Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

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Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Dracula x (j) front.jpg
Japanese box art
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Director(s) Toru Hagihara
Producer(s) Yoshiaki Yamada
Composer(s) Akiropito
Keizo Nakamura
Tomoko Sano
Mikio Saito
Series Castlevania
Platform(s) PC Engine, Virtual Console
Release date(s) PC Engine
  • JP October 29, 1993
Virtual Console
  • JP April 22, 2008
  • NA March 15, 2010
  • PAL March 19, 2010
Genre(s) Platforming, Horror, Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, cartridge, download

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (悪魔城ドラキュラX 血の輪廻 (ロンド) Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo?, lit. Devil's Castle Dracula X: Rondo of Blood) is a platform video game developed by Konami for the PC Engine. It is set in the fictional universe of the Castlevania series, where the protagonist Richter Belmont goes to save his lover Annette, who was abducted by Dracula. 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.

Gameplay[edit]

Richter fighting the Behemoth.[1]

The objective is to guide the primary player character Richter Belmont through nine stages,[2] with four alternate routes,[3] as he searches for his kidnapped beloved Annette 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 Annette's young sister[6] Maria Renard who then becomes a playable character.[5][7] She attacks using her doves and one of six sub-weapons: a cat, dragon, cardinal, turtle, egg or musical notes.[5] She is more agile, can do a double jump, and can do twice the amount of damage that Richter does in each normal attack because the doves she shoots out return to her and therefore can do a second hit of damage on the way back, but she takes much less damage than Richter before she dies.

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 emphasized untimed exploration of the environment.[8] Rondo of Blood makes use of untimed stages with a clear beginning, but more than one ending to some levels; this then affects the subsequent environment, monsters, and boss monster that the player character encounters at the end of the level.[8] Items such as money, hearts, and food can be found scattered throughout the areas.[9] 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.[7] Its direct sequel, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, reuses many of the monsters.[8]

Plot[edit]

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 protagonist is 19-year-old Richter Belmont (Jin Horikawa), heir to the whip Vampire Killer and Simon Belmont's direct descendant.[10] He comes to the castle after his beloved Annette (Atsuko Honda) is kidnapped by Dracula's servant Shaft.[11] Two times throughout the game, Dracula's trusty lieutenant, Death, attempts to stop Richter before he reaches Dracula. Along the way, Richter frees Annette's sister[6] Maria Renard (Yōko Teppōzuka), an orphaned 12-year-old who was taken to the castle with her and insists on joining him;[10][12] Terra (Hiromi Murata), a nun who mistakes him for a manifestation of God;[13] Iris (Akie Yasuda), the daughter of the village doctor;[14] and finally Annette.[15] After defeating Shaft and Death, Richter confronts Dracula (Hiroya Ishimaru) and vanquishes him.[16] The castle then collapses into the sea.

Development[edit]

Rondo of Blood is the tenth installment of the Castlevania video game series.[2] Produced by Konami, Rondo of Blood originally saw only a Japanese-exclusive release on the PC Engine on October 29, 1993.[3][17] 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.[18]

Audio[edit]

For the audio, Rondo of Blood makes use of Red Book Audio along with the onboard soundchip, allowing for better musical quality.[19][20] Akira Souji, Keizo Nakamura, Tomoko Sano, and Mikio Saito composed the soundtrack of Rondo of Blood.[21][22] 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.[23]

Konami Style published the two-disk soundtrack of the remake of the game, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, on November 8, 2007.[24] 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.[24] 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.[9]

Versions and re-releases[edit]

Castlevania: Dracula X[edit]

Castlevania: Dracula X, known as Akumajou Dracula XX (悪魔城ドラキュラXX?) in Japan and Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss in Europe,[25] was developed for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.[3] While the plot is similar to Rondo of Blood and it uses many of the latter's graphics, 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][20][26] It was released on 21 July 1995 in Japan, in September 1995 in the USA, on 22 February 1996 in Europe.[25] and on 22 June 1996 in Australia as an uncensored release.

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles[edit]

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")[27] is a 2.5D remake of Rondo of Blood for the PlayStation Portable.[7] It includes the original game and a port of its sequel, Symphony of the Night, as unlockable content.[1] Symphony of the Night included the option to play as Maria (as did the Sega Saturn version, but based on Rondo of Blood version), as well as redone scripts, sound effects and new voice acting.[28] Gameplay in The Dracula X Chronicles remains largely unchanged from Rondo of Blood.[29] However, a Boss Rush mode was added; completion of it three times unlocks the mini-game Peke.[30] 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.[31] 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.[31] The game was added to the PlayStation in Network in Europe in June 2014, as a PSP-only release (the game is not compatible with the PS Vita).[1]

Game Informer's Tim Turi felt it was a worthwhile remake of Rondo of Blood and praised its inclusion of it and Symphony of the Night as extra games.[32] GameZone ranked it as the fifth best Castlevania title. Like Game Informer, the staff praised the quality of the remake and the inclusion of the aforementioned games.[33]

Reception[edit]

Reception to the TurboGrafx-16's 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".[34] IGN awarded the Wii port its "Editors' Choice" and described it as enjoyable and "worth the wait".[8] Nintendo Life rated it 9/10, praising the level design, soundtrack, graphics, and level difficulty.[19] Rondo of Blood was awarded Best Japanese Action Game of 1994 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[35]

On the release of the SNES port, Famicom Tsūshin scored Dracula X a 24 out of 40.[36] It received a ranking of 73.75% from Game Rankings, based on four reviews.[37] Dracula X received mixed reviews from critics. Some reviewers labeled it as "an incredibly inferior port"[28] and "an inferior attempt at a conversion."[8] 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%.[38][39] Reviewers praised the updated visuals, enjoyable soundtrack, inclusion of Symphony of the Night and other bonus content.[1][29][40][41] The high level of difficulty was noted by reviewers as potentially frustrating for players unused to it,[1][29][41] and the voice acting drew criticism as "soap opera fare".[29] Conversely, GameSpy called The Dracula X Chronicles "a solid remake", but considered it unnecessary and "worse than the original".[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d jkdmedia (November 13, 2007). "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles – PSP – Review". Game Zone. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Thorsen, Tor. "Castlevania: Rondo of Blood drips onto VC, Rage of the Gladiator strikes WiiWare". Gamespot. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Bozon, Mark (January 18, 2008). "Castlevania: The Retrospective – Page 4". IGN. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Joyny, Patrick (February 2, 2007). "Previews: Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles". Gamespy. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "Weapons/Spells – Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Guide". IGN. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Low, David (January 14, 2006). "Franchise Mode #11 – Castlevania, Part 1". PALGN. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Parish, Jeremy (February 1, 2007). "Castlevania PSP Preview for PSP from 1UP". 1UP.com. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Thomas, Lucas M. (March 26, 2010). "Castlevania: Rondo of Blood Review". IGN. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Items – Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Guide". IGN. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Konami (2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles –Instruction booklet. p. 4. 
  11. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. PlayStation Portable. Konami. "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." 
  12. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. PlayStation Portable. Konami. "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." 
  13. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. PlayStation Portable. Konami. "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!" 
  14. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. PlayStation Portable. Konami. "Iris: Just relax. My father's a doctor..." 
  15. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. PlayStation Portable. Konami. "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." 
  16. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (October 23, 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. PlayStation Portable. Konami. "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." 
  17. ^ "Akumajo Dracula X: Chi no Rondo — Release Summary". GameSpot. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Casltevania: Rondo of Blood for the Wii". Gamespot. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b Dillard, Corbie (March 16, 2010). "Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (virtual console) review". Nintendo Life. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Whalen, Mike; Giancarlo Varanini. "The History of Castlevania – Page 7". Gamespot. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  21. ^ Raiga: Strato Fighter (Media notes). Pony Canyon, Inc., Scitron Digital Contents Inc. 1991. 
  22. ^ Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. (1993). Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. Scene: staff credits. 
  23. ^ Kohler, Chris (November 10, 2006). "Exclusive: Castlevania Music CD Track Listing!". Wired.com. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  24. ^ a b Gann, Patrick. "Akumajou Dracula X Chronicle OST". RPGFan. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b "Castlevania Dracula X — Release Summary". GameSpot. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  26. ^ Low, David (January 14, 2006). "Franchise Mode #11 – Castlevania, Part 2". PALGN. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  27. ^ "悪魔城ドラキュラシリーズ総合サイト - 1995" (in Japanese). Konami. Retrieved September 5, 2007. 
  28. ^ a b Kumar, Matthew (January 3, 2008). "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles PSP Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  29. ^ a b c d Burt, Andy (October 23, 2007). "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles review from GamePro". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2010-04-13. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Secrets – Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Guide". IGN. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  31. ^ a b "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP". Gamespot. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  32. ^ Turi, Tim (2012-04-04). "Ranking The Castlevania Bloodline". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  33. ^ Workman, Robert (2011-09-27). "Happy 25th Birthday Castlevania: The Ten Best Games in the Series". GameZone. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  34. ^ Parish, Jeremy (October 23, 2007). "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles". 1UP.com. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  35. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1995. 
  36. ^ NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 悪魔城ドラキュラXX. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.345. Pg.29. 28 July 1995.
  37. ^ "Castlevania Dracula X for SNES". Game Rankings. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles". Metacritic. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  39. ^ "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP". Game Rankings. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  40. ^ Workman, Robert (October 26, 2007). "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Review". GameDaily. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  41. ^ a b Cabral, Matt. "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles". Games Radar. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  42. ^ Hall, AJ (October 23, 2007). "GameSpy: CAstlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles – Page 1". GameSpy. Retrieved September 4, 2010.