Hello Simon Belmont,
I’ve been awaiting your return.
Simon and I have a past. My first experience was with Super Castlevania on the SNES. Cracking the whip on folkloric revenants, we were vampire hunters. Destroying creatures whom feed on the blood of the living was a theme I could revel in. The music paired nicely with the Transylvanian setting and the gameplay was refined from its predecessors, resulting in one of the best games that Konami ever released.
Somehow Super Castlevania IV missed WarioMCP’s top 10 SNES list, whatever.
A few months ago I traded a bunch of expensive magic cards for video games with my uncle. One of the pick ups was a PSP and a copy of Castlevania The Dracula X Chronicles. It encompasses both parts of the Dracula X story by including Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. Two Castlevania games for around $10 used on Amazon? Deal. If you have a PSP and want a sick game this is it. Alternatively if you have a PS Vita you can download it through the PS Store.
Castlevania The Dracula X Chronicles
The Dracula X Chronicles starts off with Rondo of Blood. Optimized for the PSP, Rondo of Blood was originally released on the Japanese PC Engine. An extremely rare game for American Castlevania fans, it was given a warm welcome when released for the Playstation handheld.
Chapter 0 | Prologue
We start off right away in action. Speeding on a old fashioned carriage, you are faced with a flying ghost-like boss. This battle is a great example of intro game design, in which it relies on you to execute the basics to defeat him. Hours of boring tutorials? NOPE. It serves that purpose and as a result you learn Simon’s animation timing and the tempo of this game. The visual aspects of the carriage, Simon, and the background were nothing short of amazing. The fight scene music felt perfect for the battle, and I was whipped into hunting mythological beasts once again.
I’ve missed you Simon,
let’s crack the whip.
Chapter 1 | Lords of Shadow
After proving you can at least perform the basics, you start upon your quest to Dracula. Side scrolling your way through the first level throwing daggers, axes, and holy potions you remember why you love this classic series. The Dracula X Chronicles continues to keep old school whip crackers happy, by jamming thematically-progressive rock riffs, upgrading stair climbing animations and functionality, and the classic array of apotropaics for utility weapons.
The Dracula X chronicles turns the original 2D game into 2.5D which is a really nice visual touch. The final Boss for Chapter 1 showcases some of this beauty as you must battle the gatekeeper to Chapter 2, a Wyvern.
Yeah, the first real end boss is basically a dragon, deal with it.
Chapter 2 | God Grant me Strength
Entering via drawbridge we must make our way through Dracula’s castle. After performing some platforming, we run into a situation where we are being chased by a bull that is as large as the screen. This chase comes with an awesome cut scene, puts you on the edge of your seat, and if you are proficient at jump-attack timing, allows you to obtain multiple items. With this change in pace, the 2.5D PSP version continues to keep a fresh feel on what was an old game.
We finished up the stage and eventually meet the second end boss, a werewolf. Time to battle. You find out your foe can climb walls, hang from the roof, and attacks by turning himself into a fireball. If you don’t use the key as a weapon, he’s a lot of fun. At this point in the game you should have stumbled upon the double jump back flip, and it’s extremely helpful in this fight.
Let’s show them what we’re made of Simon,
there is evil to slay.
Chapter 3 | An Evil Prayer Summons Darkness
This chapter showcases a cool level dynamic where there are multiple routes to choose from. Most platforming games are linear and this variance is quite enjoyable. Other additional platforming nuances like back flipping to maximize jump distances, hidden items in walls, and new creeps keeps your standard frames interesting. I’ve always been a fan of the Greek Myth, “Theseus and the Minotaur”, so naturally I choose the route with this axe swinging foe. One of my friends is working on game based on the Greek Myth for Android phones, check it out on Facebook.
Due to the initial impressions, my love for the Castlevania series and it’s great price: Castlevania X The Dracula Chronicles seems well worth it.
What once required a large set up for the PC engine: Turbo Duo that was released in Japan Only, was available for the states. Although though there are some issues with porting it over, I will be playing this past the first few chapters.
Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles PSP Review by Thomas Hake
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