Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is a 2.5D remake of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood for the PlayStation Portable. The game is known in Japan as Akumajō Dracula X Chronicle (悪魔城ドラキュラ Xクロニクル?). It was initially unveiled by 1UP on February 1, 2007 with footage being shown during the 1UP Show, and was released on October 23, 2007 in North America, November 8 in Japan, and early 2008 elsewhere.
The game also includes the original PC Engine Super CD-ROM² version of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood as well as a port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and even Akumajyo Dracula Peke. Each of these additional games cannot be accessed right from the beginning and have to be unlocked first by meeting certain requirements in the main game before they can actually be played. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles represents the first time that Castlevania: Rondo of Blood has been officially released outside of Japan.
- In the halcyon days of yore, overripe with peace and prosperity, not a soul believed that tomorrow could bring anything but more of the tranquil plenty about them...
But peace and prosperity give always give rise to the wicked: those who deny mankind comfort, and grow bored of peace.
A dark congregation of such villains began to gather, plotting to revive an unholy power to destroy the decadent world and begin anew.
Their ambitions for the new world to be born grew steadily, mirrored in the leering grins etched upon their faces.
A century later, that vile creature was reborn unto the world.
Taking the form of a bat, wolf, or mist at will, he stalked the land by night, draining young maidens of their blood to feed his own immortality.
Thus the malefic Count Dracula, lord of Castlevania, came to live again.
— Official manual description for Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
|Protagonists & Supporting Cast|
(voiced by Kiyoyuki Yanada/David Vincent)
Age : 19
(voiced by Sawa Ishige/Michelle Ruff)
Age : 12
A girl with blood ties to the Belmont clan. After being freed from Shaft, she joins Richter as ally. Perhaps due to her youth, she is candid and unaffected, and hates to lose. (Playable)
(voiced by Sayaka Ohara/Karen Strassman)
Age : 17
Richter's girlfriend. Held hostage somewhere in Dracula's Castle. Strong-willed and also dislikes the unfair. Annette has a very pleasant personality and is nice to all.
(voiced by Eri Sendai/Karen Strassman)
Age : 19
A nun at the village church, also held hostage in Dracula's Castle. She is warm hearted, lively, and with a passionate soul.
(voiced by Eri Mizuhara/Karen Strassman)
Age : 17
Daughter of a doctor and held captive in Dracula's Castle. A bright and caring person, she looks out for others.
(voiced by Dai Matsumoto/Tony Oliver)
Age : ???
A dark priest who resurrected Dracula. He also kidnapped a few villagers, including Maria. Due to the powers of the latter, he hopes to offer her to his master as a gift.
(voiced by Norio Wakamoto/Patrick Seitz)
Age : ??? (c. 728)
Lord and master of Castlevania, and the root of all evil. Though unparalleled in his cruelty, he maintains a regal air of elegance and grandeur.
- Main article: Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles/Script
Differences from the original version
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is structurally similar to the original Rondo of Blood, but has been rebuilt to portray a new 3D-based aesthetic. The original anime art direction has been replaced and character designs have been handled by long-time series' artist Ayami Kojima. The story and cutscenes are completely redone with new voice acting and with several alterations. Notably, the conversation between Dracula and Richter now exactly matches the one from the prologue of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and takes place before the battle commences, instead of after it, as was originally the case. Furthermore, Maria's dialogue has been rewritten to be less blatantly humorous in order to match the more serious tone of the remake. The stage design shuffled a bit, certain candles drop different items and backgrounds have been completely altered in some instances; for example, in the room before the Minotaurs boss in Stage 3'.
The soundtrack has been remixed with contributions from Michiru Yamane and others. Certain tunes from the original game, like "Dark Desires" and "The Nest", have been replaced by "Tues Deus Meus" (an arranged version of Dark Desires) and "Moon Fight" from Castlevania Chronicles. A Boss Rush Mode and Sound Test option have been added to the menu. Finally, Stage 5' has been altered and a unique boss, the Hydra, is fought at the end.
The remake also adds in some plot elements, such as Shaft abducting Annette under Dracula's orders to be turned into a vampire. This plot addition, as well as the resulting boss fight with Annette if the player fails to rescue her in time, is similar to that in Castlevania: Dracula X, where if the player fails to rescue Annette, she is turned into a vampire (Carmilla in Dracula X and Lesser Vampire in The Dracula X Chronicles). In addition, unlike in Rondo of Blood, the overall script is altered between Richter Belmont's scenario and Maria Renard's scenario, with it being most notable in the good ending regarding Dracula's dialogue, where he instead expresses disbelief that he was beaten by a little girl, comments that it is power that always wins, with good and evil not existing, and also expressing some fascination that Maria still retained innocence despite the decayed world without even mentioning the nature of his revivals or alluding to Maria's Belmont heritage.
As the remake is not an exact sprite-by-sprite port from the original, some gameplay mechanics have been slightly altered, decreasing the overall difficulty of the game. However, in some instances the difficulty has been increased considerably (the battle against Dracula being a prime example) and some levels have been expanded with new areas to explore, some of which include new puzzles. Other new additions include certain obstacles that can only be bypassed after obtaining specific items. Furthermore, in the final battle with Dracula, he now displays a totally new –and much more difficult– form, with a wide repertoire of attacks.
Koji Igarashi stated one of the motivations to release Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles was because of the popularity of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, developed as the follow-up to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. Although English fans already had access to Symphony of the Night, they never had a chance to experience the prequel. Furthermore, although Symphony of the Night was usually regarded as the great turning point of the franchise, Igarashi considered Rondo of Blood to be this instead. Wanting the fans to experience the same feeling he felt when playing the game for the first time was something that also contributed to his decision for the remake.
Regarding the choice for the PlayStation Portable, he explained he wanted to completely redo the game in 3D, in order to appeal to the new generation of gamers and Castlevania fans. Along with developing the game in 3D came a lot of technical issues. A lot of experimenting was done, but the team was not satisfied with the results. With the arrival of the PlayStation Portable it was decided to to be the platform of choice because of the potential the system had.
Instead of doing a completely faithful conversion of the game, it was decided to tweak the game in certain areas. One of the stages, 5', was originally designed by Shingo "Seabass" Takatsuka. Because of the team's dislike for the stage's design, which took elements from previous stages and combined them into one level, it was decided to do a complete revamp.
Igarashi requested a younger version of Richter's Symphony of the Night design. Because it was difficult to animate Maria's skirt in 3D, she was given pantaloons in her redesign. Afterwards, it was decided to lengthen Maria's hair because otherwise her silhouette appeared too thin. Since long hair would cause the difficulties as a skirt, it was decided Maria should have a ponytail as well.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night port
- Main article: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night/DXC
The game includes an entire port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which can be unlocked by finding an item in the main game. The re-localized North American version includes items that were removed from the US PlayStation version and includes new dialogue that expands over the original Japanese script's storyline, as well as new voiceovers using the same voice actors who appeared in the main game.
Five promotional events were held in Japan for Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles on 10/27, 10/28, 11/3 and 11/8. During the first three events a trial version of the game could be played. The last two events were held in Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall and the Akihabara Game & Hobby Museum in Tokyo. Series' producer Koji Igarashi and Ayami Kojima were present to talk about the development of the game. A special gift was also given to all the attendants. Additionally, if the game was either pre-ordered by Messe Sanoh, Softmap, or Media Land, three unique phonecards could be obtained.
Critical reaction to the remake, The Dracula X Chronicles, was generally favorable. Metacritic listed The Dracula X Chronicles as 80/100 while Game Rankings gave it an 81.40%. Reviewers praised the updated visuals, enjoyable soundtrack, inclusion of Symphony of the Night and other bonus content. The high level of difficulty was noted by reviewers as potentially frustrating for players unused to it, and the voice acting drew criticism as "soap opera fare". Conversely, GameSpy called The Dracula X Chronicles "a solid remake", but considered it unnecessary and "worse than the original".
- A typo can be seen on one of the promotional posters for the game, where the Belmont family is misnamed as "Beaumont".
- The art style of the redesigned Rondo of Blood English title marks the return of the old art style used on the title of the very first Castlevania. The last game which used a similar art style for its title was Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.
- Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Original Soundtrack — Contains the original soundtrack for this game.
- Official Koma comic strips — Comic panels associated with this game.
- Konami Akumajō Dracula X Chronicle Official Guide — Japan official strategy guide.
- Castlevania: Rondo of Blood — The original game this is a remake of.
- Akumajyo Dracula Peke — A minigame included as bonus in the game.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night — A port of the PS episode including a new game mode and a new dubbing.
- Akumajō Dracula: The Medal — A medal slot machine of the game.
- Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX — Contains music from this game on Disc 14.
- Interview with Play Magazine in 2007. Scans: , , ,