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.note Like all imports, however, this one does not have any English translation other then what was in the game to begin with.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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plucky Girl: Maria Renard, doubling as a Little MissBadass 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.
Stealth Pun: Dracula X was literally the tenth Dracula game released by Konaminote That said, the "X" itself isn't "ten"; it's pronounced as the letter X. 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).
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.