This is a newish feature. Myself and group of like-minded retro gamers participate in group reviews under the name Ultra Review Roundtable. Each of us adds our own thoughts to an overall review piece, which then gets syndicated across all of the participant’s sites. Enjoy!
Thanks goes to Jeff at VGMastersClub.com for putting this all together!
Kid Dracula on the Game Boy is a platform game and the follow-up to the Japan only Famicom game Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-kun. The story has the Demon Prince, Kid Dracula awakening from a deep slumber and getting challenged by Garamoth who is a dinosaur-type creature. Being the cocky kid that he is, Kid Dracula ends up deciding to take on Garamoth all by himself. A little tidbit is that the Kid Dracula in this story is essentially the child version of Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night fame. Not only did all the 8-bit Japanese Castlevania titles start with Akumajo, but Garamoth also appears as a boss in Symphony of the Night, called Galamoth.
Kid Dracula’s gameplay is your stereotypical action/platform game. The controls are decently accurate and don’t require too deep of a learning curve in order to jump right in and play. The addition of special powers and being able to charge them for an added boost gives you options to how you can tackle every obstacle throughout the game. Boss fights are fun and the attack patterns aren’t too overly cryptic.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics are decently detailed for a Game Boy release. All of the characters in the game have a special charm to them which makes them each likable in their own way. Each level has a different theme which is nice to see on the monochrome handheld. The music is quirky as expected and adds to the charm created by the graphics. Overall, the presentation here makes for a great overall gaming experience that Konami is known for.
“Having all the different powers is really a great feature to Kid Dracula and all of the boss battles are pretty damn fun.” – vgMastersClub.com
|*||Developed by: KonamiPublished by: KonamiReleased: 1993Platform: Nintendo Game Boy
Favorite Handheld: Game Boy Advance SP
Least Favorite Handheld: Original Game Boy
Kid Dracula is a cute, cartoonish, thoroughly Japanese spinoff/parody of Konami’s Castlevania series, and it wears its black but jovial heart on its sleeve. There’s probably more space devoted to sprite animation than background tiles in this Game Boy cartridge. The zombies, bats, Frankenstein’s monsters, and other monstrous denizens of its short, platform-heavy levels are rendered with big heads and bug eyes, with comical expressions as they get taken down. And our hero Kid Dracula whisks his cape around and flashes a cheeky, triumphant grin at the end of each section. The end-of-level boss battles are a lot of fun and are sometimes pretty challenging, with multiple forms for each boss giving them a great sense of humor.The game also benefits from one of Konami’s lively, light-hearted 8-bit music scores. I found Level 2’s bouncy theme maddeningly recognizable and had to track down its origin. I thought for a while it was from an early Konami arcade game but the closest match I could come up with was the theme from Toypop, which was from Namco and not the right tune either. The Web eventually took pity and informed me that it’s actually a Debussy piece called “Golliwog’s Cakewalk” which was familiar to me because it has been borrowed for a number of silent movie organ scores. (No, I am not actually THAT old!) It fits the style of Kid Dracula perfectly.4 Kid Jasons out of 5
NathanRadness – videogamesarerad.com
Favorite Handheld: Game Boy Advance SP (The version with the real back light!)
Least Favorite Handheld: Game Gear
RetroJC – thiskidplaysgames.com
Favorite Handheld: Game Boy Light
Least Favorite Handheld: Atari Lynx
My experience with Kid Dracula goes back to my childhood and my complete lack of knowledge that led to me not knowing I could turn into a bat until I read retro review in a European Nintendo magazine in early 2003, needless to say I was pissed. However for some reason Kid Dracula has stayed with me throughout my youth, proudly and somewhat arrogantly on my shelf as a game I’ve never quite completed. I’d say this was down to lack of batteries, but in truth Kid Dracula is bloody hard once you get towards the end; especially if you didn’t know you can transform into a bat.Much like my love for Parodius, Konami again parodied one of their finest franchises into a much more child friendly form. However looks can be deceiving, Dr Acula is at its heart a deeply difficult platformer with more trips ups than a broken set of stairs. For the concerned pedigree Castelvania fan you’re right to be nervous, as Kid Dracula has very little in terms of homage to it’s older bretherin. But forgiving that, this little platformer can give every portable Mario title a run for its money and in many cases beats them.It’s my opinion that Kid Dracula is one of the best portable platformers out there, with an all round brilliant display of graphics, gameplay design, and sound that it’s difficult to really knock the game down. The enemies and bosses have been perfectly planned to give the gamer not only a challenge, but upon defeat a sense of accomplishment. Only falling short due to its gameplay length, it doesn’t devalue the memories I have of this game or most importantly what an essential game this is.
4 Kid Jasons out of 5
Favorite Handheld: PSP (Emulating nearly every retro system and tons of RPGs!)
Least Favorite Handheld: Virtual Boy
Ultra Review Roundtable Overall Rating:
Unanimous 4 Kid Jasons out of 5