Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
As a follow up to Castlevania II, Castlevania III takes a more "back-to-basic" approach. Featuring a new hero for the series, Simon's many-times-removed ancestor Trevor Belmont, Castlevania III forsakes the innovations of the previous NES entry, returning us to a linear adventure to destroy Dracula in his Demon Castle. No searching for body parts, no upgrades to purchase, no RPG elements.
And yet, despite what it removes, Castlevania III is not a step back for the series. The game features a drastically expanded adventure, with most of the game happening outside of Dracula's castle grounds. The adventure begins in Warakyia Village, and Trevor has to venture from there through the lands of Romania -- over two different possible paths, no less -- to get to the castle. It's a substantial quest, with plenty of areas to explore, especially if the player wants to see everything the game has to offer.
Along the way, Trevor will encounter three other heroes -- Grant DyNasty (pirate), Sypha Belnades (sorceress), and Alucard (vampire) -- all willing to aid Trevor in the defeat of Dracula. Only one of them can adventure with the Belmont at a time, so the player will have to choose wisely and pick from the powers best suited to the path ahead.
On top of the substantial quest and options, Castlevania III features improved graphics and sound. No one is going to claim the NES was a power house, but for it's time, Castlevania III made the best of the little system.
In every regard, Castlevania III is an improvement over the original Castlevania. While it takes a more familiar path than Castlevania II, it does so with great skill. As the last of the Castlevania series for the NES, Castlevania III is a fitting finish to an era of gaming.