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Jun 5, 2013A True Eastern Lost Gem, Rondo of Blood Is the Most Expansive and Accessible Old-School Castlevania.
The Good: Top notch presentation, both graphics and sound wise; multiple routes, bosses and secrets; well-balanced difficulty; save feature.
The Bad: Nintendo didn't care for English subtitles even if it's a first-time Western release.
One of the most grateful surprises to hit Wii's Virtual Console service, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood used to be a missing link for fans of the early years of the series--before the successful twist towards a "Metroid" gameplay style in Symphony of the Night (PSOne). Playing it now (almost 20 years later) is a delight not only for nostalgia sake; the game feels fresh as if it was another "new retro" release.
In one hand it encompasses the former iterations so well that everything seems to fit together perfectly--like the boatman from Simon's Quest making more sense with the alternate routes feature taken from Dracula's Curse, for instance; in the other it develops new concepts that ultimately make it a more robust action game: weapons special moves that consume more hearts to deal broader damage, a double jump effective for dodging attacks, the possibility of buying videos that teach you how to face bosses, saving the game...
Monsters design is another thing that deserves to be noticed here as well. Even in the cases that enemies are less intricate than older predecessors they at least shine for their style--and it can be surprising to realize how much late "Metroid-vania" titles owe this one in the matter.
Add to that a considerable improvement in the series presentation--long voiced cutscenes, pristine music--and a more accessible difficulty level (while still posing a decent challenge) and we (arguably) have the definitive old-school Castlevania game. Or, at least, the best entry for newcomers who want to know what Castlevania was all about in its early years.… Expand