Written: October 15th-18th, 2016
Alternate Titles: Akumajō Dracula XX [|O|] / Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss [|O|]
Year: 1995 | Developed and Published by: Konami
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit.
Image from WikipediaOn October 1993 Konami released the then PC Engine Super CD-ROM² System exclusive Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo in Japan to commemorate their tenth installment in their Akumajō Dracula series (Castlevania in the West) which was only seven years old at the time (2016 marks its 30th). It was highly regarded by many as one of the best (if not the best) games in the growing vampire-slaying series, and for very good reason, but unfortunately it only stayed in Japan and was not officially made available in the West both until the arrival of its 2.5D PlayStation Portable remake Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (with the original version and its sequel Castlevania: Symphony of the Night also included as unlockables) in 2007 and 2008 for America and Europe respectively and in 2010 for both respective Nintendo Wii Virtual Console downloadable services (where you could play it on your TV). =)
|"Get out of the way!"|
|"If you kill me you will never play the chameleon/bat|
throwback to the 3D Nintendo 64 platforming era
that is Yooka-Laylee!!"
In the year 1792 the residents of Transylvania have long been accustomed to the peace that followed after Simon Belmont defeated Count Dracula a century prior (whoever translated the intro didn't seem to know what the word "several" meant 'cause it implies that Simon existed either in the 14th or 15th century when that's far off). History begins to repeat itself, however, as a devil-worshiping cult has revived the Prince of Darkness, who wishes to unleash chaos once more to the people of Transylvania as he unleashes his legion of monsters against them; Dracula also exacts his vengeance on the Belmont bloodline by kidnapping nineteen-year old Richter Belmont's seventeen-year old girlfriend Annet (Annette in Akumajō Dracula X) as well as her twelve-year old sister Maria Renard. Burdened by his destiny with the resolve to send Count Dracula to eternal damnation once and for all, Richter will stop at nothing to save his betrothed as well as end Dracula's reign of terror.
|Tossing cross boomerangs towards piranha men|
atop a deteriorating bridge
|Time is not on the wolfman's side|
|Deep in the heart of Atlantis (or rather its equivalent)|
|Oh, Medusa Head, you are not the worst enemy|
in this game, for there is another that is worse
|I like the Baroque nature of this setting|
|Mud monsters, oh no!|
|"Eye see you!"|
|♫ Where there's a whip, there's a way! ♪|
Maria Renard sprite on the right from the Castlevania Crypt websiteIn both games Maria Renard was the first kidnapped person you saved as Richter, and what was great in Akumajō Dracula X was how she would become a playable character who surprised everyone that played it on account of both her ability to be adorably endearing and kick ass despite her tender age and otherwise serious environment. =) In today's game, however, she was reduced to being just a damsel in distress which is disappointing; if you've played both games you'll notice that Maria's sprites and animation were used to a small degree but under a slightly modified design.
Camilla image from the Video Game Museum website, flipped by meThe same is also the case for when Richter saves his beloved Annet, only in this case she was a heavily modified redesign of the lesbian vampire Camilla from Akumajō Dracula X; the sprites aren't many but it is her, from the moment she gets up from kneeling down to beckoning her betrothed--the last of which was actually the heavily modified version of Camilla siphoning hearts and health away from Richter when next to him... awwwwwkwaaaaaard! O_O
|Huh, Magolor is a lot more humanoid than I|
remember him to be
That's a joke, by the way
|Imposing bat altar around you|
|Hey, this game stole the skull and eye boss from|
Life Force, Konami should sue! >=| ......waaait......
|Enter the annoying spearmen, made worse here|
|Gearing up for some clock tower action|
|If you think this column jumping bit is precarious|
wait 'til you fight Count Dracula in the end
|Look, I found a safe spot! =D|
Not guaranteed to be 100% foolproof
|"To hell with you, spearman, the spear enemies from|
the Kirby series were less frustrating than you!"
Incidentally, this game also has a clock tower stage equivalentFor my money, however, I prefer Quintet's maligned action/platformer ActRaiser 2 a lot more and personally consider it an enjoyably superior game, and honestly its slow-paced structure and gameplay suits it perfectly. It too had been met with a disappointing reaction from fans and nonfans alike regardless of hype, it too was difficult, and it too has developed a following over time. For me it gets better and better the more I play it, and I persevere through it any time I revisit it no matter how difficult it got (regardless of the difficulty setting); and I consider its stage layouts and final boss to be reasonable and the ending much more satisfying. =)
|Axe and receive|
Okay, that one was forced
My Personal Score: 7.0/10
<( ^o^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^ )>
P.S. I absolutely love how when Richter liberates Maria and Annet he just stays for a few seconds and then leaves, as if he expects them to escape on their own. "Well, I just rescued you; now if you excuse I'll go back to taking care of vampire slaying business so I'll just let you try to get out of your holding cell to safety by yourself... somehow" XD Also, how did Annet breathe underwater for so long? o~O
P.S. 2 On the subject Richter's betrothed, incidentally in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles if you fail to save her you have to fight her as a monster like today's game (albeit a different one) which did not occur in the original PC Engine game; and in both today's game and the 2.5D remake of Akumajō Dracula X she's blond and wears a green dress, unlike the 1993 game where she had purple hair and wore a yellow top with a green gown.
P.S. 3 Six down, three more to go; I'm two-thirds of the way through with my 2016 Video Game Reviews Bucket List.
P.S. 4 Man, I hope this review did not cause people to play the drinking game anytime I said "this game" or "today's game" because Akumajō Dracula X and Castlevania: Dracula X are not one and the same despite sharing the words "Dracula X" in the title and I wanted to avoid causing misconstrusions. <=(
Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Hope you have a great Halloween, take care! =)
Oh, GOD, Konami! XoX How the hell did this get past Nintendo of America's censors???