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
@Guillaume The only other old-school Castlevania I've finished is Super Castlevania IV, which I remember being tougher than Rondo of Blood. It might just be that I enjoy Rondo more, taking some of the edge off the frustration.
As for Retro Game Club timing, once a month sounds fine, especially during the slower months of the year. Of course, more time should be taken as needed for longer games, if we ever play an RPG or something.
Okay, beat the original game using only Richter. I also collected all the maidens, so I suppose I can fit on the first list. I've been popping back and forth between the two versions. I am SO tempted to start up SotN though!
Yes! I beat the last boss Dracula on the Wii VC version using only Richter. How do you like that, you little vampire punk!
So that makes me an awesome little dude.
Only got 64% though, so still quite a few things to do! Ah my lucky number...
I haven't even used Maria yet, I guess I don't need to in order to get 100%, I think.
I tried the secret route in Stage 2, and I was laughing at how ludicrous it is! Enemies galore, either whittling your health to zero or shoving you to your watery grave. It's tricky keeping your eye on every enemy's location and movement on the screen. Ah, but I'm sure I'll get it!
@TriforceBun Good summary regarding the excellent qualities just oozing out of Rondo of Blood! I pretty much agree with everything you said. This game is indeed classic Castlevania goodness, and how excellent that we get to play the original version on the VC.
This is extremely frustrating. My file shows 98%. I'm missing Annette. But I've definitely rescued the other 3 maidens, and Annette simply isn't where she's supposed to be (I've looked on youtube). I have absolutely no idea what I'm missing. As far as I know, I've killed every boss. But maybe not. Picking up my old save file where I left off maybe wasn't such a good idea after all.
I even went through the secret path in stage 2 again thinking maybe I had overlooked it the first time, but no. Still 98%. Gah!
And count me among the people who find the combat/platforming in Castlevania IV harder.
Nice new section! On the note of manly backflips, I had been trying the entire game to backflip into the falling orb at the end of each stage, only to barely miss it each time (either slightly too early or slightly too late). Fast-forward to the end of the game, I'm struggling with Dracula, and beat him by the skin of my teeth. The orb appears, and I vow to snag it this time. Focusing more intensely on the orb's animation than any part of the actual final battle, I leap into the air and TOTALLY NAIL IT. It was the perfect way to end the game! It also resulted in the final frame being Richter crouched aside the defeated Drac. Cool as heck.
I can't agree with SCIV being harder though (unless you're playing ROB with Maria). I played through the two games back-to-back and SCIV's eight-way whip, whip-spinning, and improved control make for a generally easier time against the game's myriad of enemies. You also begin each credit with five lives instead of four, and health pickups are more plentiful (smaller drumsticks can be found in several candles in the game). While I feel it's an easier game overall, it still provides a solid challenge. The final few stages can be brutal.
This has been a good RGC for sure. I've been reminded of all the things I really enjoy about ROB and SCIV. They're both excellent games that I'm happy to have in my library.
It definitely sounds like Annette is the missing percentage, assuming she's not showing up on the "clamshell" in your file select. Each maiden contributes 2% (I think), but I'm concerned that she isn't showing up in your file. Hopefully it's not some weird glitch. What's in Annette's room instead of her? I wonder if you're supposed to rescue her before fighting Dracula.
I too have failed at properly backflipping the orb.
As for Super Castlevania's difficulty, I'll have to look at where I was stuck again, but I remember the stage being pretty brutal and frustrating. As far as the 8-way whip goes, my counter to that is: "the game designers knew, and they designed the stages in light of that". But hey, maybe if I go back to it now, I'll find it easy. We'll see.
Any excuse to replay SCIV is a good one. But yeah, there are definitely some rough stages mixed into the game. I think after 100%ing ROB, though, you shouldn't have too much trouble. Especially after 5', geez. That and stage 7 were pretty brutal.
Cash bags is what you find after you rescue her. So I guess you aren't mixing her up with another girl, right? She should have purple-ish hair on the menu screen, and either be the first or second from the left (probably first).
Thanks, but I saved everyone now. I was missing the one in stage... 3', I believe?
So, I just got awesomer. But the ending is the same, really? Except for extra anime portraits of the girls? Hmm, disappointing.
Also, stage 4 is a perfect example of why Rondo of Blood just may be the pinnacle of the series. If you stick with the lower path, have you guys tried jumping on those metal balls slowling rolling down the stairs? All the way to the lift, and the monster picking them up and pushing them down again?
Hahaha, gotta love the attention to detail.
I may check the remake now that I know they changed a bunch of stuff.