"What's this supposed to be, Konami?"

*Sniff sniff*
Smells like Castlevania.
Looks like Castlevania.
It sure doesn't PLAY like Castlevania, though.
Why? Read on.
Graphics (7/10)

Rather than having the more pseudo 3D-ish background graphics of Castlevania IV, this one takes a more animated look. The backgrounds, from start to finish, look wonderful. The enemies, and monsters look great too. The main character, Richter Belmont, also looks good. Magic attacks are excellent, too. So, what went wrong? The afore-mentioned great graphics, of course. Translating a game from CD ROM (Turbo Duo, the original platform for Dracula X, which was known as Rondo of Blood in Japan, where it was exclusively released) to cartridge isn't usually successful. Yes, I'm aware that there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, it's sadly true. Especially when considering that Turbo Duo was quite powerful for it's time. See, all these fancy graphics, that Konami tried so hard to incorporate into this game, cause noticeable slowdown. Playing Dracula X is like trying to play an NES game with a lot of characters on-screen. It feels, and looks, SLOW. But, I can't really hold this factor against Konami, as they tried their best. Also, though I hate anime, I feel it is important to note to everyone reading this review, that the anime cutscenes found in RoB are NOT here in any way.
Sound/Music (9/10)

In a word, the music is great. Sure, it's not perfect, because some of the tracks suck, but other than a few ones I don't like, it's good. The boss music is great, too. The sound effects aren't really special, but they get the job done.
Play Control (5/10)

A horrid, horrid, interface to say the least.
Unlike all those cool techniques found in the superior Castlevania IV, such as being able to control which direction your whip goes, and having a separate button for using sub-weapons such as Holy Water and crosses, these features are noticeably absent here. You're stuck with being able to use your whip to attack forward only, and you'll have to use the good ol' fashioned attack + up command to use sub-weapons. It's nice that each sub-weapon has it's own super attack, though. Most important to mention, though, is the awful slowdown, which makes doing almost anything a chore. In addition to this, you can't choose which direction to go once you've already jumped, so if you made one slight mistake near an area with pitfalls or spikes, you're out of luck.
Entertainment Value (6/10)

Overall, I must say I'm quite disappointed here. While I was expecting a classic, due to the fact that the name ''Castlevania'' is on this game, I was sadly mistaken. Horrid slowdown, and the fact that there are only seven or eight levels, really takes its toll here. You'll have this game beaten in a day, but no thanks to the God-awful interface. No, you'll have the ridiculously easy difficulty level to thank for that. Bottom line: If you have to own every Castlevania in existence, or just really, really, really want to play a lousy port of a great game, and want to spend $50+ doing so, then check this one out. Otherwise, allow me to recommend the superb Castlevania IV.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/04/01, Updated 11/04/01

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