The day Riqz lost £5

February 11, 2011 4 comments

Hello everyone. This is just a short post today, and is a lesson about never ever challenging a slightly drunken Englishman to a dare in a pub. Some time ago, I was in a pub. I bet you didn’t see that coming did you, quite the twist in the story already. I can’t say it was for the ambience or for the taste of the fine wines, it was mainly because Weatherspoons is a chain of pubs which usually does the cheapest beer on the High Street. I’m classy like that, but let’s get to the £5.

Myself and Riqz would therefore often go to this pub, with or without the company of some other friends. The people we’d go with would usually vary, because I suspect they often had better things to do than be seen with me. I digress. How did Riqz lose £5 I didn’t hear you cry.

Now I don’t know if you get tartare sauce in Italy. However, in the UK it’s eaten a lot with fish. It’s basically vinegar mixed with an indeterminate amount of vegetables which turns into some sort of foul smelling gloopy mess, which if you go and Google it, will look like white sick. It’s lovely, seriously. I can’t help it I don’t work for the British Food Council (if such a place exists) so I can’t describe food in a loving way. However, such was my cunning that I was pretending it was vile.

Riqz was by now becoming well versed in British culture, for example he had significantly lowered his expectations of girls and was even beginning to find some of the female patronage of Weatherspoons attractive. God bless the power of beer eh?

Oh right, yeah the £5. So we were sitting in the pub, and basically Riqz bet I couldn’t eat a whole pot of tartare sauce, but I so did. I won £5. It’s not much of an anecdote, but what’ya gonna do?

The lesson here kids is never assume that the person sitting opposite you doesn’t like vinegar based condiments. Sometimes they do, and the crafty ones will deny it to profit from it.

The colour Red, PSP’s and Tablets

February 10, 2011 6 comments

A few weeks ago I went to the post office to pay a bill and I found it real funny how this woman’s hair was exactly the same colour of her Jacket.

So yeah that was interesting. Especially trying to take a picture in a crammed post-office making me look like some kind of perv.

I also managed to film my turtles doing a kind of mating dance ritual. Experts tell me it’s either something a male does to a female to attract her or it’s something a male does to another male before they kill each other. Since they are both still alive and well, I’m hoping it’s the first hypothesis.

Here’s the video with some bonus Muse song in the background:

This month I’ve also been very excited about the new PSP2 which was announced by Sony. So excited I decided to finish off some old PSP games in my collection. That includes God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Riviera, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Little Big Planet, Final Fantasy Crisis Core, GTA Chinatown Wars and the list goes on way too much. I’d rather link you my (shameful) complete backlog of videogames:

The new psp is a gamer’s dream in theory. I mean, big screen, DUAL ANALOG STICKS, front and rear capacitive screens, quad core cpu, mic, front and rear cameras, Wi-Fi, 3G. Hopefully they won’t be concentrating on simple PS3 ports like they showed at their conference. Crossing my fingers for this one.

Moving on to other news I’m also going to be visiting the UK again in March with my girlfriend Gloria. I’ll be meeting Bludgenous (our new co-author), Brodos and the gang, hopefully Harlow, Matthew, Ruth and all the Uni gang.

I’ll also be bringing Gloria to the Ramsay Restaurant in Chelsea to get all my money ripped out of my wallet. So much so that I had a nightmare with Gordon in which I was supposed to cook some Italian food for him and failing miserably only to be told to fuck off and stick that shitty food up my arse.

This month’s dilemma concerns tablets. I’ve decided I want to buy a tablet this year and sell my netbook. I’ve been pretty sure about buying an iPad2 until a few days ago. Seeing the new Motorola Xoom has really made me think about what I’d like to buy. Spending around €800 for a tablet really brings on a few questions and the Xoom is definetly looking avantguarde compared to the current iPad.

The Xoom is really looking good sporting Android 3.0. It’s really looking like a great OS. The real question is…Will it have a great battery? I really want these batteries to last a long time and for now… only the iPad has that kind of thing with 10+hours of battery life in its shell.

I’m going to wait out and see what Apple present at their upcoming keynote and then make up my mind.

Lettera al Comune di Budoia

January 25, 2011 1 comment

Sorry for all non-italian speaking readers but it’s quite an important post for me. It’s a letter sent to the Budoia Town hall. The town in which my parents will live their retirement not to mention where my father was born. They want to keep creating housing estates by cementifying the countryside.

Ciao a tutti,

ho ricevuto le e-mail di aggiornamento alle riunioni a cui sono mancato causa la mia partenza.

Anche se da lontano, vorrei far arrivare la mia voce che è anche quella di un cittadino nato a S. Lucia e che fra poco verrà ad abitarvi stabilmente. Sono inorridito all’idea della potenziale colata di cemento che potrebbe ricoprire tutto il lato sud-est di S. Lucia. Di scempi ne ho già visti tanti nel mondo. Cerchiamo di essere più propositivi verso l’ambiente e verso il futuro pensando anche ai ns. figli ed eventuali nipoti. Non roviniamo per favore quel poco che ci circonda. Vogliamo togliere veramente tutti i prati per far colare il cemento? Allora ribattezziamo anche il paese, lo chiamerei “S. Lucia del cemento” o la via Gluck di S. Lucia o qualcosa di simile .
Bisogna combattere l’ idea di cementificazione selvaggia che ha portato sul lastrico intere nazioni (vds. ultime Portogallo e Spagna non appena è scoppiata la bolla immobiliare).

Le motivazioni per non edificare ulteriormente a S. Lucia sono note e validissime come già rilevato durante le precedenti riunioni:
1) Se vogliamo recuperare il centro storico occorre incentivare tale recupero e non aprire ad ulteriori aree fabbricabili che creerebbero solo dei quartieri dormitorio. Ed è qui il punto centrale su cui bisogna insistere con i ns. amministratori.
2) L’attuale popolazione del comune di Budoia di ca 2500 persone è più che sufficiente al territorio e se vogliamo lasciarla incrementare fino a ca 3000 persone basta l’incentivazione al recupero del centro storico prima che questi ne diventi invece un ghetto a causa delle continue costruzioni periferiche. So che non è facile recepire incentivi ma è questa la strada da percorrere.

Per quanto riguarda l’eventuale utilizzo per cave di amianto etc oppure di inceneritori, non scherziamo per favore. Mi auguro proprio che affiori un po’ di buon senso in tutti i cittadini ed anche alle nostre amministrazioni comunali, provinciali e regionali e che concordino unanimemente che ciò può essere fatto soltanto in zone molto isolate e lontanissime da quartieri abitativi allo scopo di evitare eventuali e inevitabili inquinamenti.

Occorrono delle motivazioni più valide per salvaguardare il ns. territorio? Non mi sembra, è già stato saccheggiato sufficientemente da renderlo irriconoscibile a chi ci viene periodicamente.

Infine, riguardo al progetto per creare una piazza a S. Lucia, appoggio pienamente l’idea dello studio da parte di neo architetti prospettata con l’Università di Sassari. Personalmente offro già la mia disponibilità ad ospitarne uno (a partire da settembre prossimo), magari straniero visto che io e mia moglie ce la caviamo con l’inglese ed anche con qualche altra lingua.

Mi auguro, pure se assente, che la mia voce venga riportata alle prossime riunioni. Per favore non cancelliamo già ora con le nostre mani il futuro.

Un caro saluto a tutti.

Bludgenous has connected

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello there!

The eagle eyed among you will notice that I’ve been kindly invited to co-author this blog. This is just a little in the way of an introductory post while I settle in here, admiring the wallpaper and putting my feet up by the fire. So, gather round, gather round and I’ll tell you a story of utter tedium which is my life.

I’m from London and I’ve known Riqz for over 6 years now, having met early on at university. The first time I met Riqz was in the first couple of weeks at university as he was friends with another Italian chap whom I was living with in halls. We bonded (in a heterosexual, manly way, I hasten to add) over beer, our seemingly perpetual inability to successfully converse successfully with ladies and the fact that his new Nokia phone was able to play the original Game Boy Super Mario Bros. This last point was particularly important, as despite being in our first weeks at university and being surrounded by a plethora of beautiful, and frankly horny, young ladies, we spent some time in the pub remembering where the mushroom power up was and which pipes had the secret coin filled chambers in them. This kind of behaviour would eventually lead to a dramatic increase in gaming time, but that’s a story for another day.

honey bee on a flower

Now then I’m not quite sure where I’m going to take these blog posts at present, however I’m sure there will be no small part in reminiscing about some of our finer moments whilst at university as they were indeed the best days of my life. Now if that sounds terribly self-indulgent, well it kind of is, because that’s what blogs are for right? Seriously though, I hope to make it an amusing read for you all as a lot of the shenanigans were tragically funny, in no small part due to my ineptitude in coping with modern life and generally being a bit of a tit. I’ll probably jump about chronologically, writing stories and anecdotes as and when I remember them. I’ll also pepper it with my more recent experiences of generally not understanding people, because the general public are an ongoing mystery to me. Oh, and plenty of rants about public transport too.

We’ll see how it goes, as I’m sure I know many of you the readership already, and if I don’t know you, then you can listen to the ever-so-slightly unhinged commentary from a vaguely eccentric Englishman.

I felt the need to add an image to the blog, and I’m not really creative in that way, so here’s a picture of a bee on a flower I took in my garden last summer. Lovely. Irrelevant loveliness.

Categories: Random Tags: , ,

The Amazon Kindle 3G Review

January 13, 2011 2 comments

A few months ago I bought one of those new Amazon Kindle e-book readers everyone’s raving about… Well ok… Not everyone.

The Kindle 3G

I always had my eye on these new e-ink e-book readers but they used to cost quite a few pounds so I never really ended up buying one.

Recently, maybe thanks to the whole new tablet market, the kindle price got slashed and I bought one for something like 180 dollars shipping included. If you live in Italy, like me, there’s no way to buy one from or .de or .fr or .it as it will automatically redirect you to the american website.

Upon receiving the kindle it came in a simple but sturdy amazon box with a simple leaflet explaining how to start it up. First thing i did was try to take of the thin sheet of plastic these kind of gadgets have on the screen when they are new… you know that thin plastic layer on your new phone’s screen or on your new iPod. To my dismay it was a trap!

There was no screen protector. What looked like a FAKELY written phrase (you know the fake screen printed on a thin sheet of plastic to act as an Ikea-style product demo) saying “please attach your kindle to a pc usb port to charge it” wasn’t fake at all. This was my first ever experience with E-ink technology. I was truly amazed.

The new Kindle screen looks like paper. Absolutely no distinction. It has no backlight it has amazing contrast… Damn this thing is like…MAGIC.

I bought the 6″ screen Wi-Fi version (i don’t see why anyone in the world would buy a 3G data plan version) which is the size of a normal paperback book page. I quickly pop it on my pc (immediately recognized by Windows 7) and register it to my amazon account. I am then given a list of free un-copyrighted books that I can download. Such old classics as Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, The Mysterious Island and many others. I immediately downloaded Treasure Island to try it out.

The feeling the Kindle gives you is just what you would feel reading a book but better. There’s no screen glare that you can have with iPhones or iPads and the Kindle is very light so it won’t strain your hands while reading in bed like a book usually does to me. Another plus is that there’s no more of that easy page/hard page while reading on your side. Depending on what side i’m lying on there’s an easy page (where the side of the book rests on the bed) and a hard page (when you have to hold the whole book up to read the other page with your hand turning into a Dr.Zoidberg claw), making me toss and turn in bed like a maniac. Glad that’s gone…

Amazon offers an amazing variety of e-books so you’re going to find pretty much everything you want, except more obscure books. Nonetheless it has accepted any e-book format i’ve been throwing at it including .azw (obviously), .epub, .mobi and .pdf so you can buy an e-book from anywhere else on the internet and pop it on your kindle by dragging and dropping through the usb cable. If your e-book is unsupported you can send it to your kindle email and it will be converted into a usable format and sent automatically to your Kindle.

Speaking of transfering e-books to the kindle, Amazon does a great job with what they call “Whispernet”. When you buy an e- book off it will ask you where you want it sent. You can send it to your registered kindle, your iPhone, your Android phone or even your Kindle app on your PC. By simply connecting your Kindle to your Wi-Fi network you can sync all your items with a push of a button. Not only does it sync all your books, it also syncs all your highlights, popular highlights by other people and what page you were on last time you read the book so that you can pick right up from where you left if you want to read from your iphone or from another PC.

One of the nicest perks you get on the Kindle (and on most ebook readers for that matter) is that you can move your cursor right next to a word you don’t know and it will give you a quick definition on the internal dictionary and if that’s not enough it’ll let you search it on google, wikipedia or anywhere else you want on the internet. I’ve never been the kind of guy to pick up a dictionary while reading so this is a great addition.

There are a few drawbacks to the Kindle and I believe it isn’t just a Kindle problem… With a paperback book you can buy it and read it. The best thing about paperback books is that if you like them you can tell other people about it and do something that used to be regarded as granted… LEND IT.  Unfortunately Amazon and many other e-book retailers have put DRM protection on all of the e-books they sell. This is absolute bullcrap because I wanted to lend an e-book i bought to my mother recently and realised the only way was to make her buy it again for her kindle… Which to me sounds stupid. I know this DRM crap is all about stopping pirates but come on!

Apparently Amazon is working on a “Lending” option for e-books but they still haven’t enabled it for European users.

I also noticed that the price of e-books is variable. Most of the ones i’ve seen cost more than their paperback brother. Some people say other books cost more than their e-book version. Nonetheless I’ve always paid something more for my e-book than I would have paid for my paperback which does piss me off a bit.

The Kindle is a great e-book reader then… yes… but unfortunately for me, it’s quite a nightmare for manga afficionados.

Manga on the Kindle

Not because you can’t read them… not at all… but because of the tedious convertion you have to go through. I haven’t found any legitimate source to BUY e-manga. Not the ones I like anyway so I had to go and find illegal scans. After downloading the scans you have to convert them into something kindle-friendly with a program called Mangle (Manga+Kindle aaaaah) which isn’t really always 100% perfection. It sometimes mixes up page numbers and you end up having to delete all your converted images and start again. I have officially given up on converting manga scans for the Kindle. Too much time and not much reward. You can read this if you are interested.

The Kindle has some other minor and hidden features such as an experimental (but very good) internet browser, a minesweeper game, a text-to-speech reader and an automatic Twitter/Facebook updater (sends your highlights to your feed).

Oh I nearly forgot!! The kindle also sports a pair of speakers from which you can hear your text-to-speach voice, mp3’s and audiobooks. A nice addition even though you have to watch your space as the Kindle has 3Gygabytes of internal space which isn’t expandable.

One small tip. Don’t buy an original leather case. Apparently they’ve been making Kindles freeze without any explanation. Not to mention they cost like £30-£50. I ended up making my own carry case for the kindle by carving an old Diary:













I can definetly reccomend a Kindle if you are an avid reader and interested in new technology/gadgets.


Best Videogames of 2010

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

2010 Has passed in quite a breeze and there comes a time when one thinks back to what made the year a special one.

In this post (and probably the next few posts) I’m going to list the best stuff I’ve seen/played/done/experienced and explain why I think it’s worth your time.

Best Videogames of 2010

Let’s start with what I love most. The videogame market per se (and by that I mean retail videogames) hasn’t been very extraordinary in 2010 but some games outshined others. Here are my top 10 videogames of 2010.

This list is based on what I had most fun playing this year.

10 – Call of Duty: Black Ops – Xbox 360, PS3, PC

The Call of Duty Franchise is already at the pinnacle of the 1st person shooter genre.

You would think this top-selling blockbuster game would be higher on the top 10 chart but I didn’t like the single player at all.

The story is cliché, the AI is so embarrassingly 1992-programmed that even Pac Man CE seems to do better in that area.

It has some very good parts though. Piloting a Helicopter, or infiltrating Vietcong bases killing them in their sleep was worth the effort.

I included Black Ops mostly because I had fun playing multiplayer with friends over xbox live.

On the other hand, I do hope the whole 1st person shooter genre renovates itself in the next installment (I wish there wasn’t another iteration in 2011) because personally I think the Call of Duty franchise is getting very boring indeed.

9 – Need for Speed Hot Pursuit – Xbox360, PS3

I felt like I needed to include a racing game in the list.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit has gone back to the origins with the first need for speed games. I remember how cool it used to be to play “Cops and Robbers” in the older games on the PC and this new game has brought that all rushing back with a hint of novelty that makes it a whole new, great experience.

You can either race as a Bandit, increasing your wanted level by escaping from police capture or you can play the cop, increasing your rank by catching baddies! The gameplay is simple and arcadey and that’s what I was looking for this year. I was pretty tired of the old driving simulators. Forza Motorsport 3 and the endless wait for Gran Turismo 5 didn’t really do it for me.

8 – Sonic 4: Episode 1 – XBLA

People hate it a lot, others hate it less.

I actually liked this modern take on the classic Hedgehog. You might say I’m a little bit of a fanboy (playing Sonic on my Sega Master System II and Game Gear), but I actually really enjoyed it this time. After endless shitware Sonic games, finally something playable! The levels looked great, sonic controls pretty well (even though some people say he is too floaty), the lock-on feature is awesome and the Sonic avatar costume you can unlock makes it worth playing!

Only a few downsides to this one. It cost me 1400 Microsoft Points and considering its length it wasn’t worth all that money. The cost of the next episode will determine if I’ll buy it or not.

Oh and the music… OH THE HORROR! Play this one on mute!

7 – Game Dev Story – iPhone

This little gem for the iPhone made my battery run out very quickly for a few weeks or so. The idea seems really stupid and uninteresting until you actually start playing it.

You impersonate the founder of a game developing company and you start by hiring some coders to make your games. It’s similar to what an imaginary Game Dev Tycoon would be. You can buy licences to develop for consoles with silly parodic names such as the Playstatus instead of the Playstation and so on.

You can choose what kind of game to develop and what genre it will be.

Your aim is to sell as many games as you can and in the end you will also be able to develop a console.

It’s hard to believe such a great game could come out of this idea but I urge you to try it out to see for yourselves. I wasted more than a few weeks on this one.. Ask my girlfriend! A true gem of 2010.

6 – Kirby’s Epic Yarn – Wii

Speaking about my girlfriend… Kirby’s Epic Yarn wouldn’t even be on this list if it wasn’t for her. This has been my “sit on the couch with my girlfriend and play together” game of 2010.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn graphics are incredibly innovative. Everything is made of yarn and you can move the whole background by unzipping it or pulling a well placed string. Your co-op characters will sometime merge together creating a truck or train and sometimes even a huge mech that shoots missiles. These parts of the game are really exciting and really need you to cooperate with your partner to get to the end of the level safely.

Death doesn’t exist in Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Instead you are faced with humiliation… a gamers’ worst nightmare. The score of the level depends on how many Beads (Bijoux for Gloria) you can collect. By falling into pits and getting hit by enemies you lose most of your beads. And the humiliation comes when you finish a level without any beads at all. This formula is kind of new and it works pretty well with the game as it makes you want to keep those beads to end the level well and removes the frustration that dying might give.

On the negative side we couldn’t care less about personalizing our virtual kirby-home with the stuff we collected (Animal Crossing Style), some of the storytelling was way too childish (and also weird sexual references like Yin Yarn putting stuff into his weirdly placed sock), and playing alone with no-one to help you can be quite boring.

I mean… look at his sock!

Definitely a game one should own just for its innovation and co-op fun.

5 – Red Dead Redemption – Xbox360, PS3

I love westerns… and I love sandbox games… therefore I love Red Dead Redemption.

I actually had good and bad times with this game but pushing through and finishing it paid off in the end.

The game is what you’d expect from Rockstar. A GTA-similar open world-ish game with a Western theme.

Missions are mostly cool and horse riding really looks and feels amazing. The good nature of John Marston (the main character) makes for a nice change instead of the usual GTA bad boy.

The animations are so amazing in Red Dead that for the first time in videogame history I actually felt like crying when my horse got shot and died or when shooting an enemy’s horse by mistake and killing it.

I did get bored halfway through the Mexico campaing but I pushed on and the ending was truly worth it. Buy this game and finish it and you’ll know what I mean.

4 – Enslaved – Xbox 360

Enslaved… I wish I could put you at number one…but I can’t.

I have said, more than once, that Enslaved was my game of the year 2010, and I still want to believe it. So why is it sitting at number 4?

Enslaved has proved that proper acting can make or break a game… at least that’s what I wish it did. There’s a book (Extra Lives) that speaks about this thoroughly…and it seems that gamers don’t care enough about acting in videogames as they should, but that’s a topic for another day.

The acting portrayed by the characters in this game is so good it deserves an Oscar. Facial expressions, tone and especially EYE and eybrow expressions were all incredible and really made the story in this game a joy to experience.

In reality, other than the AMAZING acting there’s a good game underneath it all. I underline good and not great… It has a simple combat mechanic and the game could have done a lot more in the customization sphere of things.

You are Monkey, a very agile – Prince of Persia mixed with Goku – kind of guy and your weapon is infact an extendible Staff (just like Goku in DBZ, not to mention a floating cloud to roam around in). The first part of the game is one of the best I’ve seen in a while and I won’t ruin any of the story for you because it’s worth going into this one with no preconceptions.

I can’t bring myself to say anything else about it because you absolutely need to buy it and see for yourself. Game developers should learn from Enslaved and use that kind of acting to improve the whole videogame market.

3 Limbo – XBLA

Another XBLA game in my list… now you’re realizing why I mentioned a bad year for retail videogames in the beginning of this post.

Limbo is something you experience rarely in videogames, especially in modern videogames. Limbo’s gameplay is NEW and novelty is something new gamers don’t seem to care about. We are always fed iteration after iteration of the same type of game until the franchise is too milked to sell anymore.

Limbo is an amazing achievement, and a game that is different in how it makes you feel.

You are a child who wakes up in this black and white shadowy world inhabited by monster spiders and man eating shadow hounds.

The game is a solid mix between platforming, adventure, and strong puzzle gametypes and it delivers all of them perfectly.

The ending is something you hope to be prepared for but it really hits you hard. It personally left me open mouthed for a minute or so.

This game is ART.

An easy buy for 800 Microsoft points.

2 – Mass Effect 2 – Xbox360, PC

I have to admit… I only played this recently…and am still playing it. All of this because after having played Mass Effect 1 I knew how much time I’d spend being sucked into Mass Effect 2.

I decided not to import my previous character from ME1 because I wanted to start from scratch and create a female character with different stats.

Here she is (I tried to make her resemble to my girlfriend but to her say, I failed miserably).

Mass Effect 2 is just what you would expect but better. The story is amazing, gameplay is better than ME1, characters are well developed and they make you want to get to know them and help them in their own personal subquests.

You know an RPG game is good when you WANT to do the side-quests before continuing on your path with the main story.

Also: 2nd best start scene of 2010 (after enslaved ofcourse).

There’s little to add except to say this game is near perfect on every level.

The only downside it has is that it’ll suck up so many hours of your life you want to plan ahead for it, reason why I only got to it in January 2011, exactly one year after its release. SHAME ON ME!

1 – Super Meatboy – XBLA, PSN, PC, Mac

Man oh man… another XBLA game in the list and NUMBER 1 too!

Super Meatboy, just saying it makes me shiver with various emotions that include love, hatred, rage, fear and frustration.

Super Meatboy started as a small flash game created by 2 people that I personally never played. It got then converted and improved into an XBLA game and BOOM!… mega success.

It’s a simple 2D platformer that takes from all the best platformers ever made and merges them into a game that not only will amaze you, but it will make your hands hurt like with old school hardened games.

All you can do is jump and move left and right to reach your girlfriend in each of the hundreds of levels. Yet it ends up burying itself right in your heart as one of the best games ever made.

The sheer happiness you receive after completing a level you were trying for the past 4 hours after dying 600 times is something I hadn’t felt since reaching the second castle in Alex Kidd in Miracle World on the Sega Master System II.

You can see some of my videos trying some of the most frustrating levels in Super meatboy right here:

I did complete them later off-camera.

So that completes my top 10 videogames of 2010.

Here are some Best of the Rest that didn’t make the top 10:

Donkey Kong Country Returns – Wii

A great reboot of the saga that deserves to be bought

Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Wii

Great game but it’s just more of the same

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX – Various

Having missed the CE version I decided to buy the DX version and I couldn’t believe how I could still be enjoying Pac-Man after so many years.

Hope you enjoyed the list and obviously I want everyone to have their say!


Super Castlevania IV SNES Review

October 14, 2010 2 comments


This game… This game (luckily for me) was the first Castlevania game i ever played seriously. And i think that’s why I came to love the Castlevania series. Being used to games that had amazing controls like Super Mario, Sonic and games like Alex Kidd, the first Castlevanias never managed to grab me when I was little. The inability to throw that whip in every direction always put me off as it was something I could not conceive.

Super Castlevania IV for the SNES changed all that. The controls were spot on for the first time ever. It’s basically a remake of the first game on the NES with better graphics and controls. You can whip in 8 directions, make the whip go limp and control it with your D-Pad and you can also change your direction slightly whilst in mid-jump.

Many purists never liked these changes and blamed the game for being too easy. Others regard SCIV to be the best Castlevania game ever! I’m closer to the latter description if you really need to ask.

The game, I must admit, is somewhat easier than it’s predecessors. I mean just being able to whip in 8 directions would make any Castlevania game easier right? Nonetheless it’s still quite challenging. You WILL die often trying to learn enemy patterns and boss phases just like in the old games. You will have infinite continues and even a Password save system though (oh and just on this note, it’s the best password system i’ve seen in a videogame. Quick and easy to jot down and insert).

The graphics are amazing considering SCIV was one of the first games out for the SNES (1991). There are subtle things like glowing eyes, or bats flying out of somewhere in the background and this adds to the great atmosphere the game creates for the player.

Rotating room level

The sound… OH THE SOUND! I’ve never heard a SNES game sound so good. The music is amazing (they are all close to original remixes of classic Castlevania songs), and I really hope there’s a soundtrack to download/buy so I can listen to it everywhere I go. It’s simply SUPERB! You can hear the music to the first level (and see some gameplay) here:

I’m actually listening to this music right now for inspiration ahah!

Konami actually cut some stuff from the US/EU version of the game. Some blood was changed to green instead of red and a cross was taken out of the title screen. The whip apparently sounds different too. Not lifechanging anyway.

One of my favourite parts of the game was right at the end when you’re fighting Dracula (i’m guessing it’s impossible for this to be a spoiler). When you finally get him to 1/4 of his lifebar the music changes (to the first stage music) and it truly brought shivers of excitement onto me like crazy. Felt on top of the world.

The whole game took me around 6-7 hours total (guesstimate and took it easy), with moments of frustration and also moments of wtf. I have to agree…it wasn’t the most challenging Castlevania game but it’s still VERY satisfying to finish it.

Highly reccommended. Do pick it up, it doesn’t go for much on ebay these days.

Riqz’s score: