Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

In the days of old, the people thrived on peace and prosperity. Indeed, fears of unrest were not among their thoughts...

Ever-present, however, is the underside of tranquility, evil. An evil which spurns prosperity and disdains peace. Gather they did, those who wished to summon the powers of darkness and cleanse the decadence of the world. And, with smiling countenance, they anxiously awaited the coming of their era.

A hundred years had past, and he was resurrected. Able to become bat, wolf, or mist at will, he lived in the night. He drank the blood of young maidens and lived an eternal life. The lord of Demon Castle, the God of evil, Count Dracula was reborn.

Released on October 29th, 1993 for the Japanese PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16), Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is one of the last of the original 2D side scrolling games of the franchise. It is set in the year 1792, as Dracula has been revived by the dark priest Shaft. After building up his demonic forces, he sets out to destroy the village inhabited by Richter Belmont. Dracula's minions kidnap Richter's girlfriend Annette Renard, along with her younger sister Maria, and two local villagers, Tera and Iris. Wielding the legendary whip of his ancestors, the Vampire Killer, Richter heads off toward Castlevania on a mission to rescue all those that Dracula has kidnapped, and to destroy the Count before he can cause any further damage to the innocent.

There are a total of 12 stages in Rondo of Blood, and you have to go through at least 8 of them. Just like in Dracula's Curse, you have your choice of which path to take to reach the Count. When you rescue Maria Renard, you have the option to play as her, and you can alternate between she and Richter when needed. Richter and Maria each have their own separate Sub-Weapons, with the exception of the Stopwatch, which can be used by both. The castle design of Rondo of Blood is one of the greatest of all the original 2D side scrolling Castlevania games, and the soundtrack is magnificent.

Rondo of Blood was to be released in North America for the Super Nintendo, however since the SNES did not have the memory capability of the TurboGrafx-16, an entirely different game was made called Castlevania: Dracula X. The SNES version had a different storyline which did not include important characters from Rondo of Blood like Shaft, and the castle layout was changed. Rondo of Blood finally made it to the U.S. in 2007 when Konami released Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP, which included both the original and a remake of Rondo, as well as it's sequel, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is a challenging adventure with a great storyline, and was well worth the 14 year wait it took to bring the game to the U.S. on the PSP. Rondo of Blood was also released for the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console on March 15th, 2010 in it's original Japanese version.