever demonic entities on a revenge quest, while begrudgingly accepting the alliance of other humans who have gradually afflicted themselves with demonic powers and he will stop at nothing to vanquish evil. But his quest is filled with dangers ranging from demons to ghosts to other spectral forces that will stop at nothing to extinguish his life.

Zangetsu gets a little bit of help along the way, these individuals include the whip-wielder Miriam, alchemist Alfred, and Gebel; who is a vampire. Zangetsu has standard reach with his sword and lacks a lot of mobility yet has the highest health and can deal some serious damage with the right sub weapon attack. Miriam has a higher jump and can use a slide move to get through small passageways while also boasting a Belmont-style whip and some good far range spells (No Belmont Strut though). Alfred has the lowest health of the cast but easily has the best spells ala Sypha Belnades; for example, a large ice projectile spell that can be used for one touch kills on enemies or using them as platforms. Gebel’s main attack is an upwards projectile that can deal with enemies angled above him and as expected of a vampire, can transform into a bat to fly across large pits and to otherwise inaccessible areas. What’s great about Curse of the Moon is that you can switch between any of these characters as they become unlocked. Even if you want to swap someone out after starting the game, you can do so and then flip back over. This is a great technique if you need to use stronger characters during boss fights or have an out-of-reach item you want to obtain.

There are more than 5 levels in Curse of The Moon; The level design in Curse Of The Moon offers variety as well; with branching pathways that can often can only be accessed with a character’s unique ability, offering some extra replay value. Curse Of The Moon doesn’t have the trial and error design of the NES Castlevania games, you are inevitably going to suffer getting knocked back from an enemy into a pit and or get a surprise from the ruthless albeit well-designed boss fights. The challenge level is perfectly balanced.

Curse of the Moon features two selectable difficulty settings. Veteran is for the old-schoolers that love the feeling of taking on the world and possibly dying within a few hits. But if that’s too hard, there’s also Casual, with infinite lives available and less health loss with hits. The boss battles are also innovative, with devastating enemies that require you to learn a pattern to defeat them. The well-designed difficulty that makes you proud when you beat a stage, A lot of your enjoyment of Curse Of The Moon might also vary on how much nostalgia you have for the original NES Castlevania games.

The graphics are pure Castlevania style, complete with multi-scrolling backgrounds, charming little animations and great enemy designs.The gameplay is classic Castlevania style, through and through. You’ve got your jump and attack buttons, as well as the ability to use special weapons. Curse Of The Moon is a must for any fan of old-school Castlevania and is KASANOVA Approved.

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