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Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

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Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (悪魔城ドラキュラX 血の輪廻Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo,? Devil's Castle Dracula X: Rondo of Blood) is an action-adventure platform video game developed by Konami for the PC Engine. The tenth installment of the Castlevania video game series and a 2D side-scroller, it acts as a middleground between the earlier linear Castlevania games and the later open-exploration ones; Rondo of Blood makes use of untimed stages with a clear beginning, but occasionally more than one ending. It was released in Japan on October 29, 1993. A direct sequel to it, the critically acclaimed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, was released in 1997.

Taking place in 1792, Rondo of Blood is set in the fictional universe of the Castlevania series. The premise of the series is the eternal conflict between the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan and the immortal vampire Dracula. Rondo of Blood centers on Richter Belmont, who searches for his beloved Anette after Dracula's servant abducts her. In Dracula's castle, he frees young Maria Renard, who then becomes a playable character, and two other maidens before finding Annette and defeating him.

Castlevania: Dracula X, a game based on it but with a different art style, redesigned levels and altered gameplay, was released internationally for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System two years later. In 2007, Rondo of Blood saw a North American, European and Australian release and remake as part of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PlayStation Portable. The original PC Engine version became available in Japan in 2008 on Wii's Virtual Console and as an import, in Europe and North America in March 2010. Dracula X received mixed reviews while The Dracula X Chronicles was praised for its updated graphics and inclusion of bonus content such as a port of Symphony of the Night.

Gameplay

File:Drac x1.png

The objective is to guide the primary player-character and protagonist Richter Belmont through nine stages,[2] with four alternate routes,[3] as he searches for his kidnapped beloved and ultimately confronts Dracula in his castle.[4] Richter makes use of a whip as his main weapon and one of six sub-weapons—an axe, a dagger, holy water, a grimoire, a pocket watch, and a cross.[5] While exploring the castle, Richter can rescue four maidens, including the young Maria Renard who then becomes a playable character.[5][6] She attacks with either a cat, dragon, cardinal, turtle, egg or music as her sub-weapons.[5]

Rondo of Blood incorporates elements from the earlier Castlevania games which typically featured linear gameplay and a member of the Belmont clan as the protagonist, and the later entries which allowed the player to explore the environment by not using timed gameplay.[7] Rondo of Blood makes use of untimed stages with a clear beginning, but more than one ending in some levels; this then affects the environment, monsters, and boss monster that the player-character encounters.[7] Items such as money, hearts, and food can be found scattered throughout the areas.[8] Rondo of Blood also features the Item Crash ability reused in subsequent Castlevania titles, which allows a sub-weapon to be used in a super attack.[6] Its direct sequel, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, reuses many of the monsters.[7]

Plot

Taking place in 1792, Rondo of Blood is set in the fictional universe of the Castlevania series. The premise of the series is the eternal conflict between the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan and the immortal vampire Dracula. The protagionist and primary player-character is 19-year-old Richter Belmont, heir to the whip Vampire Killer and Simon Belmont's direct descendant.[9] He comes to the castle after his beloved Annette is kidnapped by Dracula's servant Shaft.[10] Along the way, he frees Maria Renard, an orphaned 12-year-old who was taken to the castle with Annette and insists on joining him;[9][11] Terra, a nun who mistakes him for a manifestation of God;[12] Iris, the daughter of the village doctor;[13] and finally Annette.[14] After defeating Shaft and Death, Richter confronts Dracula and vanquishes him.[15] The castle then collapses into the sea.

Audio

For the audio, Rondo of Blood makes use of a CD in contrast to a HuCard, allowing for better musical quality.[16][17] Masanori Akita and the Konami Kukeiha Club composed the music of Rondo of Blood.[18] The songs from Rondo of Blood, "Overture", "Beginning" and "Opus 13", appeared on a pre-order bonus CD for the 2006 Nintendo DS game Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.[19]

Konami Style published the two-disk soundtrack of the remake of the game, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, on November 8, 2007.[18] The songs "Vampire Killer", "Beginning", "Cemetery", and "Divine Bloodlines" were rearranged; it also included a bonus track of an English-language version of "Nocturne" from Symphony of the Night.[18] Within The Dracula X Chronicles is an option which enables players to choose songs from Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night to play in the background.[4] These songs are found in the form of records hidden within the game.[8]

Versions and rereleases

Rondo of Blood is the tenth installment of the Castlevania video game series.[2] Developed by Konami, Rondo of Blood saw only a Japanese release on the PC Engine on October 29, 1993.[2][3][20] Later, a port was released on the Wii for the Japanese Virtual Console on April 22, 2008; as an import, it became available in North America on March 15, 2010 and in the PAL region (Europe and Australia) on March 19, 2010.[21]

Castlevania: Dracula X

Castlevania: Dracula X, known as Akumajō Dracula XX (悪魔城ドラキュラXX Akumajō Dorakyura Daburu Ekkusu?, Devil's Castle Dracula Double X) in Japan, was developed for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.[3] While the plot is similar to Rondo of Blood, it featured a different art style, redesigned levels, and altered gameplay elements such as having only two alternate levels and Maria as a nonplayable character.[3][17][22] It was released on July 21, 1995 in Japan, in September 1995 in North America, and on February 22, 1996 in Europe.[23]

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, known in Japan as Akumajō Dracula X Chronicle (悪魔城ドラキュラ Xクロニクル Akumajō Dorakyura Ekkusu Kuronikuru?, lit. "Devil's Castle Dracula X Chronicle") and Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss in Europe,[23][24] is a 2.5D remake of Rondo of Blood for the PlayStation Portable.[6] It includes the original game and a port of its sequel, Symphony of the Night, as unlockable content.[6] Symphony of the Night included the option to play as Maria, and redone scripts and voice acting.[25] Gameplay in The Dracula X Chronicles remains largely unchanged from Rondo of Blood.[26] However, a Boss Rush mode was added and completion of it three times unlocks the mini-game Peke.[27] It was released in North America on October 23, 2007, in Japan on November 8, 2007, in Europe on February 15, 2008 and in Australia & New Zealand on April 9, 2008.[28] In 2008, the North American edition was re-released as part of the "Greatest Hits" label while the Japanese edition was re-released on July 15, 2010 under the "Best Selection" label.[28]

Reception

Critical reaction to Rondo of Blood was positive. 1UP described Rondo of Blood as "a beautifully crafted action game in the classic Castlevania style" and a "long-coveted classic".[29] IGN awarded the Wii port its "Editors' Choice" and described it as enjoyable and "worth the wait".[7] Nintendo Life rated it 9/10, praising the level design, soundtrack, graphics, and level difficulty.[16] Rondo of Blood was awarded Best Japanese Action Game of 1994 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[30]

Dracula X received a ranking of 73.75% from Game Rankings, based on four reviews.[31] Dracula X received mixed reviews from critics. Some reviewers labeled it as "an incredibly inferior port"[25] and "an inferior attempt at a conversion."[7] IGN's retrospective on the series referred to it as "still one of the best traditional Castlevania games", and that it "holds its own" in terms of graphics, including a brighter color palette and Mode 7 graphics, but suffered from weak A.I. and bad level layout.[3]

Critical reaction to the remake, The Dracula X Chronicles, was generally favorable. Metacritic listed The Dracula X Chronicles as 80/100 while Game Rankings gave it an 81.40%.[32][33] Reviewers praised the updated visuals, enjoyable soundtrack, inclusion of Symphony of the Night and other bonus content.[1][26][34][35] The high level of difficulty was noted by reviewers as potentially frustrating for players unused to it,[1][26][35] and the voice acting drew criticism as "soap opera fare".[26] Conversely, GameSpy called The Dracula X Chronicles "a solid remake", but considered it unnecessary and "worse than the original".[36]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 jkdmedia (November 13, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles – PSP – Review. Game Zone. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Thorsen, Tor. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood drips onto VC, Rage of the Gladiator strikes WiiWare. Gamespot. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Bozon, Mark (January 18, 2008). Castlevania: The Retrospective – Page 4. IGN. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Joyny, Patrick (February 2, 2007). Previews: Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Gamespy. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Weapons/Spells – Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Guide. IGN. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Parish, Jeremy (February 1, 2007). Castlevania PSP Preview for PSP from 1UP. 1UP. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Thomas, Lucas M. (March 26, 2010). Castlevania: Rondo of Blood Review. IGN. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Items – Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Guide. IGN. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Konami (2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles –Instruction booklet. p. 4. 
  10. Konami Computer Entertainment Japan. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (Konami). PlayStation Portable. (October 23, 2007) "Dracula: That young lady has a certain "connection" with my old foes...the Belmonts. Bring her alive. I have a most amusing idea. / Shaft: By your command."
  11. Konami Computer Entertainment Japan. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (Konami). PlayStation Portable. (October 23, 2007) "Maria: Are you that man Annette was talking about? / Richter: You know about Annette? Where is she? / Maria: We were together when they brought us here, but now... / Richter: I see... / Maria: Don't worry, I'll help you! [...] Richter: Ha! No, no. Just...be good, go home, back to your mom and dad. They're worried about you. / Maria: ...No, they know I'm safe with you. / Richter: ?! / Maria: They can see it from Heaven. They were killed."
  12. Konami Computer Entertainment Japan. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (Konami). PlayStation Portable. (October 23, 2007) "Tera: Oh God in heaven! You've answered my prayers! / Richter: It's dangerous here. Hurry up and run! / Tera: Such majesty. You can only be... the manifestation of God Himself! Oh, great Lord! Your servant, Sister Tera, thanks you with all her soul!"
  13. Konami Computer Entertainment Japan. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (Konami). PlayStation Portable. (October 23, 2007) "Iris: Just relax. My father's a doctor..."
  14. Konami Computer Entertainment Japan. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (Konami). PlayStation Portable. (October 23, 2007) "Annette: Richter... Richter, it's you! / Richter: You're all right. [...] She'll be in danger either way until I settle things with Dracula. And so will you, Annette... Just get as far away from here as you can. / Annette: All right."
  15. Konami Computer Entertainment Japan. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (Konami). PlayStation Portable. (October 23, 2007) "Dracula: Impossible... You've beaten me? / Richter: I'm a Belmont. That's my job. / Dracula: H-Humanity will call me back again. It always does. Its desire is insatiable... / Richter: You're right. We never learn. But we'll have to someday. And in the meantime, if you do come back, someone like me will be waiting."
  16. 16.0 16.1 Dillard, Corbie (March 16, 2010). Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (virtual console) review. Nintendo Life. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Whalen, Mike; Giancarlo Varanini. The History of Castlevania – Page 7. Gamespot. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Gann, Patrick. Akumajou Dracula X Chronicle OST. RPGFan. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  19. Kohler, Chris (November 10, 2006). Exclusive: Castlevania Music CD Track Listing!. Wired.com. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  20. Akumajo Dracula X: Chi no Rondo — Release Summary. GameSpot. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  21. Casltevania: Rondo of Blood for the Wii. Gamespot. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  22. Kelly, Kevin (August 4, 2010). A Brief History of Castlevania: Part One. G4TV. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Castlevania Dracula X — Release Summary. GameSpot. Retrieved on September 11, 2007.
  24. 悪魔城ドラキュラシリーズ総合サイト - 1995 (Japanese). Konami. Retrieved on September 5, 2007.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Kumar, Matthew (January 3, 2008). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles PSP Review. Eurogamer. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Burt, Andy (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles review from GamePro. GamePro. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  27. Secrets – Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Guide. IGN. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP. Gamespot. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  29. Parish, Jeremy (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. 1UP. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  30. Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1995. 
  31. Castlevania Dracula X for SNES. Game Rankings. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  32. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Metacritic. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  33. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP. Game Rankings. Retrieved on September 5, 2010.
  34. Workman, Robert (October 26, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Review. GameDaily. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Cabral, Matt. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Games Radar. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.
  36. Hall, AJ (October 23, 2007). GameSpy: CAstlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles – Page 1. GameSpy. Retrieved on September 4, 2010.

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