Review by Abacos
"The worst Castlevania ever"
Indeed, this is the best aspect of the game. Nice colors, nice settings, very nice effects. Still, many bosses look quite weird, like the "hamburger pile" in Greece or the "random floating wheels" in Germany. Also, some visual effects are a bit strange: crystalline gems bounce on the floor as if they were made of rubber.
The controls are bad, as bad as the earliest Castlevania's. This is really a step back to the past. Even breaking the walls to get items became challenging, but at least there are not time limits in the game. Another downgrade: there are just three sub-weapons instead of the classic five! The other Castlevania's for 16 bit consolles added something to the sub-weapons, but here we have a loss!
Innovation went backwards: there's involution, this game is almost comparable to Castlevania GB 1 ("The Adventure"). Loss of sub-weapons, loss of control, loss of in-game text. And just six levels, as in the old Castlevania 1; the two Castlevanias of the same generation (Castlevania 4 and Castlevania Dracula X) have 11 and 9 levels and allow some forks in the path.
Although the music is ok, the sound effects are absolutely poor. Every action sounds "plop" or "squirt". It feels like navigating in a world of squeezable jellies!
Unlike later Castlevania titles, Bloodlines is a pure action game, so there is little in-game plot development to be expected. But Bloodlines is even worse than previous Castlevania's: there is absolutely no text during the game! Even the old Castlevania 3 and Castlevania GB 2 had some text, but in Bloodlines there's absolutely nothing. Why do the heroes travel across Europe? Why in that order? What happened at the various haunted locations? We know it's set in 1917, but where's World War 1? The game itself does not say, and experience teaches that the English versions of Japanese manuals are usually unreliable.
Replay value: 5/10
There are two characters, so you should at least clear the game twice with the two different heroes. Morris and Lecarde have a very different gameplay style, so it's really worth it, provided you enjoyed it at least once.
16-bit games should be better than 8-bit games, but Castlevania Bloodlines is at the same level or even worse than the previous generation of Castlevanias! Does this show why Nintendo won against Sega?
Reviewer's Score: 3/10. Posted: 31/05/13 (European date)
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 06/04/13
Game Release: Castlevania: Bloodlines (US, 03/17/94)
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