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Post by David » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:19 am

I got a psp recently for work and having never played a castlevania game before, decided to try out dracula x chronicles

The castlevania games just never appealed to me before but this is utterly fantastic

It's hard as nails and frustrating as hell but I have never played a games that has had so much of the "one more go" factor when you die.

Currently about halfway through it and also have the ps1 symphony of the night to try afterwards

Are there any others worth a go or are these the best 2?

I understand this psp one is a remake of the pc engine game

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Re: Castlevania

Post by NickThorpe » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:45 pm

Those are broadly agreed to be the best ones, but there are definitely others that are worth your time if you're hankering for more! Castlevania III for the NES, Super Castlevania IV on the SNES and Castlevania: Bloodlines on the Mega Drive should all appeal if you like that one. Conveniently, these are all on Konami's recent Castlevania Anniversary Collection if you have access to current consoles. Additionally, Castlevania Chronicles for the PS1 is very good.

Symphony Of The Night is a bit different in style, with a big open Metroid-style map rather than linear levels. Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow on the GBA and all three of the DS games are like this, and worth your time.

There's a spiritual successor series out on current platforms called Bloodstained, which is Castlevania in all but name. Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon is a linear adventure with NES-style graphics, while Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night is another one in the Symphony Of The Night style.

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Re: Castlevania

Post by ALK » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:41 am

If you're playing the PS1 version of SOTN, bare in mind the load times are pretty harsh. I dunno if the digital version for Playstation Network speeds things up more but if not, might be worth considering either the XBox 360 version (Which is playable on XBONE too.) or the PS4 release that bundled it with Rondo, although that has a new translation which omits the classic line "WHAT IS A MAN?!?"

If you have a Wii U, you can nab the entire GBA trilogy for about £6-ish each along with the NES and SNES games.
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Re: Castlevania

Post by ShadowMan » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:17 am

The PSP version of Rondo actually lets you unlock the original version of Rondo, and a slightly tweaked version of SOTN if you find them in game. SOTN has that craptacular new translation, that is still pretty bad, just not iconicly bad like the original PSOne version. But hey, the Maria boss fight is back so yay? (I never cared for that boss fight myself).

The PSP remake of Rondo I'm in two minds over. I'm not a fan of the new music compared to the original, and certainly don't like what they did to the graphics. It feels browner and muddier than the original game, certain obstacles bleed into the background and are harder to see/avoid and certain areas (like the village on fire stage) just look like the charm was sucked right out of them compared to the original sprites and BGs. However, the PSP remake also has perhaps one of the best final bosses for Drac in the series. They included an exclusive third phase to the remake, and it rocks. Basically I mainly like this remake solely for the final boss. Otherwise just unlock and play the original PCE version, its the same game, I just think it looks and sounds better.

If you want more classic CV, the recent collection (as Nick mentioned) is the best place to go. It lets you switch between the superior Japanese versions of the games and the USA versions (Japanese ports are better balanced difficulty wise, especially CV3 which was sorta ruined). Castlevania 1 I think holds up pretty darn well, I still love playing it, sure a couple of the bosses can be a bit of a pain at first but its perfectly possible to no hit clear them with a little practice. Likewise CV3 is an excellent game that certainly holds up well, and has multiple routes (that can serve as different difficulties) that you can take, and depending on who you recruit can also affect the difficulty (Grant and Sypha rock, Alucard... not so much).
The CV collection also has CV4 and Bloodlines, again both excellent games that I very much enjoy replaying. The GB games are so-so... the first one is pretty damn awful in places, the second is at least a decent stab at a handheld CV game. CV2 though... not a fan. Its vague, easy and just not really all that fun. Nice music though.

Aside from the classic collection there was a sorta (but not really) remake of the first GB CV game on the Wii, but I'm fairly certain the Eshop there is closed so you can no longer download it :(

The GBA and DS CV games play like SOTN, absolutely worth playing all 6 of them. The last DS game being my favourite of the whole bunch because it actually sorta felt challenging, something that the series hadn't been for several years prior (I think Circle of the Moon had its moments though). They are all pretty big metroidvanias, big castles to explore, loads of bosses to fight etc. The two Sorrow games (Aria and Dawn) have some great plot points and are excellent (if easy) games and should certainly be played. Harmony of Dissonance (the second GBA game) is the weakest of the bunch for me, because the music is terrible and it feels like they aimed a little too hard at trying to copy SOTN in places. But even then, its still a darn good time.

Outside of handhelds, there's also the PS3/Xbox 360 re-imagining of the series which I actually really enjoyed. The first game has some very noticeable FPS issues, but I loved the combat, the music and heck even the story twist was pretty cool. Its a different take on the series for sure, but one I actually really liked. Still need to play the sequel though...

The PS2 3D games though... Lament of Innocence as basically a lesser DMC clone but it was playable at least. Curse of Darkness thoough... I just can't get on with. Big levels with that take forever to traverse. Didn't really get far with it back in the day.
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Re: Castlevania

Post by JamesC » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:37 am

I recently did a playthrough of some of the 8 and 16bit Castlevanias.
Castlevania 1 is excellent. Really good simple fun and a good difficulty curve. Definitely recommended.
Castlevania 2 - Simon's Quest is excellent as long as you use a walkthrough to get you through the incomprehensible puzzles. The actual gameplay is super fun.
Castlevania 3 is impressive but incredibly frustrating in my opinion. It plays similarly to the first games but with some cool extra stuff like unlockable characters and branching paths. The meat and potatoes of the game is some very slog-tastic and irritating platforming.
Having said that, I have friends who love it, so horses for courses (I can't deny it's a well made game, just not fun in my view).

Super Castlevania IV is one I've never been able to get into. It's very slow paced and dull in my view. I think it probably picks up after the first few levels but i always lose interest by that point.

Castlevania - The New Generation/Bloodlines is my favourite. A really fun, fast, arcadey adventure. It's probably the most similar to the original game.

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Re: Castlevania

Post by RetroCesar » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:53 pm

David wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:19 am
Are there any others worth a go or are these the best 2?
I think that Rondo is the best Classic-Vania and SotN is the best Metroid-Vania of the series. That being said, the rest of the series is absolutely worth looking into if you like these two games.

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Re: Castlevania

Post by samhain81 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:17 pm

JamesC wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:37 am

Super Castlevania IV is one I've never been able to get into. It's very slow paced and dull in my view. I think it probably picks up after the first few levels but i always lose interest by that point.

Now that's something I've never heard in my twenty years of gaming.

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Re: Castlevania

Post by ommadawnyawn » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:37 am

Bloodlines is roughly on par with Rondo of Blood in terms of gameplay.

SCIV is the best after those, though it plays a bit different in that you can whip in eight directions as well ass swing it around more freely, plus you can control your jumps in mid-air. This makes some parts, especially early on, much easier.

3, 2: Belmont's Revenge (GB) and Chronicles are also worth playing imo.

Simon's Quest is pretty bad even with a hack that changes the hints to make more sense and adds a basic in-game map. The first one for NES feels pretty basic compared to later games, plus it's heavily memorization focused, but it's quite good for 1986. Vampire kIller for MSX is a more exploration-oriented version of the first one but with overall worse level design and sub weapon system.

Adventure for GB is sluggish, kinda repetitive and has plenty of frustrating platforming. Legends for GB is just kind of forgettable.
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Re: Castlevania

Post by Sega2006 » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:56 am

I haven't played all myself, theres acctually a hell of a lot of them including a fun kidified version called Kid Dracula on the Gameboy, its bloody rare and expensive though so emulations your friend.
On terms of loading the 360 version doesn't seem all that different to my Saturn version but the Saturn was using a Ram expansion pack version of the multi regieon cart so this could have had an effect on it.
The Pre GBA portables are abit meh mostly (bar the aformentioned Kid Dracula), they are fun enough for a quick play though, in terms of what toplay though depends entirely on if you get on with the Metroidvania games or prefer the platformer ones.
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Re: Castlevania

Post by ToxieDogg » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:23 pm

If you get on with Symphony Of The Night, definitely play the 3 GBA games as others have mentioned, the 3 Nintendo DS games are pretty excellent too.

I'd say the original PC Engine CD version of Rondo Of Blood (which is unlockable on that PSP game you've got), Super Castlevania 4 on SNES and Castlevania: Bloodlines/The New Generation on Mega Drive are all well worth a go as well.

As for ones to give a miss....I'd steer clear of Haunted Castle (arcade) and Dracula X/Vampire's Kiss on SNES, neither are too hot.
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Re: Castlevania

Post by RuySan » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:09 am

From the classic ones, I like Bloodlines/New Generation the best, even though it's annoying that it has limited continues.

The best one overall though is Order of Ecclesia. SOTN is very easy and dull later on. Ecclesia is just pure funethrough and through, and has the best boss battles in the series.

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