released on Jan 26, 1999
by Konami

Take control of Reinhardt Schneider, a whip-toting Vampire Killer who has waited his whole life to meet his destiny, or Carrie Fernandez, a young girl with a strong magical presence who is mysteriously drawn to Dracula's evil Castlevania. It is their duty to seek out Castlevania and put an end to its residents' plans. What is your destiny?

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dog weiner
The fact that this came out after Symphony of the Night is jaw-dropping. It kinda sucks.

Tá longe de ser o pior Castlevania de todos, passei mais raiva com o The Adventure do que com esse. O 64 ainda me fez soltar risadas de muitas coisas (tipo a caveira de moto e a missão de levar uma bomba que explode ao pular ou ser atacado). Só desisti porque, pra minha surpresa, o jogo só vai até a metade caso você jogue no modo fácil e, sendo sincero, não acho que vale a pena recomeçar tudo de novo pelo modo normal só pra, enfim, continuar e zerar o jogo.

é um jogo ruim, mas não é tão ruim assim, simon's quest é bem mais torturante

This game sure has some staunch defenders and I think I somewhat understand where they're coming from. The music is a lot more atmospheric compared to other Castlevania OSTs and, uh actually, that's about all I got. It's not as bad as a lot of its detractors say it is, but it's not this misunderstood gem either.
As is (mostly) standard for early 3D games, the camera is a mess at points, usually at times when you don't want it to get fucky. The biggest cause of death in this game isn't the enemies or bosses, it's the one-two combo of the camera and jumping into poisonous water/bottomless pits. Speaking of the enemies, they feel mostly uninspired (except for the skeleton bikers, they're rad). The bosses were quite pathetic, I literally threw axes at Dracula's face, and he couldn't do a thing.
There are two playable characters, Reinhardt and Carrie. I was originally going to play through both campaigns but after finishing Reinhardt's hollow story I opted out of doing so. Carrie is supposed to be the "easy mode" of the game, so if you're curious enough to play this, then it's probably in your best interest to go with her instead. On the subject of easy mode, if you want to see this game through to the end, then select normal difficulty after choosing your file. The game will end early after finishing the Castle Center level.
I actually had this game as a kid, and I know for a fact I never really got much further than the Castle Wall level. I remember the big skeleton boss in the first level and that's about it. I must have shut it off after falling into the poison river one too many times and switched over to Mario 64 or Pokémon Stadium instead. It's not awful, but it's also not good and I even struggle to call it mediocre since I felt almost nothing playing this. From what I hear, Legacy of Darkness is a better experience and retroactively makes this one obsolete, so you should probably just ignore this one altogether.

Kind of amazing how much AVGN just completely lied about this game.
Castlevania 64 has one hell of a negative reputation, but when you dig through the many arguments as to why it's bad, it basically settles at "camera bad, SOTN better". If being worse than Symphony of the Night is a qualifier for a game being a 0/10, then I'm afraid we're going to have to throw most of the games industry in the bin (probably for the best). Castlevania 64 and SOTN are completely incomparable beyond the very unsurprising fact that SOTN, which simply built on and overhauled the same style of game Konami had been making for over a decade by this point, was better than Castlevania 64...the second 3D game (to my knowledge) that Konami ever worked on.
While I think the hate for this game is absurdly overblown, it's certainly not a perfect package. The camera is certainly the biggest woe - even then, in a lot of circumstances the devs have decided to take the reigns and just have it point in the best direction for your platforming. Bosses sometimes have their own cameras too...other times, for some reason, they don't. I wish it were more consistent, but that's what rushed development gets you. Sometimes it'll get stuck on terrain which is annoying, but the biggest failure point is that it's hard to get the camera to point towards an enemy that is behind you. More on that little part later...
Gameplay is a standard early 3D action-platformer. You can run around freely, jump long distances, and attack. Attacking is a little clunky but generally responsive, and, as Reinhardt, really evokes the same vibe as the 2D games. Subweapons can be used with the yellow down-button (the N64 controller is just an absolute gremlin isn't it), but don't really have much difference between each other in the 2D space. Jumping is probably where the problems start - you have to remember to hold the jump button, because most platforming relies on your character grabbing the edge of the platform and pulling themselves up. You only hold on if you're holding the button - something people seem to take issue with? Hope you don't ever play Tomb Raider. The controls really aren't that bad; the camera is the main thing holding it back, but more than that - a failed jump usually means instant death, and that kicks you right back to the save point on the spot. Thus, any failures from platforming feel a lot more aggravating than they would in the 2D games, or other 3D platformers that leave room for failure in the form of losing health or checkpoints. Also, the right yellow button is for picking up things - this is vital to know as it's the only way you get subweapons and ammo, open doors, literally do anything in the game.
Progression has you go through several levels on the path to confront Dracula, as per usual. These levels are pretty interesting though, making good use of the third dimension for some neat gimmicks, such as shortcuts that tie areas together very neatly. Admittedly, these ideas run thin the further in you go, until the final third where the levels basically become normal Castlevania levels from a third-person perspective. Honestly, as much as I like the ways in which they experimented, the game was at its best when it was just being regular ol' Vania. There's a particularly infamous segment involving transporting an explosive that kills you if you get hit, or even so much as jump. I found that segment to be vastly easier than people made it out to be, moreso tedious if anything. Also, the solution is very easy, much easier than a certain Youtube personality made it out to be.
It's worth mentioning here that you get the choice between 2 characters. Reinhardt is the typical Castlevania protagonist, a macho man with a whip and the blood of the Belmonts. He can attack with the whip, or a sword if there are a horde of pesky bats to deal with. The whip is generally accurate, but run into the occasional collision detection issue with some bosses. I tried him out first, and honestly enjoyed the game a fair bit with him. The other character is a 12-year old girl called Carrie...and the reason I bumped down the score. She attacks with a magical homing projectile that somehow misses half the damn time. It can only hit enemies on camera, so if the camera is choosing not to show you an enemy, you don't get to hit them. That's frustrating enough, but they also have their own differing levels and bosses. Reinhardt's levels are pretty solid, while Carrie's are really cheap and annoying. The bosses are the reverse; Carrie's are the only bosses she fights that feel balanced for her moveset (well, them and the true ending's final boss) and Reinhardt's range from too hard to too easy. Having the two characters was neat, but Konami clearly struggled to balance the game for them both. Carrie has the far harder levels and fights, but then gets to just walk through Dracula like he's nothing. Probably the most badass 12 year old in videogaming, but not very fun to play.
Music has always been Castlevania's strong suit, and 64 delivers. Never going to forget how AVGN just told the bold faced lie "there is no fucking music". There's plenty of music, and it's awesome. Atmosphere is built really well, from the environmental cues, sound design, and best of all the music that veers more towards the soundtrack to a B-movie than it does the metal-albumness of SOTN. While generally striking its own path, a few classic tracks from Rondo of Blood get some solid remixes. Just a really great set of sombre tunes that compliment the aesthetic pretty well.
There's also a weird Day/Night Cycle thrown in, akin to Simon's Quest. Some events in the early game only happen at specific times, requiring an awful lot of waiting. Doors bearing sun and moon symbols also exist, which only open when at day or night respectively. These appear in the middle of the game, but honestly? I think the devs forgot about this gimmick entirely, as it's almost never relevant past those story segments. Only 2 constants throughout the game are affected; being bitten by a vampire can sometimes infect you with vampirism. If you fail to cure it by midnight (with an item easily dropped or bought), you succumb and get a game over. The other thing the cycle affects is the ending: if you fail to reach Dracula in approximately 14/15 days(?), you'll be stuck with the bad ending. You can use items called sun and moon cards to change the time of day to what you desire immediately, but overuse of them will quickly lead to a bad ending. Certainly an interesting idea, but once again undercooked.
I would genuinely argue that this game gets a lot of unnecessary shit when it makes the jump to 3D no more awkwardly than the likes of Sonic, despite Adventure being celebrated and this game being condemned. With some more time in the oven, it could've even been a stone-cold classic for the system. It also doesn't overstay its welcome - maybe it's even a little too short, I would've liked to see more of the areas such as the Clock Tower. That being said, I can only recommend it to N64 enthusiasts or big Castlevania fans who are open to playing games that aren't just the IGAvanias. Of course, you could also make the argument to play Legacy of Darkness instead, but that's still a very different game, and I'm interested to see exactly what changes it makes.