Review by downsouth420
"This game will destroy you and you'll want more"
Amidst the countless reviews for this game already, I have no choice but to give my 2 cents. Castlevania Chronicles was released in 2001 right around the PS1s last stand before giving out to the PS2. It was a rerelease of the Sharp X68K game from 1993. Before, it had never come to America due to the fact that the Sharp X68K was never sold in the states. Another factor is that back in the 80s and early 90s, Japanese companies often denied release of what they consider difficult games in America. (Same thing happened with SMB 2.) And this game was difficult. In fact, this game is freaking brutal.
The rereleased PS1 version contains two versions: the original and a remake. The remake had a different (and kind of fruity) version of Simon Belmont along with a remastered soundtrack that sounds just great. Beating the arrange mode gives you a time attack as well. The original version contains an option to change the MIDI interface. (Default is Roland GS, but I prefer the MPU-32 version for some reason.)
For a 16-bit computer from the 80s, the original mode looks pretty freaking good. While Simon's monochromatic sprite looks dull, he is still animated rather smoothly. Enemies also look rather nice, especially the bosses. The backgrounds are what really shine in this game, though. Things like a giant statue of a woman crying blood or the top of the clocktower with numbers that are ripped off to be used as weapons make you really stop and wonder, "Was this game really from the early 90s?" The game really looks that good.
The sound is also qutie nice in both modes. The OST is classic Castlevania, with many favorites included. The remixed music is rather enjoyable, though I still prefer hearing the original NES music replayed on an MPU synthesizer. Sound effects from the crack of Simon's whip to the breaking of stainglass windows come out crystal clear.
What the game really is famous for, though, is its incredibly hard gameplay. To this day (June of 2009) this is still the hardest Castlevania ever. Unlike other Castlevanias where you take one or two points of damage, you take four hits. That means you can only be damaged 5 times per stage. While this doesn't sound like a big deal, it is when you see what you've got to deal with. Having projectiles and flying enemies coming at you with nowhere to go or anyway to avoid being hit is rather common. And bosses... you will weep when it comes to fighting bosses. I still have nightmares about the werewolf boss to this day.
Now any other game this hard will make you throw your controller down and bury the disc along with E.T. But this game makes you feel like you CAN beat it. You will find yourself dying over and over, and you will see that black continue screen enough that it permeates your brain for life, but you still want another crack at it. You still want to see if maybe, this one time, you can stay alive long enough to beat the werewolf. And you will train yourself to get past all those cheap, cheap enemies without getting hit (you still will work hard at it, though) just for one more crack at a boss. And you will love every minute of it.
All I have to say is to get this game. While the PS1 copy used to be rather uncommon and more than I paid for it in 2001, the PSN release for PS3 and PSP is only a couple of bucks. You really don't have any reason to not buy this game. It really is classic Castlevania perfection in its most evil form.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/02/09
Game Release: Castlevania Chronicles (US, 10/08/01)
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