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Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles review

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Oct 26, 2007

After years of delivering the goth-gaming goods to Nintendo's GBA and DS, Konami is finally putting the sharpened stake in the hands of PSP players with Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. The drac-slaying series makes its Sony portable debut with a re-mastered version of 1993's previously Japan-only Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.

For faithful fans, this alone is enough to hammer the must-buy nail into the coffin. But add to this un-lockable versions of the original pixel-perfect Rondo and the PS1 favorite, Symphony of the Night, and you've got a deal rivaling The Orange Box's recent goodwill. Sadly, only hardcore vampire hunters will truly appreciate this title due to its punishing difficulty - we're talking NES Ghosts 'n Goblins difficult, here.



Don't misunderstand, we love a good challenge; just ask our blistered thumbs after an all-night Ninja Gaiden marathon. What we don't appreciate is a challenge falsely padded with unforgiving save and checkpoint systems. Can't complete a level in four lives? Plan on replaying the entire stage until you can. Most gamers, after traversing the same creepy castle multiple times only to be sent packing by a brutal boss battle, will have about as much fun as a vampire that's had his mouthwash secretly swapped with holy water. If that wasn't painful enough, the title's best bonus - Symphony - can only be played after completing Rondo in a very specific way.

With that said, if you're a serious Castlevania fan, or just yearn for the days of trial-and-error gaming, then there's lots to love here. The gameplay is classic Castlevania; as a whip-wielding Belmont you'll take on the expected macabre menaces - Mermen, Fleamen, bone-tossing skeletons, those annoying-as-hell floating Medusa heads and, of course, amazing bosses. When you're not whipping the bejesus out of baddies - and heart-revealing candles - you'll equip the sub-weapon staples: holy water, bibles, daggers, axes and crosses.

Like a fang-pierced jugular, the revamped 2D/3D hybrid visuals explode with vividness, and the PSP's rectangular display seems tailor-made for the side-scrolling series. Combine this with those catchy Castlevania tunes, a few replay-extending branching pathways, a second playable character and slick, new cutscenes, and you've got a casket full of goodies. Again, if you're a Castlevania completist, or just a fan of old school gaming, then pick up this bloodsucker. Otherwise, we suggest driving your stake through the better, more forgiving DS entries - Portrait of Ruin and Dawn of Sorrow.

More Info

Release date: Oct 23 2007 - PSP (US)
Available Platforms: PSP
Genre: Action
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Konami
Franchise: Castlevania
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood and Gore, Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes

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4 comments

  • Heyexclamationpoint - September 22, 2009 4:07 p.m.

    The difficulty is pretty unforgiving but unlocking Symphony Of The Night isn't that hard... it took me about 20 minutes tops. That's more than enough reason to pick this up.
  • JR24 - June 20, 2009 2:28 a.m.

    I just bought this game just today and try ed it out, but I'm not really sure that I should keep it or return it for another game.
  • zer0_cool16 - August 17, 2009 1:57 a.m.

    I can't believe the difficulty of this game! It's so ridiculous! I have already activated the invincibility cheat and yet it's still TOO hard to beat. I like the graphics and music and i wish there'd be a SOTN remake that looks like this. But in the meantime i'll stick with my DS castlevanias. Now i'm really thankful I've got both PSP and DS.
  • JR24 - June 24, 2009 1:58 a.m.

    No I'm going to return it for sure!! It's frecking stupid. wend ever did you hear a person walking the whole time wend theirs a zombie, skeleton, Giant bull, or a dragon going at you. I'm getting my refund!!!!

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