Most of my thoughts are best summarized through each of the boss fights in the Castlevania.
Bat — Tough until I realized I had a secondary weapon. This realization really made the game open up as I started to better understand how to best utilize each weapon depending on the enemy/boss.
Mummy — Relatively easy. Was able to attack from a ledge and whittle down the boss’ health before he could do much to me.
Frankenstein and Igor — Things started to ramp up. Took quite a few tries to find a strategy that worked. Ultimately rushed the boss and took him down before Igor could really get moving/attacking around the screen.
Death — Oy. Spent a good hour or so fighting Death. Regrettably I only had two hearts, the boomerang, and not even enough health to endure a single hit. As a result of my weapon, I was forced to get up on the central ledge to attack Death, which unfortunately made myself an easy target for Death’s scythes. And since I only had two hearts, I was constantly trying to jump around, not just dodging the scythes but also trying to grab more hearts as they fell. Ultimately, I restarted the game with some help from Game Genie. Problem solved.
Dracula — Cool fight. Preferred Dracula’s human form as it felt more iconic. That said, his change was a surprise. The battle led to a nice ending scene.
In addition though, I must mention the music. It’s great. Worth playing for that alone if you have an NES already hooked up. Relatedly, I played Castlevania on the Retro-USB AVS. This is the first game I’ve played to completion since getting my AVS a few months ago. It looked and sounded awesome.
To avoid this becoming an AVS review, I’ll leave my thoughts on the AVS at this. The AVS is great. It’s reliability and audio/video performance are fantastic and make the fact that you’re playing retro games no different than playing any other modern console (i.e. no need to switch over to your CRT). Plus, as I suggested earlier, the built in Game Genie sure came in handy.