Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 10/08/01 | Genre: Platform
Up until now, Konami has never released Akumajo Dracula or Dracula X: The Rondo of Blood in the US. Akumajo Dracula was originally released on the X68000 PC, available only in Japan, while Dracula X: The Rondo of Blood was released on the PC Engine (known as the Turbo Duo in the US). Some argue that Dracula X is the best in the series--however, only the die-hard fans will speak about Akumajo Dracula. That will now change as Konami finally has brought the US market Akumajo Dracula, one of the first Castlevania games ever made. Packaged as Castlevania Chronicles, any fan of the series will definitely want to pick up this title.
Graphically, you are playing a game that mirrors the feel of the original Castlevania title on the NES. However, the sprites are much larger and detailed. There is even an opening cinema included in here--something I was not accustomed to seeing in the earlier Castlevania titles. However, you have been warned--this game is over 8 years old. No matter how good the graphics were 8 years ago--they are very dated now.
Forget about the dated graphics. I know there are many of you out there that are concerned when the graphics aren't quite up to par with those in current titles. However, the reason this title was so anticipated by die-hard Castlevania fans is because of the gameplay. You play as Simon Belmont, the son of the great Vampire Hunter from the original Castlevania. Players must lead Simon to the upper levels of Dracula's castle and dispose of him once more. While many of the features found in current Castlevania titles won't appear in Castlevania Chronicles, such as spells and swinging from your whip, Konami has done an excellent job porting over this title.
Like most other Konami titles, the sound and music are top of the line. The soundtrack has been remixed to include updates of classics like Vampire Killer and Bloody Tears. Each area has its own unique song and all eight areas are worth going to just to listen to.
Included on the CD is an interview with the producer of Castlevania who briefly discusses the next Castlevania title, which is currently in development, and hints that Konami will soon release Dracula X: The Rondo of Blood, which fans argue is the best in the entire Castlevania series, on the Playstation. Players will also include an art gallery--but I would have preferred that they include some of the older Castlevania titles instead of including these extras.
Although the title is very linear, which may bother Symphony of the Night fans, Castlevania Chronicles is a must buy. Since it is almost Halloween, it would make a perfect rental or purchase (It is only $19.99 at retail). While others may be out snagging candy and playing pranks, you can sit in the comfort of your own home and rediscover the classic gaming moments in Castlevania Chronicles.