Episode Review

Return To Castlevania

Thursday, November 30, 2006, 2:52 PM - 4:42 PM

Summary (2:53 PM)

Kevin and Simon go to Castlevania to attend The Simon Belmont Awards, where Simon is going to be honored for being a hero like his great-grandfather, Trevor Belmont. The Poltergeist King appears on stage, where Simon expects to be presented with the weapons his ancestor made famous. Instead, the King calls Trevor a coward, and accuses him of stealing the credit after the King defeated the Count. He curses the Belmont family with a thousand years of shame. He then disappears, taking the weapons with him. The audience begins booing Simon and throwing food at him. Simon escapes by running into a warp. It turns out that the Count was impersonating the King. With Simon no longer considered a hero, the Count could easily take over Castlevania. Igor, a small winged creature sitting on top of the King's staff, warns the Count that the real Poltergeist King was escaping from the tower where he was being held captive. He was climbing down a bedsheet. The Count flies up and uses the King's magic staff to set the "rope" on fire. The King climbs back up to the window he came out of. Alucard, the Count's son, comes by on his bat-shaped skateboard to show his dad a new trick. The Count is mad at Alucard, because he was supposed to be watching the King. He tells his son to get out of his castle. After looking for Simon in every dungeon in town, Kevin finds Simon in the graveyard on the other side of Castlevania. Simon was at Trevor's grave. It's the only place he dared show his face. He sits on another grave and awakens an old wizard from his sleep, who at first mistakes Simon for Trevor. He says a braver man never lived, and that he helped Trevor defeat the Count 100 years ago. Kevin says they have to find the Poltergeist King and hear the whole story. The old wizard accidentally casts the wrong spell and brings a Skull Knight to life! Simon is too upset to notice it, however. Kevin zaps it, and one of the horns bonks the wizard on the head, causing him to remember a spell. He freezes the Skull Knight, which crumbles. Simon then turns around to see what's going on. The Count is watching all of this using a ring. When Simon, Kevin, and the old wizard warp into the Poltergeist King's cave, the "King" is outraged at Simon's presence. Kevin fires at a spike, and water comes gushing out. The Count then turns back into his true form. He sends spikes down from the ceiling, his "Belmont Bashers", to crush them, and then leaves. The old wizard again chants the wrong spell, warping himself out of there. Then Alucard comes by, destroys the spikes, introduces himself, and insists that he's on their side. The Count is hiding, hearing all of this, and can't believes his own son's a traitor. When Simon, Alucard, and Kevin warp into the Count's room, the Count warps there as well. During the battle, Alucard helps his dad. Simon knocks the magic staff out of the Count's hand. The Count goes to get it, while Alucard holds Kevin and Simon off. Simon swings towards the Count using his whip, and knocks him away before he can get the staff. Kevin takes care of Alucard. Later, at The Simon Belmont Awards, the audience is falling asleep (the Poltergeist King is already asleep) from Simon's long, boring speech as he accepts Trevor's weapons. The old wizard casts a spell, tying Simon up with bandages like a mummy so he can't talk. Kevin and the audience crack up laughing.

Misc. Tidbits (2:53 PM - 2:54 PM)

The episode was written by Matt Uitz.

The episode originally aired on Saturday, September 28, 1991, as the third episode of Season 3 and the thirtieth episode of the series.

I first saw this episode on NBC and then on "Captain N & The Video Game Masters".

Interesting Notes (2:54 PM - 4:39 PM)

The title is white with no quotes.

The graveyard where Trevor Belmont is buried is "on the other side of Castlevania" from the Count's castle.

Simon has a scrapbook.

Kevin's Zapper beams are blue in this episode.

Kevin's weapons don't lose power in this episode.

Great Lines (3:08 PM - 4:20 PM)

Kevin: "Simon, they're not honoring you for Hairstyle of the Year. It's for being a hero like your great-grandfather."

Simon: "Your Kingship, I humbly accept the gifts you have come to bestow upon my heroic head."

Simon: "My life is tomato paste! I'll never be able to live this down!"

Igor: "You're a genius, o evil one."
The Count: "Thank you, Igor. Coming from you, that means zip."

Igor: "Your Wickedness, look. The real Poltergeist King is getting away!"
The Count: "Well, stop flapping your lips and start flapping your wings! Go, stop him!"

The Count: "Do I have to do every evil thing myself?"

Simon: "This is the only place I dare show my face,...and such a handsome face, too."

Kevin: "Looks like dear old dad is out to lunch."
The Count: "No, I thought I'd have a bite in my room today."

Kevin: "I think simon's gonna need our help, Alucard."
Alucard: "You're the one who's gonna need help, sucker."
Simon: "See? We never should've trusted that son of a count."

Simon: "Oh, that he were here to witness the glory that has been bestowed on the House of Belmont this day."
Kevin: "Oh, that he were here to shut down the mouth of Belmont this day."

Dumb Lines (4:20 PM)


Rant (2:55 PM - 4:42 PM)

This episode was written by Matt Uitz. The previous episodes written by Matt Uitz are "The Trojan Dragon", "Once Upon a Time Machine" (cowritten with Michael Maurer), and "Pursuit of the Magic Hoop". The first and third episodes were good. The second episode was average. How well does he do this time?

This episode is based on "Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse" for the NES, which came out in September of 1990 (when Season 2 was starting to air, explaining why there couldn't be an episode based on this game in Season 2).

The music that plays over the Captain N logo in this episode is unknown, since I have only a VGM copy of this episode, but, based on the music that plays during the episode's title, we can guess that it's creepy-type music.

Ah, Castlevania. It's been a long time since we've been here. Season 1, actually. Castlevania did not appear at all in Season 2. CV3 is a prequel to the first 2 CV games, taking place in past (100 years before the birth of Simon, according to the game's instruction manual, but the Japanese game and manual are vaguer about it, and the official Japanese timeline places it over 200 years before CV1). The game started Simon's ancestor (according to the NES manual, great-grandfather), Trevor Belmont (Ralph C. Belmont in Japan). This episode deals with that by taking place in the present but having Simon attend an awards ceremony to receive the weapons that Trevor used.

The awards ceremony is called The Simon Belmont Awards. I bet the name was Simon's idea.

Simon's appearance has been simplified as well, of course.

The Poltergeist King never appears in the game. There's a brief mention of him in the NES instruction manual as having given the weapons to Trevor. Matt Uitz must have read the manual (or a summary of the manual's story in an outline) and used that. The Poltergeist King is an American invention. He doesn't exist in the original story at all. Storywise, Sonia Belmont originally gathered the weapons. However, Koji Igarashi, the sexist pig that currently produces the Castlevania series in Japan, kicked Sonia and her game out of his official timeline, so now the weapons date back even earlier to Leon Belmont. Anyway, let's keep going.

The Count's appearance has been simplified, too. Without all of the wrinkles, he now looks younger.

Here is what makes a lot of Castlevania fans hate this episode. Alucard was changed from a serious character to a skateboarding, teenaged valley kid. "Alriiight! Vampires rule!" "Whoa! Cool it, dad dude! You're wrinklin' the cape." Yeah, whatever. Go away, Alucard.

The graveyard where Trevor Belmont is buried is "on the other side of Castlevania" from the Count's castle. There's a graveyard a short distance from the castle - as seen in "Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain" and "Simon the Ape-Man". I wonder why he wasn't buried there. Then again, I guess Castlevania has a lot of cemeteries.

The old wizard isn't in the game. He's most likely a corruption of Sypha Belnades. Matt Uitz probably didn't know that Sypha is a girl.

Kevin presses the entire cross-key and the A and B buttons on his Power Pad (which is still drawn incorrectly) to shift to the right. What the hell? That's a little overboard; don'tcha think?

I'm not sure, but I doubt that Alucard's fireballs can destroy those "Belmont Bashers" in the game.

For the most part, this episode seems to have people appearing from and disappearing into warps, rather than going through them. That's pretty lazy.

Kevin mentions lunch, despite the fact that the announcer said it was night earlier. Come to think of it, the sky does change from night to day in this episode. I guess Simon was in the graveyard for hours before Kevin found him.

It's a neat game reference when a boomerang (the NES manual's name for the cross is "Banshee Boomerang") appears after Simon whips the candle.

Simon refers to his relationship with Trevor as "like grandfather, like grandson". Oops.

The episode ends on a cute note - with the old wizard bandaged Simon up, so he can't talk.

The animation of the old wizard zapping Simon, Simon struggling to speak, and Kevin laughing is repeated - sped up. I don't know why they did this. I can only guess that there wasn't enough animation, and they had to fill the episode to a certain running time.

Lesson: Don't trust a son of a count.

This episode is above average. You can't cram the entire plot of "Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse" into 10.5 minutes, so Grant is out, and so is the journey through the Transylvanian countryside. Sypha was screwed up. So was Alucard (but that can be forgiven, given that this is pre-SotN, so Alucard had no real characterization in the U.S.). Still, it's more enjoyable than "Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods", which was average, so it's good.

I'm confused about one thing, though. Did Alucard really betray the Count at first, or was it part of his plan to set up Kevin and Simon?

In this episode, Kevin and Simon appear. Lana, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, Duke, and Gameboy must be back at the Palace of Power.

Oh, yeah, the Palace of Power doesn't appear in this episode. Neither do Mother Brain or her lackeys.

As for what to cut out, I can't think of any filler in this episode. Matt Uitz made good use of the short running time that he was given to work with. This is a lean episode.

Overall, "Return To Castlevania" is a good episode.

Usefulness ratings:

Kevin: 8 (giving the old wizard his memory back, exposing the Count, defeating the small creature, defeating 4 mummies, defeating Alucard)
Simon: 2 (defeating the Count, standing on Alucard's coffin)

Even though this is a Simon episode, Kevin is the most useful N Team member. Even though it's uncertain if the knock on the heard from the skull knight's horn, caused by Kevin's Zapper blast, caused the old wizard to regain his memory or not, I'm giving Kevin credit to be fair. The same goes for giving Simon the point for standing on Alucard's coffin. It might have prevented him from getting out long enough for the good guys to escape.

The running total usefulness ratings for this season so far are:

Kevin: 21 (3 episodes)
Lana: 2 (1 episode)
Simon: 2 (1 episode)
Mega Man: 0 (0 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 2 (1 episode)
Duke: 1 (2 episodes)
Gameboy: 0 (0 episodes)

Kevin goes further into the lead, leaving everyone else in the dust. Simon moves into a three-way tie for second place with Lana and Kid Icarus.

The running total usefulness ratings for the series so far are:

Kevin: 158 (29 episodes)
Lana: 44 (27 episodes)
Simon: 50 (27 episodes)
Mega Man: 43 (26 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 50 (27 episodes)
Duke: 25 (28 episodes)
Gameboy: 18 (13 episodes)

Simon reaches the 50s, tying with Kid Icarus for second place. Lana is still in 4th place. We'll see how long that she stays there.

That's the end of my review of "Return To Castlevania". "Totally Tetrisized" originally aired fourth in Season 3 - on Saturday, October 5, 1991, so I'll review that next. See you all in my next review!

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