Super Castlevania IV
For fans of the classic series, Super Castlevania IV is an odd entry, one either beloved or hated. While in many ways an improvement over the games that game before it, benefitting greatly from the improved graphics and power of the Super Nintendo, other improvements from the earlier games were omitted, making for a mixed-bag of ups and downs for fans.
Chronologically, Super Castlevania IV fits into a weird place in the larger Castlevania story. Billed in the US as the third game in the Simon Belmont saga, Konami sold the game as a remake of the original game that started it all in Japan. Whichever version of the timeline you chose (and we here at the Inverted Dungeon prefer keeping Super Castlevania IV as it's own entry in the timeline), the game isn't exactly story heavy. There's nothing in this game to replace the branching paths and multiple characters of Castlevania III, nor is there the Mega Man-style level selection of Castlevania Adventure II. For fans looking for more, varied story and action, Super Castlevania IV failed to deliver.
That's not to say it's a bad game by any stretch (for many of us here at the Inverted Dungeon it's on our "best of" lists for the series). What the game may have lacked in variety it more than made up in tight control and beautiful action. Simon recieved quite an upgrade in the game, adding the ability to whip in eight directions, free-twirl his whip, and use a seperate button for his sub-weapon attacks (a boon for players). In fact, many of these improvements make the game easier, reducing the difficulty -- part of the reason the game is as divisive among the community is the fact that it doesn't have that "classic" brutal difficult people came to expect.
Sadly, the great control innovations from Super Castlevania IV were lost in later games, leaving this game as a weird leftover -- a game unlike what came before or since but clearly of-a-piece with the series none-the-less. Even if it isn't an official entry in the series any more it's still worthwhile to view from a historical perspective, a mght-have-been for where even the classic series could have gone through its many small permutations.