Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

Game Overview

Among fans, Castlevania Dracula X: Rondo of Blood was considered the "lost" title in the Castlevania series. Never released in the United States (due to disputes between NEC of America, who controlled the TurboGraphix, and NEC of Japan) over games that should be released in Western markets), it was the original, superior version to the SNES remake (Castlevania: Dracula X). A rarity state-side, Rondo of Blood was widely coveted by fans, leading to a lively (and expensive) auction market for import copies of the title.

Thankfully, 14 years after its original release, Konami graced the world with a true re-release/remake of the title in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, a PlayStation Portable exclusive that boasted a 2.5D enhanced version of Rondo of Blood, as well as the original game and its sequel title, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (both unlockable through Easter Eggs hidden in the remake). Everything fans wanted -- Richter Belmont's full adventure, gorgeous anime cut-scenes and rich, orchestral music, plus a playable Maria Renard -- was included, giving fans the fullest Dracula X experience ever seen in the West.

The enhanced remake constitutes the main game in the collection. Along with the newly detailed, polygonal graphics, the game featured a new translation and updated (in English) voice acting. Additionally, explorational elements were added to the Rondo of Blood experience. Saving two of the girls (Iris and Tera), unlocked the ability to break certain barriers. These barriers blocked other unlockables, and their powers were required to collect all the bonuses as well as the best ending. The bonus include the aforementioned games, plus the bonus "peke" stage from Rondo of Blood (its own Easter Egg you'd played the original, PC Engine game on classic hardware game with the wrong system card installed), and the usual Sound Select and Boss Rush modes.

As a complete collection of all things Dracula X, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles does an outstanding job of providing just about the most complete experience any fan could hope for. In fact, (as noted elsewhere on the Inverted Dungeon) the only omission would be the lack of the SNES remake, Dracula XX. In all other ways, and especially for Western audiences, this is the version of Rondo of Blood to get.