Regarded by many as the best "traditional" Castlevania game, Dracula's Curse has been one of the most hotly anticipated VC releases since it came out in Europe last fall. Fans can breathe easier now, because the wait has been well worth it.

Eschewing the adventure format of Simon's Quest, Dracula's Curse returns to more of a straight-forward style, with two major twists. The first is the ability to choose your path through the game. At the end of some levels, you'll be able to choose what area will take on next. Of course, some are easier than others, but players will be encouraged to explore, as they'll be able to find the game's other twist -- companion characters -- if the correct route is chosen.

The companion characters, who can be swapped into play at any time once they're found, add a big dimension to the gameplay. Each of them have their own special abilities and weaknesses. Learning what character to use in particular situations becomes a key component and adds a lot of depth and replay value to the game.

When you combine this with some of the best graphics and sound the NES could put out, this represents the top tier of NES games, and is a worthy addition to anyone's VC collection.

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