Review by BoyLover X
"Solid vampire killing action, but nothing we haven't seen before"
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is a budget title ($29.99) that contains Rondo of Blood (a remade version, as well as the original) and Symphony of the Night (with a few minor changes). It is the first Castlevania title to hit the PSP, and even though it's not an original game, it still delivers solid vampire killing action.
Both games are pretty light on story. They center around the Belmont family's latest successor, Richter Belmont in his struggle to defeat Dracula, who has been revived again. Also, Dracula's son Alucard is awakened and joins the battle. Not much here, since there are few story scenes..
The original Rondo of Blood has rather bad graphics by today's standards. The remake is done using 3D graphics, which certainly look better but often appear to be too dark for a handheld screen. Symphony of the Night has it's original 2D graphics, and they are still very good. If you've played Dawn of Sorrow or Portrait of Ruin, then you'll know what to expect: really good 2D.
The Castlevania series has always been known for it's great music, and Dracula X Chronicles does not disappoint. Many of the best songs from the Castlevania series are in Rondo of Blood, and the remake features higher quality versions. Symphony of the Night also has an excellent soundtrack, perfectly ported to the PSP.
The only flaw with the audio is the voice acting. It's not terrible, but it's not the best. Fortunately though, Symphony of the Night was redubbed (and retranslated) and sounds better than the older versions.
Symphony of the Night is still great, no doubt about it. Exploring the castle in a non-linear fashion while collecting items and leveling up (yes, this is a sidescrolling action RPG for the uninformed) is great. If this was SotN alone, it would be a 9 for the gameplay. But the Rondo of Blood remake is what brings the score down.
Since Konami already included the original Rondo on here, that should have been enough old-school Castlevania to satisfy fans. Why not do something different in the remake? Why didn't they make a SotN-style Rondo? It's not fun to play a game where sometimes you will die when falling down a bottomless pit off the screen, but other times you'll reach a secret area. It's too much of a trial and error game, and the level design is too outdated. Also, Richter doesn't even have the same amount of control over the whip as Super Castlevania IV (no diagonal whipping, no holding the whip button to do the "limp whip"). Rondo of Blood is not a terrible game, but it's not the holy grail of old-school Castlevania games that the importing elitists have hyped it up to be.
Rondo of Blood does have enjoyable moments, but feels outdated. Symphony of the Night is very good, but could have used a harder difficulty level (it's the easiest Castlevania RPG besides Harmony of Dissonance). And of course, we've played these games before.
Overall (Final Score): 8/10
The Rondo of Blood remake is supposed to be the main attraction here since the true version was never released outside of Japan. However, Konami just didn't do enough to modernize it. Symphony of the Night is the saving grace of this collection, and worth the purchase price for that gem of a game alone.
If you haven't experienced SotN (or you just really want a legal handheld version or update), this is a must-buy. If you already have SotN, and don't like old-school Castlevania, you probably won't like this much.
For the hardcore Castlevania fan, this is still a decent distraction while you're waiting for the real new Castlevania title to come out for the DS.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 11/09/07
Game Release: Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (US, 10/23/07)
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