Video Game: Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
(originally released in Japan as Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo
) was released for the PC-Engine
in 1993. Initially, it was only released in Japan
but was finally ported to the PlayStation Portable
with Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
, and subsequently to the Wii Virtual Console
In 1792, the evil priest Shaft resurrects Dracula. In a rare flash of brilliance,
Dracula immediately attacks the current Belmont's hometown and tries to kill him right off the bat.
Richter Belmont was luckily out of town training. So, Dracula goes for plan B: kidnap Richter's fianceť Annette
, a distant relative of the Belmont Clan named Maria, and two other villagers.Rondo
played similar to previous Castlevania
entries, mostly linear.
You could also find hidden exits to reach alternate paths through the stages to find different bosses. The ending depends on which girls you rescue
, and you could play the game as Maria if you found her
. You could enhance your subweapons into an Item Crash
that usually fills the screen with large projectiles.
The PC-Engine version was released in Super CD-ROM format, so Rondo of Blood
has a redbook soundtrack and voice-acted cutscenes. This bump in production value led to Konami upping the values for their subsequent games.
A remixed port
was released for the Super Famicom titled Akumajō Dracula XX
(as in "Double X") in 1995, which was released for the American Super NES as Castlevania: Dracula X
and in Europe as Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss
. While the basic plot and game system remained identical to the PC Engine, the stages were all-new and a lot more linear (with only two hidden stages) due to the lower memory capacity of the cartridge format, and unlike the PC-Engine version, only Richter was playable.
Rondo of Blood provides examples of:
- After Boss Recovery: As usual, an orb will appear to replenish your health after a boss fight, but sadly, not in the middle of a Sequential Boss.
- And I Must Scream: If the evil painting touches Richter or Maria, they become trapped inside it forever.
- Anti-Frustration Features. When picking up a new subweapon, your old one drops to the ground, and you can opt to switch back.
- Ascended Glitch: The secret area in Dracula's keep, accessed by jumping onto an invisible staircase, is a reference to a bug in the Famicom Disk version of Akumajō Dracula, where the player could keep walking up the stairs to the keep, into the open air after the stairs themselves had stopped, through the ceiling, and into a mire of glitched graphics.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Unlike previous games, when Richter loses a life, it's not a pretty sight this time around...
- Boss Corridor: Right before each boss, you enter an enemy-free room, filled with powerups and its own music track. This also serves as a checkpoint should you lose to the boss.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The Great Armor (Armor Lord) at the end of the alternate path of Stage 2'. You also encounter two of them in the upper path of Stage 5'.
- Boss Rush: Stage 6, where Shaft resurrects the first four bosses from the original NES game (Giant Bat, Medusa, Mummy, and Frankenstein's Monster) before taking the field himself.
- Bottomless Pits: Averted in some stages, notably Stage 3. Played straight if it's water.
- Cool Chair: Rondo is where chairs first started appearing in Castlevania levels, but you can't do anything but jump on them. At one point you find a skeleton sitting in one. Either you whip it away or see it turning to dust as you pass.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory:
- If you've been playing as Maria for a while and switch to Richter, there's a good chance you'll back-flip off a cliff or into an enemy at least once while attempting to Double Jump.
- If you started playing Richter in Symphony of the Night or Portrait of Ruin, he's going to seem a LOT slower and clumsier here.
- Damsel in Distress: Iris, Terra, Annette, and Maria Renard, the last of whom later Took a Level in Badass as she becomes a playable hero after you rescue her.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Dracula tries to snuff out Richter by sending his forces to attack his hometown in Wallachia. Luckily for Richter, he was out training at the time; when he hears news of the attack (and abduction of several townswomen), he rushes back. Long story short, the end result is exactly what you'd expect to happen in a Castlevania game in regards to a Belmont facing the Dark Lord.
- Darker and Edgier: Previously only implied in previous games, it's a lot more pronounced in this one (except when it isn't).
- Dem Bones: The game introduces several varieties of skeletons into the franchise; the barrel-throwing Ape skeletons, slightly larger (and golden) Giants, Archers, were-panthers, dagger-Dual Wielding Blazes/Blades, Flails, musket-firing Gunmen, and even a Golem boss which constructs itself from bones in its lair.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If your PC Engine's system card doesn't fulfill the requirements for Rondo of Blood, you get Akumajo Dracula X Peke instead.
- Difficulty Spike: The game has a really easy first level. The rest of the game is considerably more difficult, especially Stage 2.
- Do Not Run with a Gun: Played straight with Richter and averted with Maria, who can throw her birds while walking. Most of her other moves focus on mobility as well.
- Dual Boss: Carmilla's female partner walks around the boss arena, trying to drain your hearts while she rides a giant skull back and forth.
- Easter Egg: Stage 5 has a hidden mirror in a room only Maria can reach. It does nothing.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing as Maria turns everything a lot cutesier and far less serious (a less serious ending, a Game Over screen made out of fridge magnets, Maria turning grey and fading on death instead of flying off in a bloodsplosion, etc). Interestingly, Dracula's Castle is destroyed in her ending, unlike Richter's, where the destruction of Dracula's Castle is standard in Castlevania endings, although the destruction cuts off the Sequel Hook for Symphony of the Night.
- Every 10000 Points: A 1-Up is awarded at every 20000 points.
- Fake Special Attack: Go ahead, try to Item Crash the Key.
- Fake Ultimate Mook: The giant golems in the first stage. They tower above your character and look menacing enough, but they're actually quite easy to kill and slow to attack.
- Fingerless Gloves: Richter wears one, just to handle his whip.
- Flawless Victory: If you defeat a boss with a full life bar, you receive an extra life. You can get hit during the level, so long as you find some food to refill your lifebar before the stage is over.
- Flechette Storm: The Knife Item Crash sends a stream of thrown knives forward.
- The Four Gods: Maria's Item Crash summons one of them, depending on the current subweapon.
- Ghost Ship: Stage 5 is an old ship filled with skeletons, ghosts, and other spookiness.
- Glass Cannon: Maria is amazingly powerful almost to the point of being overpowered with her double jump and animal buddies, but just a couple of hits and she dies.
- Gratuitous German: The prologue in the original game is spoken entirely in German, with subtitles.
- Harping on About Harpies: Two harpies appear in the clock tower level. They carry daggers which they throw at the player character, and must be defeated with a carefully placed attack afterwards.
- Hotblooded: Richter's attempts to Item Crash keys should count.
- Human Sacrifice: In the introduction to the game, a group of cultists, led by Shaft, sacrifice a woman to revive Dracula by stabbing her with a sword.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Richter can heal himself with hidden pot roasts, which are replaced for various sweets when playing Maria.
- Improbable Weapon User: The aforementioned keys. Which are among the most powerful weapons in the game.
- Indy Escape: Stage 2 presents Richter with the unstoppable Behemoth, an enormous bull-like creature which will break through the outer wall and chase him relentlessly until he reaches a door to a different section.
- Invulnerable Attack: Most Item Crashes give at least some invulnerability during their animations.
- Japanese Sibling Terminology: Maria calls Annette "onee-chan" (big sis) and Richter "oni-chan" (big bro), despite not being directly related to either one. But since the SNES version turned Annette and Maria into actual siblings, it's easy to think otherwise.
- Joke Item: The Key is the strongest subweapon in the game, but it is a situational weapon because of its very short range.
- Jump Physics:
- Your jumps aren't as stiff as the NES trilogy, but are a bit less controllable than they are in Super Castlevania IV. Richter also jumps and moves a bit more slowly in the SNES version, despite still having the same maneuverability otherwise.
- Maria has a Double Jump, while Richter has a backflip (it's not invincible, though, and can fall into a pit if used carelessly).
- Kaizo Trap: Bosses will perform one final attack upon defeat. Subverted in that it can't defeat you, but it could ruin your vitality score and deny you the extra life you'd normally get for finishing the level with full health.
- Unlike the others, Shaft's attack (Stage 6) COULD kill you in both the original and the remake.
- Subverted with Carmilla; she coughs up a bunch of hearts instead, boosting your score. Her skull form has, one, though as it shatters into pieces.
- Lethal Joke Character: Maria has a very small hitbox, a Double Jump (one of the first, if not the first, characters with this), can abuse her slides and rolling, regenerates health by eating cakes, and has different subweapons than Richter, making her a Hyper Competent Sidekick. She does take more damage when hit, but between her Double Jump, Invulnerable Attack (that isn't even an Item Crash), and small hitbox, she can dodge many attacks more easily than Richter.
- Some fans will mock you if you clear the game with Maria.
- Oh, Maria also has an insanely high-damage Invulnerable Attack Spell, although you need to know the input combination first.
- This is an entirely different attack from the Item Crashes, which both characters have access to (though the Item Crash is different, depending on the subweapon — and Maria's subweapons are quite different from Richter's), and which are also generally Invulnerable Attack moves which do high damage.
- Lethal Joke Item: The Key's item crash costs no hearts to use, but it's still an Invulnerable Attack.
- Little Miss Badass: Maria, showing just how deadly a flock of pet birds can be.
- A Load of Bull: A halberd-wielding Minotaur is the boss of the Stage 3's main path.
- Magic Pants:
- Totally averted with the Werewolf, who is completely naked after transforming back to human form upon defeat (you can see the peeeeenis). These same sprites would go on to be reused in several other Castlevania games.
- Dracula X Chronicles played this straight by adding a little black loincloth in both the 2D and 3D versions. The Symphony of the Night version is still without underwear.
- It also appears in the western Virtual Console versions released in North America and Europe.
- Magic Skirt: Averted — Maria is clearly holding her skirt down with her hands when she jumps (though the skirt is ankle-length anyway).
- Mana Burn: During the Carmilla Boss Fight, her assistant Laura will grab you and drain your Hearts. For Richter, this attack looks like a Kiss of Death, but on the shorter Maria, it looks more like Marshmallow Hell.
- Martial Arts Headband: Richter wears one along with an asian looking clothes.
- Motionless Chin: Appears in the animated cutscenes; most prominent in Richter's ending.
- Multiple Endings: How the story ends depends on whether you save any or all of the kidnapped girls from the evil clutches of Dracula.
- Necromancer: Shaft, whose boss fights have him resurrecting past end stage enemies.
- Nintendo Hard: Unlike Super Castlevania IV, Richter lacks the multi-directional whipping, and many of the enemies are a lot faster and more aggressive than you'd expect. Even the typical bone skeleton throws bones almost all the time.
- No Fair Cheating: We dare you to Item Crash Death. We dare you.
- Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Some pits provide an access point for an alternate route instead of a frustrating death. Question is, which ones?
- Nostalgia Level
- Stage 1 is the Town of Veros from Simon's Quest, also named Aljiba, combined with a portion of Stage 1 from Dracula's Curse.
- Stage 2, as usual, is the Castle Entrance Corridor from the original NES game.
- Stage 4 is mostly taken from Stage 5 of the original game, though fortunately without the horrifying Axe Armour/Medusa Heads corridor, and without Death at the end.
- Stage 6 is a Boss Rush against four of the bosses from the original NES game. In the PC Engine version, the stage's background music is a remixed version of the NES game's boss theme titled "Poison Mind."
- Stage 7 is a redesigned version of the first game's Clock Tower final stage, updated to feature more of the design aspects that had later become associated with Clock Tower levels (moving gears, Medusa heads). Except for the final room, which is instead a shout-out to the final room in the Dracula Clock Tower in Dracula's Curse.
- Off with His Head!: Upon defeat, Death's Sinister Scythe flies into the air and drops blade-first on him, providing a humiliating decapitation.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Featured in "Kyrie Eleison", the starting menu theme.
- One-Winged Angel: The second phase of the final battle has Dracula turning into a huge demon which jumps around and shoots fireballs out of its mouth.
- Phantom Zone Picture: If Richter or Maria touch the Captain's Portrait mini-boss, they are trapped in a picture within it and the Captain will tear them into shreds.
- Pink Means Feminine: Maria's dress, contrasting Richter's blue outfit.
- Plucky Girl: Maria Renard, doubling as a Little Miss Badass in Distress. Right after being freed, you can control her all the way from where she's held captive to beat up Dracula all by herself and her pets (which is a case for most people anyway, since she's stronger and faster than Ricther).
- Power Makes Your Voice Deep: Dracula's voice deepens mid-word as he transforms into a massive bat-creature for the second part of the final battle. Conversely, when that form is defeated, he roars in pain, and his voice spontaneously rises back to normal as his transformation is forced to revert.
- Power-Up Letdown: To compensate for her many advantages, Maria has several absolutely worthless secondary weapons. She has the music book, which is like the throwing knife but lacks even a useful Item Crash, and a weapon that sends two birds diagonally upwards, which is totally useless except in certain rare circumstances (although at least it has a useful Item Crash).
- Rain of Blood: Richter's death animation is this, which has him flying into the air and dissolving in a mist of blood.
- Random Drop: There's a chance of enemies dropping moneybags, hearts, and even subweapons.
- Scenery Gorn: The backdrop of Stage 1 is Richter's hometown in flames.
- Secret Level: Stage 5', which is only accessed after beating the game at least once (in the PC-Engine CD version), or by defeating Death in Stage 5 (in The Dracula X Chronicles).
- Shoryuken: The Minotaur boss' Last Ditch Move is him trying to pull this off on you as he burns to the bone and turns to ash.
- Shout-Out: The Dogether boss is named in reference to Bastard's Suzuki Dogezaemon, and naturally the original Beholder.
- Skippable Boss:
- Taking the Merman-infested shortcut with the boatman in Stage 3' takes you straight to Stage 4', letting you skip its bosses.
- The fight against Death can be skipped by going to Stage 5' in the subsequent playthroughs.
- Slide Attack: An ability of the Werewolf boss.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: It starts at the serious end with Richter, but when you play as Maria it shifts to the silly side.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Stage 5' is a Brutal Bonus Level with some of the worst jumps, frustrating bats, medusa heads, all the most devious combinations of enemies and jumps, as well as loads of bottomless pits. The music? A really peppy pop style track that perfectly embodies the early 90s.
- Spikes of Doom: Frequent obstacle in Stage 4, which is a torture dungeon.
- Spin to Deflect Stuff: The purple Spear Guard enemies can deflect some subweapons by spinning their spears.
- Standard Status Effects: Being cursed slows down the player character's movements.
- Stealth Pun: Dracula X was literally the tenth Dracula game released by Konaminote . Before this, there were the three NES games (3), Vampire Killer for the MSX2 (4), the arcade game Haunted Castle (5), the two Game Boy games (7), Super Castlevania IV for the SNES (8), and the X68000 version of the original Dracula (9).
- Take It to the Bridge: Stage 3' is an old stone bridge built over a river.
- Title Drop: While the furigana in the game's subtitle reads Chi no Rondo for "Rondo of Blood," the literal reading is Chi no Rinne, meaning "Metempsychosis of Blood." The latter is the title of the game's final stage (although the English version of the PSP port simply renders it "Bloodlines" to tie in with Symphony of the Night doing the samenote , dropping a different title entirely).
- Tragic Monster: If you haven't rescued all the girls, Richter is forced to fight his girlfriend Annette at the end of the Clock Tower.
- Unique Enemy: The man-eating plant/stone rose only appears once in a corridor in the village. Going in that direction is entirely pointless, as it's a dead end. It's much more common in other games, though.
- Unstable Equilibrium: Scoring a perfect (at full health) boss fight awards the player a 1up. Something suited towards a more bumbling gamer.
- V Sign: An animated cutscene has Richter giving a peace sign while telling his name and occupation to Iris after rescuing her.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: The Werewolf. Stage 2 is already a Difficulty Spike in and of itself, but the Werewolf is much faster than your character, unpredictable, and requires you to think fast or die.
- Wrecked Weapon: Victory Armor's BFS splits in half upon defeat.
- The X of Y: The subtitle.