- Oct 25, 2017
Platform(s): Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PC
Release Date: May 16th, 2019
Genre: Action Platformer
Price: $19.99 USD, £15.99, €19.99
Format: Digital Only
Size: 595 MB
The NES original that kicked off Castlevania for the North American audience. It’s a straightforward action game where you platform yourself, while whipping everything that moves, through Dracula’s Castle on a quest to kill the vampire master himself. Pick up equipment from candles and use hearts to activate them to get a leg up on all the monsters that stand in your way.
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
The black sheep of the series that transitioned away from a level-based structured to something more open. It gets a lot of hate for the way townsfolk lie and mislead you but with a guidebook or other walkthrough you’ll be able to better appreciate the impressive scale of this NES game.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
The king of the NES trilogy. Dracula’s Curse returns to the level-based stylings of the first game but heavily expands on it with multiple paths, additional characters and more interesting environments. Replay the game and take different paths to have characters like Alucard join your party and let you exploit their unique abilities. This is the game Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon was a spiritual successor to so if you enjoyed that title you should absolutely give Castlevania III a spin.
Super Castlevania IV
A remake of the original game (or a sequel if you read the North American manual) Super Castlevania IV drops some of the features of Dracula’s Curse (no multiple characters, single path) but greatly expands Simon’s capabilities allowing him to whip in 8 directions, spin the whip and use it to latch onto and swing from grapple point in the world. The game world also takes advantage of the SNES to provide some pretty impressive mode7 moments.
Castlevania: The Adventure
As the first handheld game in the series (and one of the first Game Boy games), The Adventure is...not really good. It’s mostly here in this collection as a curiosity and to remind you that the far better remake, The Adventure Rebirth, is excluded from this set.
The game is exceeding slow and has poor jumping (even by Castlevania standards) but is designed as if you were as “nimble” as you were in the NES trilogy. Rather than finding tools like axes and daggers in the previous game you are limited to whip extensions (that downgrade when you are hit) as you move through a series of very limited screens.
Also: hearts heal you in this game...eww.
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge
One of the better “jumps” in quality you can find on the Game Boy between sequels. Belmont's Revenge is a faster, tighter controlling, better looking game. It doesn’t live up to the console installments but, especially when compared to its predecessor, the game is a solid Game Boy release.
While the Game Boy version did receive an English release this is the first time the original NES game is being made available in other territories. It’s a charming platformer where you play as a young Alucard as you make your way through a parody of the Castlevania series.
Re-released for the very first time, Castlevania Bloodlines is the only title in the series to appear on SEGA platforms (the cancelled dreamcast/32x titles aside) and is one of the best games in the series. Featuring two playable characters, “too hot for Nintendo” levels of violence, a great Genesis soundtrack and some killer level design Bloodlines is worth buying the collection for in and of itself, especially if you’ve never gotten to play it before now.
I’m new to the series. What game should I start with?
You can jump in wherever you want as the games in this collection aren’t dependent on each other, but I personally recommend the original Castlevania on NES. It’s a short and simple introduction to the series’ traditional action style.
Where is Symphony of the Night and the other “Igavania” titles?
This collection (described as the “first” one for the series) is focused on the “Classicvania” games which are the earlier incarnation of the franchise focused on challenging, level based, action rather than exploring an open environment.
Where is Rondo of Blood or Dracula X?
Not here! But if you own a PS4 or PSP/Vita you can play Rondo of Blood in either Castlevania Requiem or the Dracula X Collection respectively.
How is the quality of the emulation?
Specific analysis is TBA, but it’s M2 handling the collection so you should expect things to run great.
Note: audio issues have been discovered.
Save states? Rewind options??
This collection only features save states.
Which regional versions of the games are included in the collection? Can you switch between them?
It appears the NTSC version of the game are what's in the collection for all English territories but we haven't gotten 100% confirmation on that yet.
The Japanese releases of these games were added to this collection in an update on June 18th. Note: the Japan release of this collection includes Simon’s Quest rather than the JPN version of Castlevania II so that's likely to be excluded from that update as well.
For the console games you can choose between three aspect ratios: 4:3, pixel perfect and a 16:9 stretched display. You can also toggle on different background frames and scanlines.
The two Game Boy titles have different display options. You can display a 4:3 image and a pixel perfect one as before but you can also choose to have the game run with a filter that simulates the dot matrix display of an original Game Boy. There is the option to use a color filter and scanline overlay as well.
The game comes with the “The History Castlevania: Book of the Crescent Moon” eBook which includes “Box Art Gallery, Featured Titles, Key Person Interviews, Castlevania Research Reports and Design Archives”. This is accessed from within the main menu of the collection.
The collection also features replays for (at least some) of the games so you can get tips on how to beat harder encounters.
Does the PS4 Pro and XB1X support scaling the games properly to 4k?
It doesn’t appear so, it’s likely the games will be displayed in 1080p and then scaled to 4k by your console.
Note: the game does not feature a platinum trophy on PS4.
Can you remap controls (outside of the custom mapping available in the XB1/PS4 settings)?
Unfortunately, unless the game supports it (Bloodlines & SCIV), there isn't an option to change buttons.
Worse, whip is mapped to the B & X buttons and jump is mapped to A & Y. (Switch version of course)
If you have an 8bitdo M30 (The Sega Genesis controller), whip is the "A" button and jump is the "B" button, which is pretty nice. It'll take a little finagling to get the right control scheme for SCIV/Bloodlines, but for me this is the ideal way to play.
German review that features a good amount of gameplay and a walkthrough of the options. Pretty much the only footage of the game pre-release.
Some import gameplay from Seafoam Gaming
Metacritic (PS4) - TBA
Opencritic - 78%
Destructoid - Unscored
Metro UK - 8/10
Video game publishers have a terrible track record when it comes to retro compilations, always leaving out important games and often failing to provide any context or historical information. After the low-effort Arcade Classic Anniversary Collection we’re shocked this avoids most of those problems and is actually a reasonably priced, mostly definitive, celebration of early era Castlevania and the genesis of the Metroidvania genre.