Review by Ventrue_Prince
"A wonderful start for Castlevania on the PSP"
I have to admit, this is practically a staple in any sidescroller loving gamer's PSP collection. Revamped Rhondo of Blood, the classic version and Symphony of the Night all in one package for all to enjoy. Rhondo of Blood never made it stateside (marketing-wise) and Symphony of the Night is probably still the most popular Castlevania to this day (good enough to get sold as a download on an XBOX 360 with hefty business to say the least). I can't say it's perfect, but it did come with an 8-bit Simon Belmont figurine (which looks nothing like the one that was on the promo poster) for all the ones who preordered it. The thing that makes this all better is that it's portable! Enough of the icebreaker, on with the review...
Yes, Dracula is back (again). A Belmont emerges to kill Dracula (again). They threw in a few extras, the voices are decent (The voices for SotN blow since Alucard sounds fruity instead of manly like on the PSX). Dialogue has changed slightly, making the conversations more dramatic. (i.e. compare Resident Evil for PSX to Resident Evil for GC, but the difference isn't THAT much different, just an example) Needless to say, the storyline has been used and abused.
The graphics are superb for a handheld console. The SotN graphics look the same, the classic RoB look 16-bit (supposed to), but the Dracula X Chronicles has had a major overhaul when compared to what it started out as. The item crash effects are a treat and the cutscenes are well done.
You can control Richter much better in this version. Sure it's on a PSP, and not many like the controller in the first place, but I have no gripes. He swings his whip reasonably fast, which is one thing many Castlevania games had problems with. The fact that you can now have more control of yourself on steps is probably the most noticable thing about the gameplay. Unlockables include SotN and classic RoB, music, boss rush modes, changing the music for levels to another track in the soundtrack that you've unlocked so far, hidden characters, basically everything that can make a Castlevania game great and more. Autosaves really made me grin with this game. You can go back to previous levels, quick save and stumble upon new areas if you accidentally fall into the right hole. There is a multiplayer on there as well, but as far as I can see, it's only for Boss Rush modes, which they have 4 of (Random, Normal, Speed, Full).
Music is remixed, voices are redone, everything is wonderful considering you're most likely listening to it all on PSP speakers. If you have headphones, even better. My only gripe with the sound was Alucard's wimpy Orlando Bloom-esque voice. I really have to hand my props to the voice actor for Alucard for SotN for the PSX. The sound effects are very good for a handheld. As far as I can see, there is no unintelligible dialogue like, "You steal men's souls and make them your slaves."
It's Castlevania, it's not supposed to be easy. There have been harder than this one in the past, but since you have better control over Richer, the difficulty is MUCH easier. The bosses don't always follow a certain pattern. They are known to change up their techniques a little to adapt to how you're playing. Fleamen are still hard to hit, but nothing compared to SotN's fleamen. The bosses have a moderate challenge. If you have trouble with a boss, use the credit you've saved up to buy notes on how to beat them more easily.
Overall Score: 9/10
Hear my plea, buy this one. The fact that it has Symphony of the Night on it is enough, but the fact that it's a travel version of the game among unlockables is too good to pass up. It's also a great experience playing through Rhondo of Blood. No more emulating it while on the go, it's all conveniently located on this awesome UMD. If I could change only one thing, it would be the voices, and that's a minor detail at the very least. You heard it from me, own this!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/25/07
Game Release: Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (US, 10/23/07)
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