BASIC GAME INFO
- Game: Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
- Platform: PC-Engine Super CD
- Original Release Date Oct. 31st, 1993 by Konami
- Regions released in: Japan only
- Repro release date: July 29, 2015, April 30 2016 (re-release)
Akumajo Dracula X: Chi no Rondo, more commonly known in the west as Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, is a fantastic game. It was first released for the PC-Engine in the Super CD format on October 31st 1993 in Japan only. It quickly became a highlight for the PC-Engine CD platform and for Castlevania as a whole. In fact some fans would argue it’s one of the best in the series. It’s smart, challenging yet fair, and most importantly, it’s fun. The game has tight, satisfying controls, varied level design, sharp graphics and a strong soundtrack. On top of these more technical traits, Rondo of Blood expands of some previous developments in the series as well as provide it’s own innovations to the formula. The game has branching paths and multiple characters like in Castlevania III, but this time there are more routes with a bigger impact. There are two characters to choose from, Richter Belmont and Maria Renard, In addition to having different play styles, there are parts of the castle that are better designed for one character or another or areas that can only be accessed with some character specific attributes. This really encourages players to explore the depth of the game and truly get the most out of it. Some of the new innovations include animated cutscenes to better develop the story, optional objectives, collectible money for hint and perks systems, and perhaps most importantly the item crash power attack and the ability to finally jump on and off the stairs. The polish and refinement here makes Castlevania: Rondo of Blood absolutely worth playing.
Richter plays like the classic Belmonts while Maria is more agile with projectile weapons
This reproduction version of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood was first released by PCE Works In April of 2015. Prior to this release they had already put out several quality repro games for the PC Engine CD/Turbografx CD as stand alone releases or bundled packs. The previous releases were well received for being solid games, having, eye-catching packaging, and good fan translations when needed. Their release of Rondo of Blood is no exception from the quality expected from PCE Works. There were two different versions of the game released.The first was an extravagant special edition that came in a wooden case, with a Deluxe digi-pack of game, a metallic sticker, a pin,a wooden cross on a leather necklace, and a wooden stake (You know, for all the vampires you’ll be going after in your down time.) Well, Damn, that is a lot of cool stuff to go with a cool game.Unfortunately, this version is now unavailable and will not be restocked. The more modest and easily obtainable release came came in a standard DVD case. The packaging and cover design are still well done and it comes with a detailed, full color manual that comes in and very helpful. My copy of Rondo of Blood came with both a Japanese version and and one translated to English on a separate disc. The English translation is solid with no noticeable errors or oddities, however it’s worth noting that only the first batch was packaged with the extra English version. (It was sold as a separate bonus item for some time but I believe that option is gone as well. All versions of the game come with a fold out ad, and bookmark. The standard version of the game was re-released fairly recently and is currently available for a short time.
The special edition with all the goodies and the still impressive Standard edition
ORIGINAL AVAILABILITY/REPRO ETHICS
When I first discovered this reproduction release of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, I was a little unsure what to think of it in the ethics department. At first glance I thought the validity of putting out this release was a little murky. The Castlevania series, as far as I know, is still tied to Konami and while there are no current ways to easily get a hold of it in the west it was available on the Nintendo Wii e-Shop and as an unlockable bonus for the 3D PSP remake. However, we aren’t talking about modern system releases right now, or to be honest, a well operated Konami. Also, the platform of choice for this release is a dead system to begin with, one that never got an official release of Rondo of Blood in the west anyway. It’s a special circumstance of a piece of hardware getting a release it should have been afforded roughly twenty years ago. So in this particular case, I’m giving the ethical wonderings of this repro release a pass. The attention of detail put into this specific reproduction, the age of the game and time between the original and repro release, and spotty release history in the west are all important factors to consider in my eyes when assessing the ethics and validity of a game getting a reproduction and in the case of Rondo of Blood all of these factors are favorable. The fact that this is a quality release for the Turbografx/PC-Engine is especially nice since in the west the system didn’t really get the range of high quality/profile titles it deserved in it’s lifetime. It feels right to see this game return to it’s home base.
Both the original Japanese and English Title Screen.
Overall I’d say that this reproduction release of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is certainly worth it. The whole deal has quality and good intentions written all over it. The idea might seem murky at first but in my eyes, all is good. If you own a Turbografx/PC-Engine CD or Du system I highly recommend you seek this one out while you can.
Bust out your the PC-Engine/Turbografx model of your choice, because the PCE Works reproduction release of Rondo of Blood is definitely worth a look.