(Long post below; Cliff's on bottom for the lazy)
I just crushed Dracula at last!
Castlevania: Dracula X for the Super Nintendo is definitely up there on the list of the hardest games I've ever played. I made through 5 of the most frustrating levels I've ever played through in a Castlevania game, and *WHACK!* hit a brick wall a mile thick in level 6. I'd make it to the top of the clock tower, and face Death. And met my death. A thousand and two times. I became an expert on that level because I whipped my way through it so many times. And no matter how good I became at climbing the Clock Tower that was no less frustrating than the previous 5 levels, Death keeps waiting on the top, and keeps annihilating me when I arrive. Again and again.
That was two years ago. I moved on to another games that's much easier to beat. I even played, and beat, Castlevania Adventure for the GameBoy, which many claimed to be the hardest Castlevania. I vehemently disagree.
And yet, once in a while I'd hook up the Super Nintendo, hoping this time, maybe, I'd have the mad skills to finally send Death to his death. But nope. First I'd have to re-acquire my expertise on the level, to where I would almost always make it through the level without losing a life. And still, my death comes as the clock strikes 12:15 o'clock.
Well, that finally came to an end on one Saturday night (which happens to be last Saturday). I decided to give Death one more jab. I went and re-acquired the mad skills to make it through that damned level without losing a life. That came easily, with so much practice previously. Then came Death. Yes, I died time and time again, but this time I actually begun to get past his first form with regularity. It was only his second, and meaner, form that was giving me trouble.
Until one fateful battle, yes, I finally beat Death. With literally one pixel of life left. It literally came down to who would swing the whip or scythe first. This time, the whip whipped true.
And onwards to level 7 I go. Dracula awaits me at the end of this level. I, overconfident from my previous victory, charged into the level to face Dracula. There's this super-maddening area with moving platforms and medusa heads and a armored knight at the end. I barely made through this stupid area alive. And there I am, at the great hall right before Dracula's throne room.
I marched right in. Wut? Dracula's throne room was huge, and there's PITS all over the uneven floor! And Dracula? He's HARD, and I can't even hit him! Naturally I fell to my death shortly after.
I thought I'd just continue back in the great hall. Just like all the other Castlevania games, right? ... Right?
Defeated, I gave up for the night.
Yesterday, I gave it another shot. Now that I know that I'll have to traverse level 7 over and over again, I'll have to figure out how to get through it like nothing.
It's amazing how memorization and practice makes an area that was so maddeningly hard so ridiculously easy.
And so now that I made the level so easy I could get through it untouched in my sleep... well not quite, but you know what I mean. I faced Dracula. And died. Over and over.
But the thing is, Dracula isn't THAT hard. I mean, I can beat him. He's not like Death, who seemed fucking impossible at first. With Dracula, you just need to concentrate, and not make stupid mistakes. Because one mistake, and you go right down to your death.
Today, same thing. I'd breeze through the level, and face Dracula. Again and again. Once in a while, I'd make no mistakes, and make it through the LONG battle of Dracula's first form. Then he'd transform into this giant winged demon and own me.
I started getting tired, and started making mistakes. I decided to give up for the night. But no, just one more time. So I went through the level, and faced Count Dracula for what I would find out to be the last time (in this game, anyway). Somehow I stayed focused throughout the long battle, and made no mistakes. And transformation time. The big bad demon came upon me, and knowing I have full health and could be stomped on a few times before I die, I stayed back, where I could get hit and not be knocked into an hole, and used up all of my hearts for cross crashes, and when I was out, he was at about 1/4 of his health. I started whipping, not caring that he is RIGHT ON THE TOP OF ME.
And just like that, a white flash filled the screen. I outlived the bastard.
I fucking outlived the bastard.
Easily one of my proudest moments in gaming.
I got to level 6, but Death is really hard.
2 years later, I finally beat him after many tries.
Dracula's throne room is hard, and Dracula himself is worse.
I beat Dracula today.