Review by shneepshnop

"A poisonous spider bit me yesterday and it is amazing I can still bring you this review."

I saw this little game sitting in a pile of games for only $2.95. I have grown bored with the Castlevania series as of late. I feel the games are boring and the lack of innovation present in them creates a boring gaming atmosphere. I walked away from the pile of games but stopped, something told me to buy this game. I thought, “O, what the hell. Its only $3.00.” So I bought it, played it, and enjoyed it. Oddly enough this is probably the best Castlevania game I have played.

Gameplay – 27/30
Once again the gameplay found in this installment is very similar to the previous installments. Upon beginning the game you will notice an obvious new feature. There are now 2 playable characters to select from. One is your typical Castlevania hero who wields a whip, and the other is someone who uses a spear. Both have their pros and cons. John (the whip user) can attack upward at a diagonal angle when he jumps, he can also upgrade his weapon 1 level further than the other character can. Eric (the spear user) cannot attack diagonally but can execute a jumping attack that propels him upwards, allowing him to jump to higher levels, and attack enemies overhead. His weapon also has a further reach than John's. Statistically both characters are the same, they each have the same speed, same agility, same jumping capabilities, and all that good stuff. Each character will also play the same levels as his counterpart. Allowing 2 playable characters instead of one is a very good idea. Another returning feature is the set jumping ability that is notorious in Castlevania games. This horrid feature isn't as annoying as it is in the other games. Enemies also come at you with different attacks. Each baddie no longer does the same thing as all of its other counterparts. Some bum rush you, others sit back and toss projectiles in your general direction, some even dive-bomb you. Enabling each enemy to attack in different ways presents some diversity and excitement. The enemy attack patterns wont be the same on the last level as they were on the first. This brings me to one of the only negative aspects to the gameplay, the length. There are only 6 levels. Each level is fairly long, but come on, 6 levels? Games need to contain more depth than that, and that is simply inexcusable. The levels are fun to play through, original, and they do present some kind of new obstacles for the gamer to complete. The bosses in this game are marvelous. Each boss is interesting and fun to fight against. They will use different attacks, other than the stereotyped Mega Man boss attacks (simply running into you as much as possible), and each has their strengths and weaknesses. Probably my second favorite part of this game was seeing what the bosses had in store for me. The bosses are fun and a joy to play against. Another thing that I wish would have been incorporated in this game is the ability to attack in multiple directions. This game was made after Castlevania 4, and in that game you can attack in multiple directions so why not be able to do that here?

Funfactor – 20/20
I had a lot of fun playing this game. The levels are interesting and original for the 16-bit time period, and the bosses are incredibly fun. Plus if the game starts to bore you, you can always play as the other character. I had probably the most fun playing Castlevania: Bloodlines, than I did any of the other Castlevania's.

Control – 11/15
You have a set jumping ability, and cannot attack in multiple directions. This hurts the game a lot. However you can now toss your secondary weapon with a simple press of the C button, instead of with a press in the directional pad and the attack button. I think the controls took some getting used to, the jump button should be the attack and the attack should be the jump, but after awhile controlling the character was like second nature.

Graphics – 14.5/15
First off the backgrounds here are incredible. They come multi-layered and are surprisingly detailed, and colorful. Castlevania: Bloodlines uses a lot of color and detail in its backgrounds, this helps to create a wonderful experience. The enemies look good, as do the basic details through out the level. The only bad part is that the main character isn't as detailed as he should be. He is kind of a blur, and since I will be looking at him through the entire game, I expect him to be detailed better.

Music/Sound – 15/15
Castlevania: Bloodlines has the best music on the Genesis that I have heard up to this point in my life. It is very good and almost every track is refreshing. It helps create a mysterious and sometimes heroic atmosphere to the game. The sound effects on the other-hand do what they were meant to do.

Story – 4/5
Elizabeth Bartley, the niece of Count Dracula, who was once tried as a vampire and killed, has been inadvertently resurrected by a witch named Drolta Tauntes. Upon being resurrected she attempts to resurrect her uncle, Count Dracula. John Morris and Eric Lecard now have welcomed the task of killing Elizabeth before she can resurrect her uncle. Nothing award winning but somewhat interesting.

Replayability/Lastability (Bonus) – 3/5
There are 2 characters to play as, but unfortunately the levels they play will not be different from each other. Also there are only 6 levels, which will provide you with a short gaming experience. But this game is so fun that I wouldn't be surprised to see myself playing through it again

Conclusion – 94.5/100

-2 playable characters
-A lot of fun
-Good graphics
-Great music
-Not your typical Castlevania game

-With only 6 levels this game is very short

I really enjoyed this game. It has a lot of good qualities that are innovative and make the ongoing Castlevania series fun to play once again. This is one of the better Genesis games, and since it costs very little, you should be beaten if you choose not to own it.

A poisonous spider bit me yesterday and it is amazing I can still write this review.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/16/04, Updated 06/05/04

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