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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.

URL to share (right click and copy)
10/08/11, 09:48    Edited: 10/27/11, 05:06
I started last night before going to bed. I was killed by the werewolf boss in Stage 2. I agree with @Guillaume that the enemies do dish out more damage than usual and Richter is more agile than most Belmonts (except Julius). I do miss swinging my whip in all directions. But it can't be helped, the TG16 controller only has two action buttons like the NES controller.
10/08/11, 20:59   
@Guillaume Two men engaged in a heated struggle, one firing his thing pointed at the other man's naughty face, while an old man sits off to the side massaging another man's glutes... I think it worked.

@Zero Heh, I tried to catch it in midair before it was able to bounce a first time
10/09/11, 00:52   
I'm on Stage 4. The headless knight is kicking my ass.
10/09/11, 01:59   
@Simbabbad I haven't enjoyed the Castlevania series either, but that's based mainly on the first two Castlevania games. I'm gonna give Rondo of Blood a try eventually, though I still don't expect to enjoy it as much as something like Ninja Gaiden.
10/09/11, 02:05   
I have a name for my pain, and it's Flea Man.
10/09/11, 03:15   
@kriswright They are the bane of my existence in every Castlevania game. I'm going to have to add Axe Knights in this one.
10/09/11, 03:25   
Are you KIDDING me? You are supposed to catch that wand BEFORE IT HITS THE FLOOR. What is this one bounce nonsense?

I also realised that I have the PSP version of this game. Got it as a gift a long time ago and never got to it, so I'll be doing what @sirmastersephiroth is doing. YAY!

EDIT - Seems I can't play the original version. Do I unlock it when I beat the remake? Hmm...
10/09/11, 04:44   
Edited: 10/09/11, 05:16
ploot said:
Are you KIDDING me? You are supposed to catch that wand BEFORE IT HITS THE FLOOR. What is this one bounce nonsense?

Amen. If there isn't a comic about this injustice on my desk by 5 pm Monday afternoon, you're fired, ploot.

(just kidding)
10/09/11, 05:26   
I'm glad you agree with me!
10/09/11, 06:02   
kriswright said:
ploot said:
Are you KIDDING me? You are supposed to catch that wand BEFORE IT HITS THE FLOOR. What is this one bounce nonsense?

Amen. If there isn't a comic about this injustice on my desk by 5 pm Monday afternoon, you're fired, ploot.

(just kidding)

I agree with this.
10/09/11, 06:20   
Edited: 10/09/11, 06:21
Oh and @ploot:

Unlock Original Rondo of Blood game
Go to stage 4. On your way through twards the end of the stage you will find 6 of those skulls that spit fire stacked on top of each other. Just past them is a platform that moves like an inverted pengelium going left and right. Just opposite of it is a spiked ball. Get on the platform and jump over the spiked ball landing on the ground against the wall. Break the lower part of the wall to find a bomb. Hit the bomb to ingite it and the wall will come falling down.
Walk forward a bit and you will find 2 spiked platforms that try to crush you. Get on the right platform and as it's going up jump off of it and land on the upper level. Stay on top avoiding the axes and the yellow eye. At the very end of that platform is a candle hit it and inside will be some classic gaming goodness.

Here's a video tutorial:

If you don't want to go through all that, well then here's a direct link from Gamefaqs with save that has both SOTN and ROB unlocked. Warning pressing this link will start an automatic download of the save to your specified save folder: Save File.
10/09/11, 06:21   
Thanks so much!!! I'll try to get it on my own. AWESOME!
10/09/11, 07:23   
I am fighting Death right now and he is kicking my ass. Is there an easy boss in this game besides the first one? No? Oh well, that's how I like it anyway.

Edit: Just beat him.
10/09/11, 07:54   
Edited: 10/09/11, 08:04
Okay I'm playing - finally. I had no end of problems.

I wanted to save the nine bucks and just play it on my TG-16 CD. Everything is where it should be except the Arcade Card that lets the CD player actually, you know PLAY CD's.A Super CD card would've done it but I went from the basic CD card to the Japan only, more memory, Arcade card years back. Now after looking for hours it's just gone. I'm thinking my wife spring-cleaned it away somehow. Oh well.

Anyway I got the better VC version now and am playing along. Shoulda just spent the nine bones to begin with but we got hit with some unexpected expenses this week and I figured since I own the original...... ugh.
10/09/11, 08:01   
I just think it's awesome that you've got your TG-CD still in working order. Rad. You should post about it sometime. You'll find these guys are real open minded about systems that competed with the SNES. ;)
10/09/11, 08:07   
kriswright said:
You'll find these guys are real open minded about systems that competed with the SNES. ;)

10/09/11, 08:11   
Edited: 10/09/11, 08:11
Now I'm fighting against...

He's one bad mother....Shut your mouth!
10/09/11, 08:14   
Back in the game, I am. I'm reminded why I enjoy Rondo of Blood so much--

The game keeps the surprises coming. Not only is the presentation slick as heck--arguably even nicer than it's Super NES cousin--but each stage is packed with cool touches and creative design all-around. The beginning reminds me a bit of A Link to the Past, with an atmospheric horse-drawn carriage ride through an evening storm and a brief tussle against Death itself. And this is just in the first minute! After that comes a very cool throwback to Castlevania 2, but with a town in the midst of burning, complete with boogeymen popping out of windows and throwing barrels. You make your way past familiar buildings (like the church) and through the streets on the outskirts of the town.

In stage 2, not only do you get a tribute to the original Castlevania's first level, but the music is a combination of the first and second stages' songs in the game. You work your way from the outside to the fortress outer walls, and just when you feel like you've gotten used to the new enemy types thrown your way, a massive ox beast shows up and chases you into the next room. But you're not safe yet! It busts through the door and into the opposite wall, whereupon its head falls off. Backtracking slightly reveals that it's just the upper torso of a beast, with the lower half inexplicably ripped off from something. And if you're thorough, you'll have a use for the key you picked up earlier. Peeping Eyes are in cages for some reason, bats fly by the windows by the dozens, and the expected showdown with the giant bat boss ends up leading outside instead (for a very Mega Man-feeling battle).

I just played through stage three and enjoyed the extra finesse required when dealing with the spear knights. The alternate paths are a treat as well, especially when you figure out how to activate them. I'll ease up on the spoilers now, but I've been having a great time with this game all-around.

I can understand the complaints that Castlevania feels too stiff, but I feel that (in general), the games are built around that control limitation. The skeletons, bats, and yes, even Medusa heads you come across have simple, predictable patterns that make taking them on a test of skill rather than a chore of feeling like you're overwhelmed. That's one of the reasons I never got into Ghouls and Ghosts, in fact--those red demons are way too fast and unpredictable for chunky Arthur (that and the repeat-the-whole-game thing, come on).

I'm definitely more of an old-school Castlevania fan than a new-school one. I appreciate the Metroid approach but the level design suffers with too much backtracking and grinding, and a lack of stage-specific memorable setpieces. And they really reuse themes too often in the handheld games (ballroom, church, catacombs, clock tower, waterway). SCIV and Rondo of Blood are my favorites, I think, SCIV being the one to beat.
10/09/11, 08:17   
10/09/11, 18:39   
Edited: 10/09/11, 18:40
I fell off the main path in stage 3, faced the Minotaur. Some of these bosses have a final attack before dying, and this one I don't know if it's even possible to avoid. You can't jump high enough. What's up with that? Supposedly, if you beat a boss with full life, you gain a 1up, but I don't see how that's possible here with Richter.
10/09/11, 19:04   
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