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:
Bishonen Line: In Dracula X Chronicles, when you defeat both of Dracula's forms, he reverts back into his human shape, only to go into a third form, unique to Dracula X Chronicles, which is basically just his human form, with six bloodstained wings. The ensuing fight is much harder than either of his other forms.
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'.
In Stage 5, there's the Captain's Portrait, which takes a couple of hits to kill. If the portrait catches you (and your subweapon doesn't kill it fast enough), it will kill you in one hit.
Boss Rush: Stage 6, where Shaft resurrects the first four bosses from the NES Castlevania.
Another unlockable Boss Rush mode, with 4 different sets of bosses, was added in the PSP Video Game Remake.
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.
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.)
Fake Difficulty: The final battle in the SNES version comes off as this, as you fight Dracula on a series of pillars under the constant threat of being knocked into the pits!
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. Also, see Funny Moments in the YMMV tab and Cherry Tapping above.
Jump Physics: Your jumps aren't as stiff as the NES trilogy, but are a bit less controllable as they are 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 backflip (it's not invincible though, and can fall into a pit if used carelessly).
Kaizo Trap: Defeated bosses would perform one final attack upon defeat. It could not 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.
Karma Houdini: Dracula becomes this in the Dracula X Chronicles version if you fail to rescue all of the girls. Right after defeating his second form, the Prince of Darkness gets away with help from Shaft. Maria and Richter even express disappointment that Dracula got away.
Lethal Joke Character: Maria has a very small hit box, 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 to 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.
Magic Pants: Totally averted with the Werewolf, who is completely naked after transforming back (I 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 North American Virtual Console version.
Magic Skirt: Averted - Maria is clearly holding her skirt down with her hands when she jumps (though the skirt is ankle-length anyway).
In Dracula X Chronicles she's wearing pants, so this trope doesn't even come up.
Nerf: In Dracula X Chronicles, subweapons and item crashes do much less damage. Dracula's first and second forms were also made slightly easier (he stays vulnerable for longer in his first form, and jumps are easier to dodge in the second), possibly to make way for his third form.
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.
Vampire's Kiss is even harder due to Richter's slower speed (though no less agile) and a lot more pits.
No Flow in CGI: Probably why Maria wears pants instead of a dress and has her hair tied back in Dracula X Chronicles.
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 Castlevania III.
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.
Rain of Blood: Richter's death animation is this. Also, in the Dracula X Chronicles, one of True Dracula's attacks is a blood storm.
Reformulated Game: The SNES version, Castlevania: Dracula X. Since the SNES version was made on a 16-Megabit (2-Megabyte) cartridge, while the PC Engine version was a CD-ROM game (540-Megabyte), a straight port was pretty much impossible, so the stages were replaced completely to fit into the smaller ROM size. The plot is pretty much the same, except that Maria and Annette were now sisters, the other two girls are missing, and Shaft is nowhere to be seen. Maria is no longer a playable character; when she is rescued, she simply wishes Richter luck.
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).
Stealth Pun: Dracula X was literally the tenth Dracula game released by Konami. 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).
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 One of the localisation team for Symphony of the Night's many screw-ups, dropping a different title entirely).
Unique Enemy: The man-eating plant/stone rose only appears once in a corridor in the village. Going in that direction is entirely pointless though, as it's a dead end. It's much more common in other games though.
Updated Re-release: Dracula X Chronicles, which doubles as a Compilation Re-release, because it also includes the original version of the game, a slightly improved version of Symphony of the Night, and even the joke mini-game Akumajo Dracula Peke.
Virgin Sacrifice: The introduction to the game, where a group of cultists, led by Shaft, sacrifices a woman to revive Dracula.