Review by Crunkman2000
"A monster that does belong in this world"
(if you don't get the reference, it's a line from Richter in the first US version of SotN.)
You can count on Konami to always put their best foot forward when it comes to a flagship series. Castlevania Bloodlines is no different, offering some of the most amazing features of the series at that time in one Genesis cartridge.
In an attempt to blend together Bram Stoker's Dracula and the 'Vania plot, Konami introduced two new characters: John Morris (son of Stoker's character Quincy Morris) and Eric Lecarde (no relation to any Stoker characters, but supposedly a descendant of Alucard and Maria Renard (!)), and picked up where Stoker left off. Other than the Stoker blending, it's a typical Castlevania: Drac's back, this time revived by his niece Elizabeth Bartley (based on the real-life person of the same name who supposedly bathed in blood), and the two hunters set out to stop him.
Some of the best graphics for the Genesis exist solely on this cart. Using some tricks, Konami found a way to copy the SNES' Mode 7 sprite scaling and create reflections, something the Genny couldn't normally do. The colors are vibrant, despite this being one of the darker games in the series. Also, for the first time in the US, Castlevania is violent. No more slime in the place of blood: enemies bleed and split apart, get decapitated, and die painful deaths. There's even a fountain of blood, something you'd never see on the SNES. Even the player characters (namely Eric) die painfully. Is there anything negative about the graphics? Yes. They're slightly smaller than the sprites in IV. That's the only gripe I have with the graphics.
Quite possibly some of the best music on the Genesis, as well. From the start, the music will amaze you. It sounds like nothing you'd hear on the Genesis, due to it's inferior sound chip. Everything about the music is perfect, and the selection couldn't be better. Simon's Theme (~!), Bloody Tears, even Vampire Killer and Beginning return. The new tracks are just as awesome (Sinking Old Sanctuary, Calling from Heaven, Iron Blue Intention, and Reincarnated Soul, namely). As for the sound effects, they're slightly less awesome than the music, at a slightly lower quality than IV's. Other than the sound effect quality, the audio in this game is perfect.
Even though it's missing some of IV's innovations (eight-direction whipping, "moonwalking" on stairs), the game still feels like Castlevania. John plays like a usual Belmont (only, he's not a Belmont), and retains Simon's swinging ability, but somewhat loses the multi-directional whipping (he can still attack at an angle (up-right/left on the ground, down-right/left in air). Eric plays a lot differently, with the ability to attack in all directions and perform a super-jump with his weapon. Both characters are balanced enough to make the game almost as challenging as the original CV trilogy, only slightly less controller-smashingly difficult. The level design is fresh, ranging from the ruins of the original Castle Dracul, to the leaning tower of Pisa, to Versailles (where the aforementioned blood fountain can be found).
BUY OR RENT/EMULATE: If you can, BUY. It's well worth the money, and stands at the top of the series' rankings with Rondo and IV. Plus, it's a good idea to check it out before you play Portrait.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 06/11/07
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