Castlevania has a long history that cannot be detailed in this space so suffice to say that gamers everywhere are aware of the premise of this astounding game series.

What distinguishes this game from its forbears is the absence of the whip in the protagonist’s arsenal for he now wields an incredible array of weapons. Alucard—mmm, what could that possibly spell backwards? Alucard is the protagonist waking from a long sleep and searching his father’s castle for clues as to why the original hero, Richter Belmont vanished mysteriously. Along the way, he encounters some rather grim enemies amidst a gothic environment that has no end of surprises. Hidden passageways populate the numerous rooms of the castle and the gruesomeness of the monsters is particularly appalling.

The 2-D backgrounds are surprisingly deep and gorgeous to look at. The game play and the astounding number of weapons are what make this game so good. Alucard’s attributes increase as he kills enemies and uses the available weapons, so you shouldn’t pass on kills when you have the chance. The map system reveals itself as you go from room to room, and while you can buy the map at any time, this won’t do you any good because you can’t get into some areas until later in the game anyway.

Working your way through the castle in numerous ways with a variety of weapons will keep any long-time fan of Castlevania’s past games occupied for repeated plays. This game you will love to play repeatedly. It goes right for the throat.