✎✎✎ The Haunted Castle History

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The Haunted Castle History

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The Smurfs soon see the ghost that is chasing their human friends, but when the ghost sees them, he becomes frightened having never seen Smurfs before. He starts fleeing from them, with a delighted Brainy in pursuit until the ghost disappears through a wall, causing the Smurf to hit his head. Finally, Johan and Peewit together with the Smurfs discover the ghost is actually friendly, introducing himself as Adelbert de Baufort. He tells his visitors that the land of his once magnificent castle had seven fountains that during his lifetime, were dried up by the evil witch Sarah , whom he had once crossed.

Because of this, the land around his castle dried up, causing the people of his estate to leave. Blaming him for causing the springs to dry up, the spirits of his ancestors cursed Adlebert after his death to haunt the castle as a ghost until the day that the seven fountains flow again. As the ghost of Aldebert vanishes after telling his story, Johan asks if there's any way they can help, and Papa Smurf says that only Sarah would know how to restore the springs, and she's been dead for a hundred years.

Johan suggests that maybe Sarah had passed on her magic abilities to someone else, and Papa Smurf says he knows of a sorcerer nearby who perhaps can help. The following day, Johan and Peewit are led by the Smurfs to the sorcerer's cabin, despite Peewit fretting the magician may turn them all into toads. When the terrifying-looking sorcerer answers the door to Johan's knock, Peewit panics and bolts. Then he sees a toad hop by and, assuming it is Johan turned into one by the sorcerer, tries to catch it. Only after he dives into a pond after it does he see Johan standing at the edge with the sorcerer, and realizes he has been pursuing a real toad. The sorcerer informs the pair that Sarah's abilities have been passed on to another witch named Rachel , but the sorcerer doesn't know where she lives.

Peewit is ready to turn back, but Papa Smurf says he knows of this Rachel and that she owes him a favor. Following Papa Smurf's directions, Johan, Peewit, and the Smurfs arrive at Rachel's cabin only to find nobody inside to answer the door. Papa Smurf decides that they should wait inside for her, but tells the others not to touch a thing. Peewit finds a jar that he thinks is full of water to cool himself off with, but upon splashing the liquid in it upon himself, he bursts out in an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Papa Smurf finds out that Peewit had splashed himself with Laughing Water. Just then Rachel arrives and, finding Peewit laughing like crazy from her Laughing Water, picks up another jar full of regular water and douses the jester with it, restoring his senses.

When she learns what her visitors want, she offers them a magical divining rod that once belonged to Sarah, which Johan eagerly accepts. All Rachel wants is for her visitors to bring it back when they are done with it, and Papa Smurf assures her he will. Soon Johan, Peewit, and the Smurfs are searching all over the forest with the divining rod. Just as Peewit is beginning to wonder if the thing will truly work, the rod pulls Johan in a certain direction before it strikes the ground, causing a gusher of water to erupt. Seeing that one of the seven fountains is restored, Peewit tries his hand at finding the next fountain with the divining rod and is also pulled in a certain direction until the rod strikes a tree stump, and then suddenly another gusher of water erupts.

Eventually all seven fountains are restored with the divining rod, which Johan and Peewit report to Aldebert while the Smurfs return the rod to Rachel. But Aldebert says that he cannot pass on to his ancestors yet, not until the one and only true heir returns to the castle within two days after the springs' restoration, else all is lost. Johan wonders how they can find "the one true heir", and Aldebert shows them the imprint of the Baufort seal which has been passed on from father to son for many generations, the seal that he says "the one true heir" will possess.

Johan says that he and Peewit will start their search on the following day, and Aldebert reminds them that they only have two days to find him. By morning, Johan and Peewit are awakened by somebody calling himself Gil De Baufort, who is now claiming the castle for himself. He is soon joined by another person called Louis De Baufort who is also claiming the castle for himself. A third person climbs through the window, calling himself a De Baufort and also claiming the castle for himself. As the three start fighting it out over who has the rightful claim, a fourth person joins in, calling himself a De Baufort, and escalates the already intense situation.

A fifth person comes along, but to Peewit's surprise he isn't a De Baufort descendant; rather, he represents Jean De Baufort, who he claims is the "one true heir", and even says that Jean has the family seal. The four De Bauforts stop fighting among themselves when they hear of that and conspire together to get the seal from Jean De Baufort, but as Johan bravely tries to stop them from doing such a dastardly deed, they conspire to have him and Peewit be put into the dungeon. During the night, the Smurfs return to the castle to find other humans in it, with Brainy wondering where Johan and Peewit are. As they search for their friends, the four De Bauforts have Jean's representative write a letter to his master, telling him of an urgent matter that he must attend to.

Meanwhile, Aldebert is scaring one of his descendants, which catches the attention of Johan and Peewit who are trapped in the dungeon. As they call out his name, the Smurfs head for the dungeon to inform Johan and Peewit of the trap the De Bauforts are setting up for "the one true heir". Then Aldebert shows up, but tells them as a ghost he cannot touch anything that would help them escape, and all he did was scare the person who held the keys to the dungeon. That gives Johan an idea, and soon Aldebert is going around the castle scaring most of the descendants while the three Smurfs wear cloths and pose as ghosts to get the keys from the family member who holds them.

With Johan and Peewit now free, they and the Smurfs head upstairs in the hope that Aldebert will cover their escape, but as morning has now risen, he ends up vanishing, saying that the following night will be his last night. Peewit has the idea of covering themselves in bedsheets to keep the De Bauforts scared long enough to escape, but soon Peewit's cover is blown, causing the De Bauforts to now chase after the five ghost impersonators.

Haunted Castle is the first game in the series which once again adopted a playstyle similar to that of the original Famicom and NES games, with Vampire Killer for the MSX and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest diverging from this formula with role playing elements, such as leveling up and more open-ended design. Thus roughly following the template of the original game, Haunted Castle is made up of six linear stages; each with a characteristic focus - through graveyards and underground caverns, leading through the castle hallway and basement, ending in a confrontation with Count Dracula. On the other hand, some features that were unique to the series at that point were included as well: a wall which breaks apart brick by brick and attacks the player, a glass knight which jumps out of a window, and so on.

The first upgrade which can be obtained changes Simon's weapon into a mace, a unique idea in the series. The weapon upgrade system has been altered from Castlevania since, contrary to that game, there are no candles. Instead, hearts and weapons are distributed by defeated enemies. The stronger weapons are a chain morning star and a sword , both of which were exceptional at the time, as weapon upgrades before were only more powerful versions of the whip instead. Several unique sub-weapons were introduced in Haunted Castle as well: dynamite and torches taking the place of holy water but with a similar function, and a boomerang which acts like the cross from Castlevania.

A unique weapon is the cross , which shoots out little cross-shaped rays. The timer stopwatch returns with the exact same function as before. Whereas previous Castlevania titles gave the player unlimited continues, Haunted Castle only allowed the player three continues after death. Afterward the player would have to start over from the beginning. The player can also add money to the machine to refill their the health meter, though this will also use up their limited continues. Several different ROM sets with varying difficulties exist. One of the American sets is labeled "M" and is considered the most difficult of all of them, with certain enemies some even found in the very first stage able to reduce the player's life meter by half and fewer item drops.

The set named "K" is relatively easier, with the same difficulty as the Japanese named N and P and European versions named E. Although overall the gameplay mechanics of Haunted Castle were the same as Castlevania games up to that point, certain aspects such as Simon in lower difficulties being able to only take two hits before being killed, and to a lesser extent the enemy and level design, were reminiscent of the Capcom game Ghosts 'n' Goblins.

Many songs have been remixed in later games. The game was initially developed as an original horror action game unrelated to the Castlevania series. At some point during the development period, which was around six months, the game was in bad shape, quality and schedule-wise. Reportedly, the project was short-staffed. The head of Konami ordered people who were working on a completely different project, called Hot Chase , to help out with the project, one of which was Masaaki Kukino.

The idea of a crumbling bridge , a first in the franchise, was thought of and implemented after the Hot Chase team joined development. It was decided to retool the game into an entry in the Castlevania series. The development team alongside the Hot Chase team spend one month redrawing all the sprites in order to make the game's atmosphere match up with that of Castlevania. Furthermore, unfinished stages and characters were completed and the quality of the player and enemy sprites was improved, as well as their effects and attacks. The schedule left no room for any big additions or changes. However, the concept of the crumbling bridge in the last stage was conceived during that stage of development. During this stage of development, the protagonist's identity was changed to Simon Belmont.

However, Haunted Castle was specifically made for the arcades and it's not a port of the original Castlevania. Due to complicated mechanics posing a problem in arcade games, it was decided the game should be different from the previous two Castlevania games. Despite this, Haunted Castle was advertised as being "the ultimate version of the game that appeared on the Famicom and MSX ". The game is also often labeled as a "remake" of the original Castlevania by Konami, despite almost sharing nothing in common.

Kukino later said in an interview that time for debugging was needed, which resulted in the staff having no more time to make changes to the balancing. However, at that time all the staff members from Hot Chase had returned to their own project already. Haunted Castle was not considered a success in arcades by Konami. Criticism includes the main character being rather large when compared to other Castlevania games' characters, and thus an easy target for enemy and obstacle hits, poor hit-detection, and most prominently the game's difficulty.

Haunted Castle has been cited as being one of the most difficult Castlevania games in existence.

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