☆ Review: Citadale: The Legends Trilogy "A Castlevania clone that does an admirable job of recreating a retro atmosphere" ☆ #GameDev #IndieGame

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Citadale: The Legends Trilogy - PC

Citadale: The Legends Trilogy is a platform video game developed by Ezekiel Rage that owes a great deal to the Castlevania series of games (a GREAT deal) especially the 8-bit iterations on the original NES console. 

You play as Sonja Dorleac (an anagram of ‘Dracola’) and then  her son and grandson in the sequels (included with this game, making up the titular trilogy) as they battle their way through hordes of skeletons, bats and servants of the dead on their quest to defeat the Dark Lord in their respective timelines.

The game beats with a very 8-bit heart. Everything from the graphics to the music and even the control scheme are evocative of the late 80’s era of gaming (only two buttons are used throughout). The games dedication to this is one of its strongest points as it does re-create it successfully. 

The music suits the mood of the graphics and there are plenty of collectables to pick up as you work your way through the levels, these include axes, health boosts, coins and more. There is also a healthy dose of boss battles and whilst they are all graphically impressive, they can veer wildly from easy to tedious and outright difficult often in the space of the same level although as is the usual case, after a couple of tries it comes down to pattern recognition. 

The weapons in the game again take from Castlevania, even down to the holy water sub-weapon. Items in the game are found by smashing candles and torches…again, this may seem familiar to some people who have previously played a game that rhymes with ‘Tassel-Mania’.

Enemy placement in the game also has that retro feel in that enemies will come at you mid-jump or even as you are transitioning screens, all adding to the old-school atmosphere. 

The main issue here is of course in a game playing so heavily off such a beloved franchise, a comparison often doesn’t bode well. As I worked through Citadale, I was making mental notes of every link to Castlevania that I came across and there are many. What you take away from this depends on your feelings for the original game. Taken as a homage and fan interpretation, I can imagine that some will enjoy Citadale’s approach whereas others who maybe haven’t played a Castlevania-style game before may find it quite old-fashioned and bland.

The level design covers a lot of ground with some nice variation in the background graphics but there are some sections which feel slightly unfair where platforms collapse without warning or require the player to jump across screen transitions blindly, but again this was something that was a regular occurrence in the 8-bit days of trial and error and I’m assuming that the inclusion of these was intentional as opposed to bad design due to the nature of the game. 

There are checkpoints in the game so progress isn’t too arduous and there also seems to be some sort of odd ‘rewind’ feature integrated but I couldn’t get the hang of it or even find any reference to it online. I played Citadale with a gamepad and on more than one occasion accidentally pressed the right thumb-stick which would take me back to a previous level, but when I pressed the right trigger, it would take me even further back. I’m not sure when this would come in handy as the game has regular checkpoints anyway so I didn’t use the feature, personally.

The game has three distinct chapters with different protagonists and has several hours’ worth of platforming action. Currently, the game is £6.99 on Steam and that seems a fair price for what you are getting. 

As a clone of Castlevania and a throwback to 8-bit platformers it does its job admirably but with a few concessions mainly regarding the occasionally cheap enemy placement, slightly awkward hit detection and unoriginal game design. 

If you are a fan of standard old-school platformers you will probably enjoy a playthrough of Citadale but it won’t offer anything new to the genre, rooted so deeply as it is in the past.
Ratings Explained:

(Great Game Recommended)

(Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)

(Not A Recommended Purchase)

Game Link: Steam
Dev Link: Ezekiel Rage

Review By Britt

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