Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Posts Tagged ‘dracula x

Podcast: Devil’s Castle Dracula

leave a comment »


This week Fred is joined by Allen (@tearsofafeather) to discuss the Castlevania franchise.  As a fan of both this show and Castlevania, Allen assisted in talking about the vast adventures of the first six titles for the Belmont clan (Castlevania I-IV along with Rondo of Blood and Bloodlines).  Join us in one of the most technologically advanced and entertaining horror action platformers ever released.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe: RSS iTunes Google Podbean

Review: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1)

leave a comment »

Console: Sony Playstation (also released on Sega Saturn in Japan only)
Released: 1997
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Japan? Yes (as Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasokyoku  Translation: Devil’s Castle Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight)
Instruction Manual: Not necessary – Link
Difficulty: Moderate
Played it as a child? No
Value: $22.87 (used) $64.45 (new) ( – NOTE: There are two versions: original and greatest hits. Original is much more rare and expensive, so adjust your buying habits appropriately.
Price: $15-25 (used GH) $35-$60 (used original) $90-$130 (new GH) $400 (new original) on eBay
Digital Release? Yes – released as PSOne title on PS3/PSP and on XBLA – $10.00 for all versions. Also available with Rondo of Blood in the Dracula X Collection for PSP – $15 digital, varies on UMD.

***We also did a podcast on this and other Castlevania titles like it here.***

While Rondo of Blood may be the hidden gem of the Castlevania series, Symphony of the Night is anything but.  There wasn’t a Playstation gamer around that didn’t see this release back in 1997, bringing a much-needed change to the traditional formula.  Every Castlevania game that released on consoles seemed to push the hardware to do things it was never intended to do and usually had amazing results, so it was interesting that in a world consumed by 3D polygonal graphics Symphony of the Night was a 2D side scroller.  In Japan, the series has a much easier way to identify the games that go together – main campaign titles often wore Akumajo in the title and in this case Dracula X – but in America we had not received (and most of us had not played) Rondo of Blood.  The game starts out with you climbing the stairs to Dracula’s chamber at the end of Rondo and you re-create the final fight with Dracula (of which you cannot die).  Then a long bit of lore scrolls the screen and next thing you know you’re playing as Alucard, Dracula’s son, and you’re rushing to Castlevania to rescue Richter from its curse.  It was like being dropped into the middle of an epic you had not previously learned the story of.  Frankly, it didn’t matter, and even today playing Rondo of Blood only assists in giving you background detail because like all other Castlevania games it’s the gameplay and level design that keeps you hooked.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

August 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Halloween Rarities

leave a comment »

I’m really into lucrative titles, especially when they are about Halloween or horror.  For the most part these games are classic titles from the past that you have either never played or never had a chance to play.  On the plus side, thanks to rom¹ hacks and translations, you can easily find any of these games to play on an emulator.  While I don’t condone piracy, nothing in this list was released in the US save for one title so for a single play to see what you’re missing I feel there’s no harm, especially since you have no other option.  I cannot link any of these roms directly, but feel free to search for “(title of game) rom” on Google and you shouldn’t have any problems.  Without further ado, here’s the list of great Halloween games you’ve probably never played.

Sweet Home (Suīto Hōmu) – Famicom – 1989

Considered by some to be the original version of Resident Evil, Sweet Home is actually a licensed game based on a movie of the same name.  It was developed by Capcom and produced by RE producer Shinji Mikami, who later admitted that Resident Evil began as a remake of Sweet Home.  For many modern gamers, RE is a tough sell with its fixed camera angles, blurry graphics and tank² controls.  If this describes you, then Sweet Home may be the outdated choice for you.  Although developed on the Famicom there is a surprising number of similarities with RE on the Playstation.

Even in 8-bit, the mansion holds that eerie feel

When you change rooms the all-too-familiar door opening animation will escort you through.  The inventory system and puzzles will ring extremely familiar for those that explored the mansion as Chris or Jill.  In fact, the big spooky mansion is probably the most distinguishing similarity, although instead of a biological outbreak it’s merely haunted by the ghost of Lady Mamiya.  And even though it’s technically a survival horror title, the game plays much more like a classic Japanese role playing game (JRPG) with random Final Fantasy-like battles.  If you’ve always wanted to explore a haunted house JRPG style, check this one out, especially considering the decent english translation making the rounds.

Read the rest of this entry »