Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

  • by Andy Burt
  • October 23, 2007 00:00 AM PST

U.S. gamers are used to getting the short end of the stick by now. There are so many amazing games that never leave Japan that we can't help but be a little sad.

But at least we can take the Castlevania series off our list, now that Konami has finally released what many consider to be the best Castlevania title ever produced onto our shores: Dracula X: Rondo of Blood.

What's Old Is New Again

Dubbed Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the U.S. market, the game follows vampire hunter Richter Belmont as he fights his way through Dracula's castle to a final showdown with the dark lord himself. Amazingly, Chronicles retains all the awesome gameplay of the original Rondo of Blood but comes in a slick new package that really brings the title up to today's standards. Konami was meticulous in their approach and improved almost every aspect of the game, from subtle touches like improved lighting and a revamped soundtrack, to the awesome 3D cut scenes and beautiful backgrounds.

Much like its predecessors, Chronicles is all about exploration. The castle holds multiple paths, secret routes and hidden items for you to discover and half the fun is in investigating every single nook and cranny. The replay value is high as a result, especially when you consider the inclusion of additional playable characters.

Symphony For the Senses

Did I mention that as a reward for beating the game, you get the PS1 classic, Symphony of the Night? Considering the fact that a lot of hardcore Castlevania fans would pay full price for that title alone, it's nice to get it thrown in for free. You can also unlock the original Rondo of Blood but Chronicles is definitely the better version to play.

So the question remains: does Chronicles have any flaws? Yes, absolutely it does, but they're so minor that they can't dent the game's greatness. If you've played any of the classic titles, you'll know that Castlevania games are generally pretty damn tough, and The Dracula X Chronicles is no exception. There is a potential for frustration in some of the tougher areas. Another thing is that while the voice acting during the cutscenes is a nice addition, it oftentimes veers into Symphony of the Night cheese ball dialogue land, and becomes annoying pretty quickly.

But these tiny little faults can't take away from the overall experience. Chronicles is a game that all Castlevania freaks must play and the inclusion of the amazing Symphony of the Night is just the cherry on top. If you own a PSP, there is no excuse for you to not own this title.

PROS: Outstanding remake of a classic title, tons of extras and loads of replayablity.
CONS: High difficulty may turn off some gamers, voice acting is soap opera fare.

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nightshadow

Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles is the the hardest castlevania I ever played

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