Friday, February 2, 2007

Dracula X: Rondo of Blood coming to PSP...

Konami announced today that the long lost Castlevania title, Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, will be coming to the US for the first time as part of the only PSP title I'm likely to buy this year: Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles.

Rondo is one of those legendary rare titles most people have never played, up there with Panzer Dragoon Saga and Radiant Silvergun. Not only did it never make it out of Japan, but even there it was on the PC-Engine Duo, the Japanese equivalent of the TurboDuo, which was actually pretty successful. The game regularly fetches upwards of $150 on eBay and even if you're willing to shell out the cash for it, you likely don't have a TurboDuo to play it on (at least it plays imports without a hitch!)

Needless to say, for Castlevania fans (especially old-school fans), this is a pretty big deal...even if it is for the PSP, a system that would envy the PC-Engine's success.

My excitement however, quickly melted as I saw the first screenshot of the game on

Great, the old 2d to pseudo-3d trick. Thanks? The graphics are completely devoid of any soul, with razor sharp lines on everything. It looks like a souped up Flash game! I'm all about upgrading the graphics, but cel-shading would be preferable to this. 3D doesn't belong anywhere near Castlevania (as 5 failed installments including a scrapped Dreamcast game can attest to), even if the game is still a sidescroller. In all seriousness, the game looks a lot better in motion, even though Richter's walking animation is absurd.

Thankfully Konami isn't letting us down: in addition to the "Arranged" version, Chronicles will also include the original PCE version of Rondo of Blood, as well as what will surely be the selling point for many: a port of Rondo's direct sequel, Nocturne in the Moonlight, better known in the US as Symphony of the Night, one of the greatest games ever made and arguably the finest title for the original PlayStation.

SotN will not be getting the remake attention (and seeing what Rondo looks like, be grateful), but it will feature some extra stuff and be reformatted to fill the PSP's beautiful wide screen.

If I were Konami I probably would've waited to announced this until AFTER Symphony of the Night was released on XBLA in a few short weeks, as that version, with its faux-widescreen letterboxed presentation, seems a lot less interesting now.

You can check out more screens and videos at 1up...

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles -

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