Review by RageBot
"Castlevania: Rondo of Ferric Water."
Back on those days, before the Internet became available for all mankind, before the days of downloads and emulators, you played what you had. And many Americans did not have a Turbographx-16, as it was outshined by the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Therefore, Konami had made no attempt to localise the great game that is Rondo of Blood. Instead, they decided to put a poor man's port of the game for the SNES. The end result doesn't come near the original, but still has its own grace.
Let's begin with what's not here: Maria. Sure, you do save her if you get the one key by the end of stage 3, but she doesn't join the fray. Instead, it's all Richter from the beginning to the end. Many of the optional paths are gone. There are only two splits in the entire game: Fall between the platforms in stage 3, and you'll arrive in a different part of stage 4. In the regular part of stage 4, right before the boss, there is another locked door. If you still have the key, you can open up the way to stage 5', where Annette is held captive.
The controls are exactly like Rondo of Blood, which means that again you have to press up + attack in order to use subweapons. Crashes have their own button. But Konami committed a cardinal sin here: There are only three fixed patterns of controls, in all of them B jumps, the attack button is either A or Y, and the crash button is either X or A. In all proper Nintendo games, A jumps and B attacks! That's the way it should always be! I can't explain how many troubles you'll have because of this shenanigan.
While this is a port, the stages are sometimes completely different. The use of purple-clad spear guards is much more frequent here, there are many jumps that demand near-perfect executions, and the backgrounds look completely different. I don't like the sudden shift of backgrounds: One screen you look at an outer wall, the next you are inside a nicely furnished corridor, without any sign. There are also new bosses, such as Cerberus that sounds strangely like a leopard, a phantom bat that shoots smaller bats at you, and a necromancer that surrounds himself by tombstones, and is probably the idea behind Circle of the Moon's necromancer.
Regardless of your choices, the sixth stage will always be the clock tower. If you have not saved both girls, you'll fight Carmilla that uses Shaft's attacks. If you've saved them both, you'll instead fight Death. Then it's on to fight the only Dracula fight in Castlevania history that takes place across platforms. Yeah, they love their platforms. This is a menace of a battle, and every mistake can cost you your life. This is almost as bad as Adventure's Dracula, except that this one is much harder than the rest of the game.
This game also looks and sounds not as good as Rondo of Blood. All tracks are from Rondo of Blood, but unless they are extremely good in the first place (e.g. Bloodlines), expect a huge letdown.
After all that, it's time to clear my title. Anyone who studies physiology knows that blood consists of mostly water, oxidised iron and some functional proteins, and its color and smell comes from the oxidised iron. Playing this game instead of Rondo of Blood, is like giving the Count ferric water, without all the proteins that make blood necessary for human life. It looks and smells and probably tastes the same, but it's just not it.
Final grade: 6.2/10
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/25/11
Game Release: Castlevania: Dracula X (US, 09/30/95)
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