February 28, 2021
For our revamp of the Series we're reaching the end of the main series. This week we're covering the DS era (and the few titles to come out after), with updated coverage of Dawn of Sorrow, Curse of Darkness, Portrait of Ruin, Order of Shadows, Order of Ecclesia, Judgment, The Arcade, and Harmony of Despair. After this we're just down to the Lords of Shadow games and a few oddities.
While I was working on the series page I was inspired to add another new article to that section, writing up a Postmortem for the Castlevania series. Considering Konami has little interest in putting out a new, full-fledged game in the series on console or hand-held systems, it felt like we should give an overview of just why, trying to figure out the reasoning behind that decision (as confounding as it might seem to Castlevania fans.
Of course we continue to expand out the Literature section, and this week sees a review for the fifth "Vampire Files" novel, Fire in the Blood. The series is still a fun read, but this book dragged a bit more than the previous, excellent tome. Hopefully the series picks back up this one needed a bit of spice to be worthy of the series.
And finally, we have another rom-hack to add to the Fanworks area: Castlevania: The Holy Relics. This game is a complete rework of the original Castlevania with expanded features, new art and music, and plenty of other additions. I'm a big fan of this game and if you're going to play any NES hacks of the series, this should absolutely be on your list.
February 21, 2021
Although this site is generally focused for a U.S. audience (as that's where all the editors live), we have been expanding our coverage to include details from other regions. As we've been research and updating content we have been adding on more dates and other titles to expand the scope and information to best reflect the worldwide perspective of the series. That includes a new page on the site, the Castlevania Series Timeline of Releases, freshly added to the site this week. Now if you're looking to find out when a game was released, this page will provide the most comprehensive dates (we could find) for every entry in the series (Kid Dracula and Gambling Machines included).
Speaking of going over the series, we do have further entries for that section as we rennovate all the articles within. This week adds updated takes on Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, along with looks at Demon Castle Special: I'm Kid Dracula and Kid Dracula.
Meanwhile, over in the Literature we get back to the "Vampire Files" with the fourth book in the series, Art in the Blood, which I thorougly enjoyed. Then, in Horror Cinema, we also have a review of Vampires, which I thoroughly hated. So, but of a mixed-bag there.
February 14, 2021
First, a bit of news. It was recently discovered that there's a bonus mode in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night's Classic Mode. By entering the Konami Code on that mode's title screen you can unlock "1986 Mode" which makes the game even harder (and more old school). With the disovery of this mode, we've updated the Classic Mode review to include this information.
Naturally, we're continuing our refresh of the Series section. This week we tackle Konami's early forays into 3D consoles, from the sublime (but not initially succesful) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (and its Saturn port), to the less beloved Nintendo 64 Castlevania (and it's "prequel" Legacy of Darkness), and the generally loathed Castlevania: Legends. Plus Castlevania Resurrection and Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night, just to cover all the related materials.
From there we then travel into the Fanworks for yet another Aria hack: Castlevania: Dawn of Symphony (Alucard SOTN Hack). As the title says, this adds in Alucard to the game, although it really changes the whole story and lets the Symphony version of Alucard rampage through the game as if he were Soma Cruz. It's also really stupid hard, though, so likely isn't for everyone.
Finally, we revisit Strahd over in the Literature for P.N. Elrod's second "Ravenloft" book, I, Strahd: The War Against Azalin. I liked this novel more than the first (which I also rather enjoyed), but I ahev to admit it has many of the same weaknesses as the first book (especially an unwillingness to push the character beyon his campaign setting bounds).
February 4, 2021
As with last week, we're continuing to go through all the Series pages and update them with as much new research information as I could find. This week finds us traveling through the 16-bit era, tackling: Super Castlevania IV, Castlevania X68k, Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, Dracula XX, Bloodlines, and, as a bonus, The Bloodletting, The Dracula X Chronicles, and The Adventure ReBirth. And there's still more to come...
Meanwhile, we have a few different bits of media to cover as well. In the Horror Cinema sectuion we have a review of the third, and final, Toho vampire flick, Evil of Dracula, which was a decent film and helped to end the Toho trilogy on a bit of a nice finale. And then, over in Literature we take on P.N. Elrod's Ravenloft tale, I, Strahd: Memoirs of a Vampire, a novel I loved back in the day but found somewhat lacking when I went back and re-read it recently.
Finally, over in Fanworks, we tackle another hack with the Castlevania: Circle of the Moon - Card Mode by Dev Anj. I like the idea behind this mod, placing the DSS cards in easier to get to places around the castle (rather than hidden as drops on enemies), but I personally would have liked to have seen a little more done in the hack with the cards to really showcase them. But maybe that's just me.
January 28, 2021
I've been meaning to go back over the Series and update the information in there. As the oldest section of the ReBirth site it's also the part that needed the most work, in no small part because as the site has grown, and I've been working on Asteroid G, my editorial style has continued to change. Plus, as I've been researching information for all the sections of this site I've just picked up a lot more information about the series -- not just tangential stories from fans, but more hard facts from reports within and without Konami itself.
As such I'm going through and editing these articles to bring in line with where I'd actually like to have them. I have updates so ar for all the games through the NES era: Castlevania, Vampire Killer, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Haunted Castle, The Castlevania Adventure, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, and Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge. That's a lot, and there's still plenty more to come.
That also led me, during my research, to find out about the connection between Castlevania II and a little known (at least on Western shores) exploration-platformer: The Maze of Galious: Knightmare II. We now have information about that game up in the Related Games area so you can learn all about it.
Next up, we continue our trawl through the P.N. Elrod "Vampire Files" series with books two and three: Lifeblood and Bloodcircle. Although I wasn't entirely impressed with Lifeblood -- I like the lead hero but the novel is way too stuck in the past -- Bloodcircle gives us a fitting conclusion to this first trilogy with promise for the future.
Finally, heading into the Horror Cinema section, we have the another zombie remake, Day of the Dead: Bloodline. This one isn't as offensively bad as the previous remake, but it's still not a great movie. Just competent enough that you'll wish it'd had better talent in the cast (and behind the camera) to actually make something better from the material. Kinda sad, really. Worse, I paired this with Toho's second vampire film, Lake of Dracula, and that was a tragic mistake. That movie is really bad as well.
January 21, 2021
We start this week with news of Castlevania: Moonlight Rhapsody. Some new game play for the currently China-only title has leaked out, and what it shows of the game isn't that great. It's pretty enough, for what it is (although it's currently art style has some fans in a tizzy), but the game play looks incredibly bland, plus the footage makes the game look pretty buggy. We hope we're wrong and the game is progressing better than this, but right now this doesn't look great for our favorite series.
We move on, then, to better games and their information. I'm continuing to pull through all the added content for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and this is leading to a bunch of new articles for that section of the site. Today brings reviews of Boss Revenge Mode + Bloodless (Boss Revenge is slight but Bloodless is a lot of fun) and Classic Mode + Kingdom Crossover (Classic Mode is great, the Kingdom crossover can be ignored entirely). There's still more to do there, such as updating all the bios currently in the section and then adding boss bios (since we now have a few playable bosses), and those should come in the next update or two.
Meanwhile, since we just mentioned the crossover content, I finally have a review together for Kingdom: Two Crowns - Dead Lands. This game, well, isn't really my cup of tea. I appreciate what it's going for, but the main game gets really punishing quite quickly, while the game play loop fails to keep pace. I like what it tries for, but even now, in its third edition, it feels like it could use some serious thought to improve the overall experience. But it is pretty, and the added Bloodstained graphics look nice in the context.
January 15, 2021
After a bit of a break to relax and enjoy the new year, we're back to update ICVD once again at (hopefully) our usual, steady clip. Last year went great, with (near) weekly updates to the site that really helped to flesh out all the sections. We're going to try and maintain that again this year, see if we can finish out some of the sections that aren't quite complete so that we can turn our attention to all new content come 2022. That's the goal, anyway.
To kick things off we begin in the oft-neglected Literature section with coverage of the first book in P.N. Elrod's "Vampire Files" series, Bloodlist. I enjoyed this novel well enough, it's a good first book in a series, and it's good to have another author I can regularly read (since I'm damn picky about my books).
Of note, I really wanted to have a review of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein up in the Literature section but, ugh, that book is a real slog. One day I might return to it to try again, but that day won't be any time soon.
Meanwhile, over in Horror Cinema, we have coverage of the awful 2005 Day of the Dead remake. Honestly, awful doesn't even begin to cover it as this movie is absolutely abysmal. It makes me appreciate Snyder's Dawn of the Dead, and that's saying soemthing.
Finally, with the release of Classic Mode for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, we're going to be going through and reviewng each of the major additions to the game (working our way up to that Classic Mode). We begin that processed by looking at the first big expansion: Randomizer Mode + Zangetsu. The additional of a section playable character is nice, but Zangetsu is like so many bonus character in the classic Castlevania series, novel for a short time but lacking in depth. The Randomizer, meanwhile, is a great feature to add to the main game, although I do wish it went just a little further to make for a truly new adventure.
And with that, I just want to say thank you to everyone for continuing to read The Inverted Dungeon and we'll return soon with more content. Here's to a great 2021!