Castlevania on N64 pulses with the blood of the NES
A more apt translation of its source material into 3D is yet to be made
Classic, linear Castlevania has never been a game that could be described as "smooth". That isn't a criticism - it's to the series' benefit that the level design almost always complements the stiff, "realistic" jumping. The athleticism and combat of 'Vania is rewarding because it's difficult, because you're committed to each motion. Every whip swing freezes you in place until it's complete. The original, Simon's Quest, Dracula's Curse. Precision, precision, precision.
That's why Castlevania on Nintendo 64 - twenty years young this week - is a perfect translation of the legacy series into 3D. Every moment of the game is defined by precise, careful inputs. It's challenging from the off - downright arduous in places - but any other approach wouldn't be true to its roots.
Fact is, Castlevania 64 (as it has come to be known) is far more successful than Super Mario 64 in terms of transplantating its host series' gameplay into a fully 3D environment. It feels like Castlevania at every instance, while Super Mario 64 never feels like Mario. Of course, that's not necessarily going to be a positive thing for everyone - what works in lucid 2D can be frustrating in the third dimension. Everywhere is further to run, enemies and obstacles can get behind you and out of camera range, all the usual pitfalls of 3D gaming. I adored it, myself. A completely absorbing and atmospheric experience and one that's unfairly maligned for its missteps, rather than praised for what it gets right.
Also, skeletons on motorcycles! Come on.