Review by KasketDarkfyre
The series of Castlevania has under gone several face lifts and console transports that have spanned different games and different time lines as well as several different characters, all of whom center around the mythical figure of Simon Belmont. As the descendant of the Belmont Clan, you take on Dracula in a story line that is set just after the start of World War 1 through an ancient castle filled with danger and many of the more famous creatures that have come to be known in the terror world. Armed with nothing but a whip and whatever you find on the way through the castle, you must battle your way through several stages of platform jumping and monster whipping Hell in order to stop Dracula from taking over the world!
Same Castlevania, different moves. This time around, you play not one, but two characters, John Morris, and Eric Lacarde, both master vampire hunters trying to destroy the evil that is Dracula. However, the game is short with only six stages...that amounts out to three hours of gameplay, or maybe one and a half if you gather the controls quickly. Set within the Castle, you'll journey all over to different parts, in a fast paced keep up game, trying not to get yourself killed! Through the Castle, you’ll find several items that you can use on your way that include weapons and multipliers that increase your score. Now in order to use these weapons, you’ll have to collect the hearts that you’ll find throughout the Castle by defeating monsters and whipping the candles that you find everywhere! The game isn’t just about whipping things into submission with your secondary mission being to traverse the different platforms and make your way through the stages.
This doesn’t sound like it would be too difficult, and it’s not if you have your timing and precision down. Most will have a problem with making the moving platforms, and a fall at the wrong spot can mean instant death! This just adds onto the game play, and you can make it as challenging as you want depending on how brave you really feel. The harder you make it, the harder the bosses are and the tougher the enemies are to kill. Through all of this, you’ll find that collection of hearts and items can be key with several of your most important battles needing full strength in order to defeat! The password feature is also available if you’ve got to save and want to return to the game at a certain point, which is definitely a plus in my book. Such features as these really bring out the enjoyability in the game without making it seem too overbearing and imperative that you complete it in one sitting!
A bit touchy, and hard to pull off with a Genesis controller, the actual movement of your character can be a little challenging! You'll spend some time getting used to it, but after a while of playing, you'll be jumping from ledge to ledge, killing enemies, and not break a sweat in the process. Your whip is your most important weapon, so you’ll have to learn how to time your strikes and hit your target without leaving yourself open for a later attack. In certain stages, you’ll have to develop a strategy to move your characters around the room, and using the weapon items can take plenty of practice to do as well, so get used to the control and you’ll do just fine!
Visual eye candy for a Genesis owner. Everything comes off clear although not the best, from the weapons to the backgrounds. Reflections in the water were nice to look at, as were some of the stages. You can tell the differences between the pair of characters that you control, the dull colors suit the game to a tee, placing it in a giant castle overrun with evil. Alot of new ideas were put into Bloodlines, including the above mentioned reflections, and split-screen areas of the castle. The last stage you have to see for yourself. Not bad at all for the 16-bit powerhouse that was Genesis! Some of the more impressive visuals come with the water reflection in a couple of stages and just the overall layout and detail of the stages is enough to make you stop and blink at just how much is put into this.
The music was good and it matched the game in alot of areas, a haunting melody that suited the particular stage that you are playing. Explosions, the tinkling of the whip, to the crashing of bones when you smashed a skeleton, all came out nice. Try plugging your headphones into the jack near the front of the Genesis to get the maximum rush. The soundtrack is done in such away that you’ll be kept up with the action and the pace of the game without really losing interest too early into the game. While the game isn’t sound intensive, you’ll still find it an enjoyable game to listen to with all of the compositions that are found on all of the stages!
Not a bad game for Genesis and a collector item for Castlevania-affectionado's. The graphics aren't what you're used to, if you're a next-Gen player, but if you like the old school games, the graphics, sound, and gameplay will keep you going with this game for a long time to come. The story is something that is linked into real life history, but with just enough surreal sound to it to keep you from think that it could be true. Keeping to the tried and true system of action and adventure as well as throwing in some difficult enemies and platforms to jump to, you’ll find hours of enjoyment depending on how long your interest lasts! Mainly as a collector’s item, you’ll be better off to play through once or twice and then revisit when you feel like some old school gaming from an old school game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/14/00, Updated 11/23/01
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