Review by Majin Zeroth
"A new generation of vampire killers take on the count."
Over the years the Castlevania games has established itself as one of the coolest not to mention toughest platform series that there is. Starting way back on the humble NES there was no denying the quality and addictiveness of the games. With the first SNES title the stakes were raised once again and for the first time the artists at Konami could really show what they were capable of. Now finally the Megadrive gets its first taste of the action in the form of Castlevania: Bloodlines.
Traditionally the games have always starred one of the Belmond's, the family of vampire hunters that are fated to battle Dracula every time he makes a comeback. This time however the game is set in 1917 and an evil Countess is hell bent on reviving the vampire lord. With no Belmond's in sight it's up to John Morris and Eric Lacarde to save the day. Each has their own special weapon and moves but they have the same goal, to stop the Countess and send Dracula back to his grave.
Starting out in Romania exploring the ruins of Dracula's castle you'll have to travel around Europe visiting exotic locations in Greece, Italy and Germany while slaying monsters. The usual Castlevania staples like breaking candles to reveal items and power-ups are still in effect and fans of the series will recognize all the familiar enemies. The bad news is that the Megadrive doesn't quite have the color pallete the SNES has meaning compared to the awesome Super Castlevania 4 this game looks a bit dusty. Don't get me wrong there are still lots of impressive effects especially for the Megadrive but at times the game can look really drab. As long as you don't check out the SNES game you probably won't notice but I'm sure Konami could have squeezed a few more colors into this one.
The gameplay is pure Castlevania however and as such probably a bit tough for beginners. There is skill settings but with limited continues and tough enemies it will take you a while to complete this one. There are some really nice bosses to battle and the regular enemies aren't exactly pushovers either. Each stage is split up into loads of smaller sub sections and it's nice not to have to do the whole level from scratch when you get knocked down a pit or is killed unexpectedly. Also included is a handy password feature. New to this version is the Super Weapon you gain if your weapon is already fully upgraded and you find another upgrade. While more powerful you'll lose it after taking only one hit so don't count on it.
As any Caslevania fan and they'll tell you that the series has some of the best tunes you'll ever find in a video game which is no mean feat considering the limited hardware the NES had. Konami has once again managed to impress with some solid tunes featuring all kind of spooky sounds. The sound effects aren't that bad either. The controls are standard for the series meaning it can take a while to get used to. You still get knocked back when hit which is annoying considering how many bottomless pits there are in this game. Each character has their own moves too so while John can swing from his whip Eric is able to do a super jump using his spear.
While Bloodlines is probably not the best game in the series it's definitely worth while playing and no Castlevania fan will be able to pass it up. I have a feeling this won't be the last time Dracula makes a nuisance of himself.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/01/06
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