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Retro Game Club Discussion Thread - 05 - Castlevania X: Rondo of Blood [community]

The Castlevania franchise has a rich history and is dear to the heart of many gamers. For this retro game club, we chose to play Rondo of Blood, a game which had previously been denied to the North American audience and came out on the PC Engine (the Japanese equivalent of the unsuccessful Turbo Graphx CD). The game fetches over $100 on Ebay, but thanks to the Virtual Console we can all get it for $9 in all its untranslated, imported glory.

According to some, this game represents the pinnacle of the series. It does seem to take a few steps backward as it loses some moves from the SNES game that came before it, for instance the ability to swing the whip in other directions than right in front of you, but your character remains one of the more agile Belmonts, being able to jump on and off stairs and other feats like that.

The most striking improvement, however, is the game's non-linearity. You may fall into pits in this game, but rather than fall to your death, you will simply fall to a lower level, an alternate course, often with its own boss waiting for you at the end. Some paths are easier than others, so choose wisely.

You also have to, over the course of the game, save three damsels in distress, trapped inside Dracula's Castle. I have to assume this is in order to get a better ending, although... there might be more to it...

The game offers beautiful 16 bit graphics and a fantastic soundtrack. We are in for a treat as apparently, the VC version of the game is one of the best ways to experience it (though PSP owners can also follow along). According to 1up: "The emulation errors that plagued VC's earliest TurboGrafx-16 releases are gone, so this version of the game is colorful, crisp, pixel-perfect, and sounds great. The PSP port was frankly lousy, with muddy color and off-kilter sound. Even the original PC Engine version looks crummy on an HDTV. But here on Virtual Console, it looks and sounds and plays perfectly. This is the definitive edition of the game, or as close to one as we'll ever see."

Why not add Rondo of Blood to your collection, and indicate you are currently playing it? And don't forget to rate it when you're done!

List of Awesome
A list paying tribute to all the brave warriors who play the game to completion as Richter

@CPA Wei

List of Awesomer
To get on this list, finish the game with a 100% save file!


List of Awesomest
Attempt a high score and post it!

GameDadGrant - 113,220
Guillaume - 110,640
roykoopa64 - 104,000

Memorable quotes

By the way, you can dodge the stage 3 boss's final attack with a well-timed backflip. I did it earlier today, and it was super manly.

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Posted: 10/08/11, 09:48:11  - Edited by 
 on: 10/27/11, 05:06:22
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I don't have Gold unfortunately. I'm sure I'll be missing out an a big part of the appeal by playing it single player, but I'm not plunking down for Gold, especially now that I've got a sweet PC set up and can play most of the online games I'm interested in for free on Steam. Too bad Harmony of Despair isn't on Steam.
Posted: 10/19/11, 19:20:36  - Edited by 
 on: 10/19/11, 23:55:14

I'm so happy that you've come around to the original NES game. One of my all-time favorites, both for overall quality and the nostalgia factor. I'd agree that the controls are mostly fair, even if a little stiff. If you've got the skillz, show a little tenacity and work out the patterns, it's playable from start to finish.

The atmosphere is so great in that game, too. It's hard to imagine, but I remember thinking it was truly creepy, back in the day. Like, the first time I saw Death, he kind of freaked me out. I was truly scared of him. That's partly because I was 9 years old, of course, but also because I'd just never played anything like it before. I'm not sure there'd ever been a horror game quite like it. Or if there was, I'd never seen it.

Maybe Castlevania is sort of like those old Dracula/Frankenstein movies from the 30s - the films Castlevania exists to tribute. Sure, those movies seem almost quaint in retrospect, but they're still so full of atmosphere and quality work that it's easy for a modern viewer to at least understand the appeal. I hope that applies to Castlevania, too.

Great game.

(Still getting my butt kicked by Death in Rondo of Blood. Having a great time with it, though. Surprisingly, I think this might already be my third favorite Castlevania, after the original and 3. I didn't expect that at all.)
Posted: 10/19/11, 20:00:53  - Edited by 
 on: 10/19/11, 20:01:53

A little help if you want it. If not, don't roll over it.

If you're Richter, Item Crash + Cross to keep Death at bay for the first part of the fight.

Good luck!
Posted: 10/19/11, 21:22:02
Better late than never.

I had tons of stuff that got in the way of me playing this game. Everything from family stuff to injuring my back. But I digress.

I decided to quit playing as Maria and "man up". I started over and played as Richter all the way though. Dracula was easier than I thought he would be. I'll admit it didn't seem that way at first but after looking at a YouTube vid and seeing how that person handled him it was no huge problem.

So far I've only rescued two maidens and am sitting at 64% completion. I'm pretty sure I'll go for the 100% and all maidens.
Posted: 10/22/11, 08:31:12

Hope your back's ok.

Yes, better late than ever! Great to hear about your success in the game, have fun going for 100%. There are a couple of secret stages that will be a little bit painful.
Posted: 10/22/11, 08:37:02
Since I finished the TG16 (PSP legal emulation) and PSP Remake versions, I decided to give the SNES version a stab. What a piece of crap that game is!!! It's the equivalent of a port of an NES game to the Game Boy. It's that different and inferior. I'm glad I finished it though. At least I can finally say that I've played every version (though I need to buy the VC one).
Posted: 10/22/11, 08:50:17
I just started Castlevania Rebirth over. Wow, talk about not even being in the same league as the NES game or Rondo of Blood.

You fight skeletons with a whip and attack defenseless candles for items, but the similarities are all superficial. None of the brilliance of the original's level design is here. Dracula's Castle doesn't feel like a real place at all.


Congratulations! And my sympathies for your back... holy hell just a year ago you would have told me I would have chronic back pain at 30, and I would have laughed at you...
Posted: 10/22/11, 08:57:04

Rebirth was such a huuuge letdown.
Posted: 10/22/11, 09:30:05
roykoopa64 said:

Hope your back's ok.

Yes, better late than ever! Great to hear about your success in the game, have fun going for 100%. There are a couple of secret stages that will be a little bit painful.

@roykoopa64 Back is much better thank you =) Yeah I love the branching paths in this game and remember playing a several different levels before that I didn't play this time. I never tried to 100% it back then and I'm pretty sure I never got more than two maidens - I never knew there were more until this thread (maybe I've just forgotten).

@Guillaume Yeah my early thirties was about when I first hurt my back. It's something I have to constantly be mindful of. It can "go out" with very little warning and make standing, walking even sitting very painful and sometimes nearly impossible. Is your back issues upper back or low back?

Oh and thanks for the comparisons with Rebirth. I'd considered getting that in the past and now won't bother. I will however be getting the first NES game one of these days.
Posted: 10/22/11, 17:42:26  - Edited by 
 on: 10/22/11, 17:43:55

Lower back. I think it must have started with a combination of sitting all day (with a poor posture?) at work, biking all the time (with a poor posture?) and then starting going to the gym. The straw that broke the camel's back, haha.

Rebirth does a few things right, in that it does have branching paths within its levels. So that's always fun. But the sense of "place" is completely lost. I don't feel I'm actually making my way, and deeper into, Dracula's castle. The game has NO atmosphere. It's very disappointing. And the combat for some reason is not nearly as satisfying.
Posted: 10/22/11, 17:53:23
You want a sense of place, jump into SCIV! I love the progression in that game.

I was a little curious about Rebirth but have passed on it since I hear mixed things and I'd rather just get the original on the 3DS's GB VC.
Posted: 10/22/11, 18:13:15
@Guillaume Yeah low back for me as well. Pretty much always on the right side. My episodes have actually gone down quite a bit since I stopped commuting (roughly two hours each day in the car) and then standing stationary helping customers for hours on end. Walking is great for the back. Standing still or sitting in a car for hours on end? Not so much.

This time I knew my back was going to go out - I felt the warning signs - but my wife was in "honey-do" mode so I kept pushing it. Stupid move on my part. A combination of my chiropractor and some muscle relaxers got me back on my feet again after a few days.

Oh and my posture is fairly poor too. Being 6'5" I tend to hunch over too much.
Posted: 10/22/11, 18:14:01  - Edited by 
 on: 10/22/11, 18:15:12

Oh, but the original is a) worse and b) completely, completely different.

It's not really a remake. They share a title and a character, and that's pretty much it.
Posted: 10/22/11, 18:17:08
I actually really enjoyed both Dracula X on SNES, and after several playthroughs, I've come to the conclusion that Adventure ReBirth is also quite good. The gameplay is all there, the challenge is there, the branching paths are there. I can understand @Guillaume's point about it not feeling like an actual place and thus the progression doesn't seem as satisfying, but barring that I've had a lot of fun with it.

Trying to make it through the entire game without dying (or at least not getting a Game Over) has been a challenge of mine for a while now. It's probably my most-played WiiWare game. (although Moto Heroz is catching up)
Posted: 10/22/11, 18:30:52
Okay got all maidens and 100%. Like I said before, better late than never.

EDIT: Resized photo
Posted: 10/24/11, 03:15:04  - Edited by 
 on: 10/24/11, 16:33:51
I played a little Rondo of Blood when I was home yesterday and it seems like it's significantly easier than the SNES version, at least based on the parts I was playing.
Posted: 10/24/11, 04:19:41
@Jargon The SNES version is brutally hard.
Posted: 10/24/11, 05:11:13
I beat Castlevania The Adventure Rebirth (or whatever the title is).

It's definitely not the worst game in the world. There ARE some very neat things about it. For instance, I love a lot of the character art. I mean, can you believe that there is NOT a single sprite from Rondo of Blood in sight? Those sprites have been more reused than that "stupid sexy Flanders" pic!

So brand new sprites, and I mean brand new: the Mermen, the spear knights, they look brand new. And very cool.

And the last from of Dracula was pretty damn sweet. Reminded me of Donny Darko for some reason, haha.

But the negatives I mentioned earlier still stand. And that's a shame.


Congrats, Rob!
Posted: 10/24/11, 06:43:07
@Robknoxious1 Nice!


Aww, I wanted to beat Rebirth also, but when I played on Normal I could not get past Dracula. Yeah, his last form is cool, but I was not able to survive.

Dismayed, I started over and beat the WiiWare game on Easy. It was waayy too easy though (and you don't even fight Dracula's last form!). The difference in challenge is enormous!

Did you use Normal Style or Classic Style?
Posted: 10/24/11, 07:36:30
I just have not had the time to play Rondo lately...I think tonight or tomorrow night I can give it some time. I got to the end of stage 7 last time I played.
Posted: 10/24/11, 16:26:02
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