Somehow, I missed out on SotN back when it came out, but had always heard it was the definitive Castlevania title. So when I saw that it was available in the PlayStation Store back in June of 2010 -- I quickly made the purchase. I also hoped to settle the score with Dracula once and for all. I still had a bad taste in my mouth after our previous encounter in Castlevania 64 circa 1999. You see, I made it to the final boss battle, using only one save to conserve space, only to realize I didn't have enough life or items to finish the game. Bulls---.

The game is very good and upon my first playthrough of SotN, I really enjoyed it. Good platforming, cool monsters, challenging bosses. I gave up a few times and would take breaks from it, some that lasted months, but eventually made it to the end... or so I thought. Once you make it through the entire castle they flip that bitch on you and make you go back through it upside down.

Eventually, I conquered the entire game with Alucard and felt quite proud of myself. That was probably two years ago. After that, you get the option of running through it as Richter Belmont. This is immediately more challenging because you don't get to use items or supernatural abilities like you do with Alucard. You're just a man with a whip and a secondary weapon. I made it as far as I could with Richter, but got stuck on a platforming part where I couldn't make the jump I needed to. I then took another vacation from the game.

Upon picking it up again, months later, I still couldn't make the jump. After looking into it via YouTube -- by the way, how great is it to always have that as an option? If that were only around when I was a kid -- I learned that Richter had all these dope ass special moves which I had not been using like a flying uppercut, a power slide and a dash attack which makes the game super easy to fly through but is not as easy to execute (up, down forward+square) as it looks in the YouTube speed run below. Armed with these new moves, I blew right through to the inverted castle... then I got stuck again.

Months would pass and I'd pick it up for an hour, make it no further, scream "motherf---er" more times than I'd care to admit and then dump it for another month. I was stuck very far from the next save point and I would have to play for 10 minutes to get to these stupid ass Snipers of Goth that, with the help of the paralyzing Imps, would smoke me every time. Recently, I got lucky and made it past them only to die right before the next save. I knew I was getting close.

Richter Sniper

I settled in, started chugging Mt. Dew and achieved a ninja-like focus. Eventually I did make it to that next save. After studying the map, I realized I could go down the map a bit, over to the left and then straight up into Dracula's lair. I make it to the part where I'm supposed to go to the left and of course there are spikes I can'T jump over without repeating the dash move super quick... f---!

richter pit

After trying to make it over them about 25 times... I decided to backtrack and go through the Snipers of Goth area again. Dammit! Just so you get a clearer perspective on my frustration at this point, watch the video below to see just how long it takes to get back in the game after you get your guy killed. You have to sit through this whole thing, and keep in mind that you also have to reload your game after this too.

So finally I get back through the Sniper Goth area, fly through a bunch of Minotaur dudes with axes and things that kind of look like lime green Battletoads, make it through 4 screens without seeing one enemy and arrive at the entry to Dracula's lair -- I breezed through that explanation, but actually doing it cost me about 40 lives. I drop into Dracula's area and there's actually some flying Hindu guy there named Shaft. I hit him with the holy water special attack and he is dead in seconds. A little bit of a let down for a final boss battle but... end of game! It's Over! I can finally delete this piece of s--- from my hard drive!

I get ready for what has to be a dope ass ending... only to be let down yet again. The castle gets sucked into the sky while Richter watches from a distance, the the credits roll while some fake ass Celine Dion-sounding bulls--- plays. That cuts it, Dracula! I'm never playing another Castlevania game again!

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