Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

Rondo Rounded up for US

Not just Rondo of Blood, but a little sum-sum called Symphony of the Night are both headed to your PSP. First details inside.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: February 2, 2007
By far the biggest news for us PlayStation schmoes at Konami's Gamer's Day event last night was Koji Igarashi's announcement of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. It wasn't just that the game was actually coming to the PSP -- there had been a rumored Rondo of Blood, the Japanese-only PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 game that served as one of the final traditional Castlevania game before the MetroidVania-style games took off -- it was that we were getting that original game, plus a full remake, plus a re-translated version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night the game that started the whole MetroidVania diection.

Let that sink in for a moment. Finally, finally we're getting another version of Symphony of the Night, one that's actually updated with a better translation (though some purists will always miss the campy lines) and possibly a few tweaks here and there. Rondo is a game that never arrived here in the States, meaning if you wanted to play it up until now, you'd have to make do with emulation. Now, we're not only getting the original game, but a complete 2.5D remake done up with 3D graphics. The tale of them zany cultists resurrecting Dracula in 1792 will likely work just as well with fancied-up polygons as it did with sprites, and if not -- the original's still there. Plus, and this probably needs mentioning again they're including Symphony of the friggin' Night (because it too was Dracula X game, y'see).

Actual details on the games beyond the fact that they're coming are, unfortunately, scarce (sadly, nothing was playable at the Gamer's Day event, and was the presentation only listed it as coming in "2007"), but we do know that you'll be able to replay any completed stages to earn better points and find the hidden paths, that there will be new character designs by Ayami Kojima, and a custom soundtrack option has been added to allow tracks from both Rondo and Symphony to be mixed and matched to play in the background while you tromp through Transylvania.

Though the game is being remade with 3D graphics, it'll still remain a side-scroller, and retain all of the goodies that made this such a little gem (y'know, beyond the fact that you couldn't freakin' find it anywhere here in the States without shelling out a ton of moolah). This includes the multiple endings (we hope) and the addition of Maria as a playable character (we're sure). Also along for the ride is the ability to take multiple paths to finish the game. Each level isn't a straight A-B line; by exploring a little, you'll actually unlock different pathways through the game, which is a fantastic touch.

Effectively getting three games (okay, 2-1/2 games) in one is plenty nice -- especially considering how damn big both games are. Though we're pining for a playable build of the game, we hope that these pre-alpha screens and a handy video help explain things a little more. Check back soon for updated hands-on impressions!