Being Castlevania Lite: Review of Gegege no Kitaro (NDS)

Gegege Kitaro, otherwise known as Spooky Kitaro, was a popular anime back in the late 60s. Featuring a one-eyed boy named Kitaro and his host of spooky friends (and a walking eye-ball of a dad), almost each episode sees him tackling rogue spooky fiends.

I used to watch this on Animax not too long ago but I don’t know whether they are still airing it.

Castlevania Lite

In any case, a new game has been released for the Nintendo DS based on the anime and it’s surprisingly good. Think Castlevania Lite. Yup, Gegege no Kitaro: Youkai Daigekisen is a 2D platformer which borrows liberally from its more illustrious counterpart.

Each level will have Kitaro battling against a variety of ghoulish fiends, and despite the game retaining the anime’s cartoonish feel; these fiends and the end level bosses can look mighty scary. The touch screen serves like an encyclopedia of sorts, providing a description of the ghoul that you have just hit or beaten.

There’s a healthy amount of platforming involved in each level and like Castlevania, each level can be a sprawling mess divided into zones. If need be, Kitaro can use his jacket as a parachute to get extended air time (float) to reach certain parts of a level.

Collect Stuff

Some parts of a level are not really necessary to be entered but still require a certain amount of ingenuity to reach them. It is well worth the player’s time to explore every facet of a level as there is bonus content to be unlocked by collecting special items. Unlike Castlevania however, Kitaro doesn’t have an inventory or items to use during the game.

Attack, attack, attack

So how does he tackle all these ghoulish fiends? Kitaro is equipped with a variety of attacks. The first one being needles (I think) shot out from his hair and the second being kicking his wooden clogs (slippers if you may) like a boomerang towards his enemies. Defensively, he can deploy his jacket as a forward shield to counter enemy attacks like fireballs.

There’s also another reason why I’m calling this game a Castlevania Lite; I’ve beaten three bosses so far! This is a far cry from my last Castlevania attempt which saw my character constantly hitting a road block in the form of the first level boss.

Life Insurance

My only gripe about Gegege no Kitaro is how inconsistent your life bar is at the beginning of each level. The first level had Kitaro in the full complement of health. Subsequent levels see Kitaro starting with less than half of that despite finishing the previous level with a full bar of health.

Summary

Gripe aside, being a Japanese game, Gegege no Kitaro is surprisingly import-friendly. Sure you’ll miss out on the cut-scene (told in stills) or whatever Kitaro is talking to you, but you won’t be missing out on the action.

Fans of the classic anime (who happen to own a NDS) and imported games aficionados would most certainly be interested in getting this game. Gegege no Kitaro is currently available at Play-Asia. Click here for further details.

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  1. cavalock July 16, 2008

    yah, luv it on animax too but hate platformers. hah. so i won’t be playing it on my DS.

  2. tokyo_nights July 17, 2008

    haha..i don’t really like platformers as well (most of the time they are just too difficult for me), but this…is quite interesting 😉