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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
Finally made it to the end of stage 3's main path (after some practice, it didn't seem as impossible as before), solve the little puzzle at the end, and faced the giant eyeball. Tough battle that I couldn't have won without spamming the special weapon.

Now I am on the alternate stage 4 for the first time ever. Sweet.
10/09/11, 19:59   
@TriforceBun Good insights on the game sir! I really can't compare this game to other Castlevanias because I only rented a couple of the early NES ones and that was years ago. But it was interesting to hear how old levels were brought back for this game. Playing this game again makes me think I need more Castlevania in my collection. I may go handheld next though.

kriswright said:
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. ;)

Ha, yeah right!

But really TG-16 was not really any competition to SNES or Genesis in North America or Europe (although PC Engine did outsell Sega's Mega Drive in Japan) so maybe there isn't as much bad feelings remaining from the 16 bit days
10/09/11, 20:12   
Edited: 10/09/11, 20:14
I defeated Drac!

But then he and Richter talked a while, and Richter must have told a wicked funny joke because Drac laughed so hard that he turned into a bunch of spirits and flew away. Castlevania is still standing there, too, that's not supposed to happen.

I DON'T THINK I DID IT RIGHT. Time to seek out alternate paths maybe?
10/09/11, 20:38   
Edited: 10/09/11, 20:39
I saved the damsel in stage 4' and defeated both its bosses. Yay! I now stand at 94% completion, which I feel pretty good about. But the 31 continues I've used up? I feel less good about.

I think I have saved everyone now. The fourth one should be Richter's girlfriend, right?

I now have stage 5' left to beat, and then I could go defeat Drac directly since I've been using my old save. But I should probably play through the other levels as Richter as well, just to prove to myself I can.

edit - @Robknoxious1

So you have the disc for the game? Pretty impressive. Doesn't that go for over $100?
10/09/11, 21:05   
Edited: 10/09/11, 21:06

Does it? Yikes haven't checked. I've gotten rid of several games over the years as my wife has nagged.... er, I mean, gently suggested that I de-clutter. I had a bunch of Neo Geo ports for the fairly rare Arcade card that I just gave away to Goodwill (I've never tried to sell on eBay or anywhere). I got rid of my Saturn and Jaguar for the same reason - I could kick myself now.

A few of the ones I insisted on keeping were this game, Vasteel, Neo Nectaris (Military Madness 2 CD), Dungeon Explorer 1&2, Lords of Thunder, Exile 1&2, maybe five more CD's and maybe a dozen Hu-cards (they're tiny).

If I don't find that CD card my choices will be: hunt down a new one, stick with just the Hu-cards or emulate

EDIT: The Jag and Saturn I gave to my nephews - I wonder if I could get those back? Hmmmm..... (I still have Panzer Dragoon 1&2 that I kept out of stubbornness and cuz I loved those even though I have nothing to play them on =p
10/09/11, 21:44   
Edited: 10/09/11, 21:52
Just defeated Dracula with Richter Belmont so that makes me Awesomer! I have 60% completion. I didn't rescue any of the maidens, so I'll have to go through it again.
10/10/11, 00:57   
Found the secret character, but haven't rescued anyone else. I need to find 5' as well. I guess I'll stick with Richter for now, the game is definitely less frustrating than I remember Super Castlevania IV being, so that's good. I think the title screen said I've only used 9 continues so far.
10/10/11, 04:34   
Late to the party. Beat the first boss tonight.

.... better late than never?
10/10/11, 06:29   
@GameDadGrant GameDadGrant said:
Late to the party. Beat the first boss tonight.

.... better late than never?
Welcome. We're out of ice. Can you go out and get some?

I'm doing another Belmont playthrough in order to get 100% I'm on 5' and it is kicking my ass, whether I take the top or bottom route. This game is really hard. I love it!
10/10/11, 07:05   
Haven't had much time to play, but made it to stage 3 so far. Game is fun and the music is awesome. I do miss the versatile whip from SC IV though.
10/10/11, 07:30   

Nice write-up!

Anyway, I just started playing about an hour ago, and I love this game. Honestly, this game is such a huge relief to play after recently playing Castlevania Adventure Rebirth (WiiWare) for the first time.

It wouldn't be fair for me to compare it to Super Castlevania IV at this moment, but so far everything about it is super impressive. Too bad I can't understand the dialogue! I don't miss the multi-directional whip. As T-Bun said, the game is built around your limitations (like how Mega Man can only shoot left and right).

Looks like I'm not the only one having a little bit of trouble with the stage 3 boss Minotaur. I understand I can get to a different path/ boss, I will try harder harder next time to reach that and see how it goes. But yeah, Minotaur is a bit of a pain. That axe has such a large range, the stones thrown are tricky to dodge, and overall his attacks do massive damage! But I will take him down. I just have to find some time later this week to keep playing!
10/10/11, 08:15   

Isn't the bottom 5' route awesome? Very "simple", but still very cool.

I'm not sure I have any tricks to give you. Both bosses were assholes, but both definitely can be overcome with a little patience and caution.


It helps that your attacks make him lose balance, though. Keep at it! And try to kill him with some health left, because you will need it...

One thing you guys may not be aware of is that you can backflip by pressing jump twice quickly. It's in the manual, but who reads those?

Also, a question: in the chapel stage (stage 3?), right before the giant skeleton, there are three statues on the ceiling that change direction when you hit them with your whip. Any secret there? I can only manage to flip the first two, the third one is too far away.
10/10/11, 09:19   

Oh, I remember trying that too. I kept using the Bible until I ran out of hearts, but it missed the last one every time.

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. Jumping to grab the orb is all well and good, too, but try backflipping into it. I still haven't done it, but I'm determined to pull it off.

If you hold the attack button, you can walk backward. Handy for that obnoxious beginning stretch in stage 7.
10/10/11, 09:27   

You can't hit those statues with items, I had the axe and I didn't miss, but it did nothing. Only the whip. Perhaps with perfect timing, AND that trick of pressing forward twice quickly after attacking, which extends the whip a tiny bit.

Good to know, about the moonwalk thing.
10/10/11, 09:30   
@Guillaume I haven't even reached the bosses in 5'!
10/10/11, 09:48   
*comes back with ice*

Rescued two maidens, and making my way to Stage 5.

I should point out that I'm playing the PSP version. It's easier for me to play a game when it's on a handheld. I don't know why, but that's how I roll.

10/10/11, 16:13   

Yeah, that's cool how he loses his balance like that, but what I don't get is why he sometimes does lose balance and sometimes not. Maybe something to do with his stance at the moment you hit him?


To sum up some of the intricacies of the game that you can miss if you don't read the manual or have not experimented too much around:

-Item Crash: Each sub-weapon has a powerful version that can be activated by pressing 'select.' For example, the Holy Cross normally uses up one heart when used as a boomerang-type (Up+Attack), but as an item crash, a crucifix will appear in the middle of the screen then multiple crucifixes will rise up from the bottom hitting anything in their path (uses 15 hearts).
-You can jump on to stairs, and drop off of stairs.
-As @Guillaume pointed out, you can back-flip with Richter by quickly pressing jump twice.
-As @TriforceBun pointed out, you can walk backwards by pressing and holding the attack button.
10/10/11, 18:21   
Edited: 10/10/11, 18:22
@roykoopa64 Good to have that info. I didn't read the manual either. I think I knew most of that like fifteen years ago but had forgotten it.

Didn't have as much time as I hoped yesterday. what with Church, the Raider game (nail biter till the last play), and helping my oldest with homework. I rescued the first maiden, however the Werewolf was kicking my butt. I decided to play as Maria and he went down hard. When I played years ago I never thought twice about using Maria. Once I rescued her and tried using her she just seemed so superior I just kept using her. Now I feel like a wuss for not using Richter but oh well. I'll have to settle for "Awesome" I guess when the time comes.

Anyway I proceeded to level 3. I remember now how much I loved this level. I really like the stained glass windows and light with the moths and so forth. I beat the Minotaur with Maria no sweat. Cakewalk really. I was part way through stage 4 when I had to start getting kids ready to start schoolwork. When I beat the game I may have to start over and try using Richter again.

@GameDadGrant Now that I've finally started playing handhelds I wish I could play this on one myself. It's just difficult right now to be on the TV as much as before. Enjoy the PSP version
10/10/11, 19:22   
Since I already beat Rondo of Blood (and the Wii which has it is not at my current residence) I've been playing Castlevania: Dracula X for SNES instead. I really don't remember the specifics of Rondo of Blood well enough to recognize the differences, but it seems more linear (although there are some branching paths it seems) and I believe there's only one playable character.

It's pretty fun, standard Castlevania so far, but seems to lack some of the cooler parts of Rondo of Blood. I'd like to read a comprehensive description of the differences if such a thing exists though.
10/10/11, 19:25   
Ugh, so there's no point to taking either path in 5'? Man, fuck that stage. It's just an abomination all around. Glad I wasted my time and continues putting up with bats and medusas and fishmen and all that crap.

Guess I have to find the other prisoners, then? What stages are they in? I'd rather not go pixel hunting through every stage for naught...
10/11/11, 01:42   
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