Don't let the flashy title fool you.
Chances are, you will kick Konami in the nuts
for fucking one of their best franchises in console games.
I found a copy of this game at the local blockbuster, seeing that not many Castlevania titles were around since Bloodlines and the awesome Castlevania 4, I thought this title would not disappoint me one bit. I saw the cover of the box, with anime-drawn characters like Richter Belmont, the latest vampire hunter to take on Dracula. and Mr. fang himself, smirking down at him in the back of the cover. It also claims that there are multiple endings, so that got my attention even more.
It all starts well in the game, as I turn on the SNES and inspect the prologue that tells the story of Transylvania prospering by showing a series of ill-drawn pictures. Nevertheless, Dracula appears and kidnaps Richter's wife and his sister-in-law Maria. This is the same Maria you find later on Symphony of the Night, but a lot younger in this game.
So Richter not only has to destroy Dracula as his ancestors did in the past, but also has to rescue his family in the process. No problem.
You see, Dracula X is a misshapen carbon copy of Rondo of Blood for PC. Konami butchered and watered down every single bit from that title and compressed it inside an SNES cartridge. Seeing that Konami has done an spectacular job with (Super) Castlevania 4 in the SNES, transporting Rondo of Blood into a 16-bit system would be no trouble at all. You would miss some things like the Animated introduction and sharper graphics, but besides that, Dracula X would remain practically the same.
Let's begin with what they did with poor Richter. In Symphony of The Night Richter is presented as a badass, with all these amazing moves like the back-jump, whip uppercut, and a slide, along with the awesome item crashes that leaves every player in awe. Quite the most powerful vampire hunter of the Belmont clan.
||In Dracula X however, we are left with a difficult-to control Richter. Someone who canít jump to even save his life. Tricks like the back-jump and item crashes are here still, with the exception of the Cross-, in this version, you see a bunch of the things just flying around pretty much like the axes do. In Rondo of Blood however, the Crosses raise up and dissolve every other sob monster in the screen, pretty much like a smart bomb.|
Also, the difficulty of this game is stupidly exaggerated. You would think Konami has made it so the player could rely on his reflexes and skill to maneuver trough a crumbling bridge while a bunch of frogmen jump in front of Richter and keep pushing him back until he falls to his doom. This is more like a punishment that it is a skill test.
|Other changes from the PC version to the SNES are many of the backgrounds and stages that were chopped and thrown to the trash. The first stage in ROB, you wander around in a town that resembles the ones shown in Castlevania 2, which makes me believe that game was MEANT to be after all...creepy.|
In Dracula X, you start off around a bunch of ruins, with psychedelic fiery backgrounds. Although this is a better view of a Transylvanian town, it does not make up for the lack of control and awful difficulty that this game has been programmed with.
In Rondo of Blood not only you rescue Maria and Richterís wife, you also rescue a couple other damsels in distress. Namely a Nun and a miscellaneous lady whom no one even knows about. You also have an option of playing as Maria, which adds a bit of diversity in the game.
|In Dracula X, you would be lucky if you can even rescue Maria. The way it was set up was that you have to find a "hidden" chamber in some stage or another, and then use Richterís amazing (lack of) skills to jump and rescue her. In fact, that little useless key you find earlier in the game? You have to survive with that thing until you get to Maria. Otherwise, you canít open that fucking door. Brilliant.|
So what happens if you get tired of rescuing your ladies? A huge skull with bulging eyes possesses Richterís wife. No joke. That, and you get a craptastic ending where Richter curses Konami for not allowing him to keep Rondo Of Blood's original theme to the SNES version.
Another thing that is painful to see is a Werewolf that acts like Blanka from Street Fighter games. Although it is cool to see him bounce around and beating Richter to a pulp, it is quite humiliating to see his end as a buck-naked nobody consumed by flames.
Good grief. At least in "Chronicles" the female version had the dignity of being transported away by a flying cape. She was good looking too.
Richter Belmont is cursed with this horrid 16-bit adventure. It makes me wonder why, to this date, Konami has never released a US version of the PC game. No one would complain about it, and certainly, no one would even remember the painful moments in Dracula X. Another thing: The damn censorship here sucks, what's with Death bleeding WHITE GOO?
|Castlevania 4 this ain't. C4 was known to give you chills with the amazing music and some stages where anything could happen. The awesome battle with the Grim Reaper was the most memorable, whereas in Dracula X you need to rescue them ladies to meet Mr. Skull 'n' Scythe.|
Dracula X, along with Castlevania II, are stains on the franchise. I will still wait when Konami comes to its senses and gives his fans Rondo of Blood, either for the PC, or for Playstation. Maybe both.
Alas, poor Richter...you were fooled. Jump into that pit over there and pretend you never were in this craptastic title.
This game really, really sucked. Unless you
need every other Castlevania game ever made, don't bother buying this miserable
title. In fact, play as Richter in Symphony of the Night, you will forgive
Konami for fucking him up.