The description of Castlevania War: Super Dracula
Rondo of Blood was the last level-based Castlevania produced before games shifted gears to the interconnected rooms found in recent installments. In it, you control either Richter Belmont, a vampire hunter armed with a whip, or Maria Renard, a young girl that tosses doves at her enemies, and guide your chosen hero through side-scrolling levels populated with bottomless pits, surprise traps, and loads of creepy monsters. Both characters have a no-nonsense repertoire of moves: they can walk, jump, and unleash an attack directly ahead, as well as make use of various projectile subweapons.
- Easy and Simple to play.
- Amazing animations.
- Cool skill design and effect.
- Flexible moving and game play.
- A lot of challenges and stages.
Richter has more health than Maria, but he walks more slowly and his backflip-style double jump is tougher to use. Conversely, Maria's speed and traditional front-flip double jump make her easier to use, but her miserly stamina means she's dead meat in two or three hits. At the end of each level, you'll match skills against a boss based on a familiar horror villain, such as a werewolf, the headless horseman, or Dracula. "Skill" being the operative word, because this game is absolutely abundant with precision jump sequences, double-team situations, and other stamina-sapping hazards that will cause you to mutter profanities as you die repeatedly while learning the layout of each level.
Rondo's old-school sensibilities are obvious. Richter walks at a decent pace, but he practically crawls up and down stairs, and you have to push up on the control pad just to get him to ascend them. Otherwise, you'll fall right through. He also gets knocked back when hit by an enemy, which, coupled with the stair thing, means you'll endure plenty of cheap hits and punts into deadly traps as you work toward honing your skills. It sounds like self-torture, and it sort of is. However, the payoff for memorizing each level back to front is that you get to see some truly inspired level designs and participate in one memorable boss fight after another. You won't forget rafting the rapids and dodging vine-swinging skeletons in the jungle, or the first time you slay the blue serpent only to discover that you actually killed only one of the towering beast's four heads.
For the rendition of Symphony of the Night that's included on this disc, games fixed a few trivial bugs and added Maria to the list of playable characters. They also came up with a new script translation and recorded new voice dialogue to replace the literally translated, stiffly delivered lines that plagued the original game. As intended, the new script reads more naturally, and the new cast of voice actors manages to deliver their lines smoothly and with appropriate inflection. If you've already played through the game before, you'll want to play through it again here just to see how much better the experience is when the dialogue doesn't seem so wooden.
Of course, if you're the impatient sort, you can always cheat and visit your favorite gaming website to read tips that reveal exactly where those icons are located. In any case, it seems kind of cold-blooded that games is forcing players to put in some legitimate effort to access two-thirds of the content on the disc, especially when the original Rondo and Symphony of the Night are mentioned so prominently on the back of the box and in the user's manual.