Konami's Castlevania series has been providing gamers with challenging 2D action for decades so let's take a good look back at 2 highlights from the 16-bit era and see which one comes out on top.
Super Castlevania IV stars the iconic Simon Belmont who controls better than ever as he can lash his whip in multiple directions, let his whip go limp in order to wave it around, and perform interesting moves like swing over gaps by latching his whip onto certain nodes. Meanwhile, Castlevania: Bloodlines has you control either the whip-wielding John Morris or Eric Lecarde who attacks with a spear. The former can swing across gaps like Simon while the latter can perform a mega jump with his spear. What's even cooler is that you can unleash a powerful item crush depending on your currently equipped sub-weapon. Although I love these special moves and the fact that you can play as 2 distinct characters, Super Castlevania IV wins this category due to its more fluid controls and whip actions.
Memorable stages are one of the Castlevania series' strongest traits and both of these games have some of the best levels in the franchise. Super Castlevania IV features a stunning introductory stage and who could forget moments like jumping on giant swinging chandeliers, running through a treasury filled with gold, and balancing in a rotating room? The stages in Castlevania: Bloodlines are fantastic as well and a lot of gimmicks are used throughout which are actually for the better. For example, seeing the beautiful water reflections in stage 2, jumping up a swaying collapsing tower in stage 3, avoiding hazardous pistons in stage 4, dealing with poisonous hanging plants in stage 5, and trying to find your way within fragmented visuals in stage 6. In the end, the fact that Castlevania: Bloodlines takes a few more risks makes each of its levels really stand out in an impressive way so it wins this category.
Castlevania: Bloodlines may have mid-bosses as well as end bosses but it also consists of far less stages than Super Castlevania IV. Again, Castlevania: Bloodlines takes a lot of chances with its bosses such as the hulking golem that shrinks as you fight it, the gargoyle that you battle on the roof of a tower, the quirky Gear Steamer, and the amazing transforming Princess of Moths. Super Castlevania IV has a much more traditional lineup of bosses including Medusa, Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, and Slogra and Gaibon. However, it also has some stand-out boss fights such as the unpredictable Orphic Vipers, the shrinking golem Koranot, the dancing ghosts, and the tricky golden Zapf Bat. This is certainly a tough one but I think Castlevania: Bloodlines has a slight edge due to its originality.
Although Super Castlevania IV and Castlevania: Bloodlines have catchy soundtracks that I could listen to on repeat for days, I just wanted to say that Super Castlevania IV's music is so phenomenal that it comprises one of the best soundtracks of the 16-bit era. From creepy atmospheric vibes to inspiring orchestral pieces and jazzy interludes, it has everything you could ever want to listen to in a Castlevania game. That being said, the tunes in Castlevania: Bloodlines are killer and its soundtrack really elevates its game world to a higher level but as I said, you can't get much better than Super Castlevania IV's collection of memorable background music so it easily wins here.
After writing all of this, my decision will be a lot tougher than I initially thought but I have to pick a winner which is...
Winner Super Castlevania IV
Castlevania: Bloodlines is a highly underrated entry in the iconic vampire hunting series but Super Castlevania IV still manages to top it with its fluid and more accessible core gameplay. Plus, it has an amazing soundtrack that makes playing it an absolute joy. After all is said and done, you really can't go wrong with either of these classic 2D action games so do yourself a favour and play them both because there's nothing more satisfying than defeating Dracula as 3 distinct legendary vampire hunters.
That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!