Review by friendlydude

"The Saturn version isn't bad, but it's not as good as the PSX version"

Dracula X is actually the Saturn's version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Even though it was released after the Playstation version, for some reason, it's not nearly as good. I will never understand why, but it seemed like every time the Saturn version of a game was released after the PSX version, it was never as good. Time and time again this would happen. The Saturn version of Playstation games normally ended up not as spectacular-looking, even though the Saturn is actually supposed to be the superior gaming system when it comes to graphics.

This review is mostly just a bunch of comparisons between the Saturn and Playstation version that I have noticed. Honestly, I believe the Playstation version is drastically better, but just in case you need proof of that, I'm about to reveal why:

First of all, the graphics. As I mention above, the Saturn is supposed to be able to handle better graphics compared to the Playstation. What happened? The PSX version is clearly graphically better, in every single way. Whether it's in the cutscenes or the actual game, the PSX smears the Saturn in this department. The Saturn version features dark, choppy and uninspiring graphics, while the Playstation version has a bright, clean and crisp appearance to everything. Seriously, Sega fans can try to defend the average graphics all they want, but in the end it won't work because Castlevania on the Playstation looks *so* much better.

As for sound, well, the sound is almost exactly the same. However, because the music in the game is mostly dominated with orchestra-type themes, I believe the better graphics on the Playstation version also help make the music more enjoyable. Clean graphics + beautiful music = a more satisfying experience on the PSX. But, if you were to sit there and just listen to the music from both versions without paying attention to any of the graphics on the screen, the music is probably exactly the same.

People make a big deal over the fact you can play as Maria in the Saturn version. I believe that was just an unnecessary extra to encourage Saturn owners to buy this version because, to be perfectly honest, playing as Maria isn't really what the game is all about. This game was designed for you to play as Alucard. The fact that almost every item in the game is supposed to be collected and used by Alucard helps me come to that conclusion. Maria and Richter feel like extra characters that were just tacked on as a way to trick gamers into thinking it was a big advantage for Saturn owners to have these extra characters, when really, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. When you play this game on the Saturn and realize that playing as Maria and Richter isn't really that big of a deal, you'll probably agree with me. Alucard is the true playable character. Even then, you can play as Richter in the Playstation version anyway.

People also make a big deal over the fact that you can run in the Saturn version. You can pick up an item halfway through the game that will allow Alucard to run. It doesn't really matter though because you can basically run in the Playstation version. Ok, so technically the PSX version doesn't have a run button, but you *do* have a dash-back button (the triangle button) and, with experience, you will find that the dash-back button can be *just* as effective as a run button. When you finally get used to the play control, you will see that the dash-back button helps you dash through the castle at an amazingly fast speed. This works on the Saturn version too. I can't believe more people haven't realized how important that dash-back button is.

The fact that you have to wait until you're halfway through the game to get the run ability in the Saturn version is kind of disappointing. However, to be fair, at least the Saturn version has a run button. But just remember all you Playstation owners out there, that the dash-back button works just as well as a run button.

I also hate the fact that the Saturn version has longer loading times. Honestly, walking through doors to access the next area requires you to wait longer compared to the PSX version. It's a mystery to me how people can think the PSX version has longer loading times. I highly disagree. Trust me, the Saturn version is almost unbearably slow (which increases the frustration factor for you, the gamer).

The one thing that the Saturn version exclusively features that is definitely an improvement over the PSX version are the two extra areas of the castle to explore. I simply can't ignore the fact that exploring a couple new areas is a major highlight for the Saturn version of Castlevania, and one of those areas also includes a new monster for you to fight, which is pretty cool. This is probably the only reason someone would honestly want to pick up the Saturn version, though. It should be noted that these new areas don't really make the game *that* much longer to complete, overall. Maybe five to ten minutes longer, and that's it.

In conclusion, if you want to own this wonderful 2D adventure game, going with the Playstation version would be a much better idea not only because of all the little faults the Saturn version has, but also because the Saturn version was only released in Japan, and the Playstation version was released in America. This means the PSX version isn't nearly as expensive to purchase.

There's a reason people remember Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and not Dracula X, and the fact that the Playstation version is *much* better overall is exactly why. People will try telling you that Castlevania on the PSX isn't the complete version and that the real thing is featured on the Saturn, but the reality is this- the Saturn version just includes a few extra things that *should* have been disregarded before the game was released on the market. Dracula X is just a rough draft version of the game. The real thing is the Playstation version, in my opinion.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/01/06

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