Review by WarriorGlenn
"The best SNES Castlevania"
I've heard many, many people complain about how this game doesn't live up to the real Dracula X (full title: Dracula X: The Rondo of Blood) for the PC Engine. Ultimately, however, most of these people probably have never even play Rondo, as Dracula X for the SNES (hereby known as Dracula XX, its Japanese name [minus the crazy Japanese bit]) is almost as worthy as Rondo, just in different ways.
It disgusts me as to how many people complain about the graphics in this game, claiming that they're too bright and colorful. That is, honestly, the stupidest thing I've ever heard. These are the same Rondo of Blood fanboys who wander around message boards, claiming it to be the greatest game ever just to make people who haven't played it jealous. Dracula XX's graphics are rich, beautiful, and unlike Rondo before it, almost organic. The heavily tiled backdrops of Rondo are replaced with smooth, well-drawn backgrounds that drip detail. Look at the towering flames that light the village of Veros in a hellish inferno in stage 1, or the 3D rendered and smoothly animated gears that are prominante in the penultimate level. While lacking in the stunning Mode 7 effects that laced Castlevania IV, Dracula XX wows with its artistic talent as opposed to its technical skills.
If there's one level where Dracula X and Dracula XX stand on equal footing, it's in the soundtrack. The impressive part about this is that Dracula X came on CD and weighed in at about 500MBs, and Dracula XX comes on cartridge and is a perfect 3MBs. Personally, I like the SNES rendition of Richter's Theme (the oppening level music) BETTER than the CD Audio one. However, Dracula XX obviously doesn't feature Rondo's excellent voice acting, giving Rondo a slight edge in terms of sound.
The primary problem with Dracula XX is its level design. While never truly bad, persay, Dracula XX never really does anything 'cool' until the very final level, leaving you nine levels of tedious walking, whipping and jumping.
On the otherhand, Dracula XX is constantly exciting due to its difficulty. Dracula XX is the hardest Castlevania game out there with the exception of the first, but is never punishingly hard. In otherwords, if you die, you'll never say 'I have to play all that AGAIN?! Screw this!' Well, some people might with the last level, but in general, Dracula XX remains rewardingly hard as opposed to being annoyingly hard. There truly are very few things in the world better than the feeling you get when you finally kill Dracula.
That superb difficulty level is what makes Dracula XX such a great game. While I can certainly understand it being too hard for some, if you think you can take the challenge, Dracula XX provides a far more rewarding experiance than Castlevania IV, while never being as frustrating as the original. While its brother, The Rondo of Blood, still excels in terms of level design and depth, Castlevania Dracula X still holds up as a great entry in the Castlevania series.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 08/14/02, Updated 08/14/02
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