Welcome to Week 2 of GameWTFs.com's October 2014 Classic Black & White Monsters
uh...thing. It means that all October long, I'll be looking at Black-&-White GameBoy Games starring monsters that were big in the black-&-white era of movies.
Last week we looked at Casper (the friendly ghost)
, but this week our game features a much more dangerous undead creature...who is, if anything, MORE friendly-looking than Casper:
It's actually a pretty fun little game; but that's to be expected, because it was made by Nintendo's master of Dracula-related platforming:
You could think of it as, Castlevania: Kazoo Band of the Early Evening
In this game you play as the bouffant-haired Kid Dracula, off to stop someone named Garamoth.
The game's story unfolds before the game, and between levels, through cutesy cutscenes featuring Mr. Kid and his skull-faced henchman,
and sometimes some various other characters:
In a handy feature, the cutscenes also explain your various power-ups (or at least the ones you initially remember, or are reminded of at the beginning of subsequent levels)
Yes, yes, very nice; but what's the GAME like?
As well as being cute, it also plays pretty well:
You have a serviceable jump and fireball,
(which you can ALSO use to fire upwards, miracle of miracles)
And it's got some nice level design and graphics.
Also your "Spells" are easy and free to use, yet don't unbalance the game. To switch between your spells (you start with a Boosted Fireball spell and your Bat spell) you press "select"; you can see the spell name change in the bottom left corner of the screen. You only need to hold "B" down for a second to charge up your current spell for use.
You learn more as the game continues, but starting off with unlimited-use* flight really adds something to the game.
*: though each flight is limited to a 5-count
But it's not all
sunshine and puppies moonlight and bats...
Since Kid Dracula is a GameBoy game, the big
colorful detailed sprites sometimes make the screen seem a bit small. Moreover your menu bar and the brick floors/ceilings eat up a lot more screen space. This means that there are times when it can feel a little crowded, and you might have trouble maneuvering around enemies to get a shot at them:
But you have 3 hearts per life, and they aren't TOO stingy with the health boosts. You also get unlimited continues, and receive a 4-digit password at the end of every world, so you can
rise from the dead come back for more later.
And it's ALSO chockablock with great Halloween-y Monsta Goodness!
In the first level alone, Kid Dracula tangles with...
And the first boss, a blobby ghost-y fellow.
Actually, the Level 1 Ghost Boss = the "Mendelbaum Ghost Boss Rush",
Because, like the Mendelbaum family from that
episode, this fight is a family affair:
When you defeat the first ghost (and his bouncing-then-stationary-fireballing attack pattern), he wanders off the screen like a big cry-ghost-baby;
Only to sic his Big Brother Ghost on you, ...who fights the same way, just with a bigger sprite and fireball.
And yes, when you send Big Brother Ghost packing, Grampa Ghost wanders in with his cane...and slow-moving Grampa Ghost is invulnerable to your fireballs!
So it's fortunate that Grampa Ghost falls asleep after walking across the screen a few times.
Then the original ghost drags him off-screen, and Level 1 comes to a close.
...and then it's BONUS GAME TIME!
Konami hits one out of the
park cemetery on the small screen
All in all, a pretty solid platformer, with gobs of cutesy
atmosphere. So, in the interest of jamming another Halloween reference into this article, I give Kid Dracula
: two elongated-canine-teeth up!