Next up in the Castlevania series is one of the more rare and obscure Castlevania titles; The Castlevania Chronicles.
This entry is yet another remake of the original Castlevania game featuring Simon Belmont. This time, the graphics and sound have been improved yet again. This release also features added dialogue and cutscenes. As a result, many believe this is the “canon” version of the infamous “1691 battle” between Simon and Dracula.
Like Symphony of the Night, this game was released for the Sony Playstation. The physical version has been long out of print, but it is available digitally on the Playstation Network. Upon its release, this title received very mixed reviews. The game was criticized by many for being extremely hard, especially in later levels. However, it received praise for its wonderful storytelling and superb graphics. To be honest, it is a very strange beast. For me, it is an interesting entry in the Castlevania saga, but one that seems to have no real purpose in the long run. For someone interested in playing through the series for the lore, I suppose this would be the definitive version of the “Castlevania story”. But, I’d be hard pressed recommending Chronicles over the original Castlevania. If anything, the original game holds a spark of nostalgia, where this one feels a bit shallow in its presentation overall.
Finally, this titles is a bit shorter than most. I played thru the whole game in three sittings, so compared to the newer titles there’s not much content.
1897: Dracula the novel
Difficulty: Very Difficult – Very tough. The “Nintendo hard” is back in this title with a vengeance.
Story: The scenario in this title is identical to Castlevania and Super Castlevania. Although for the first time, we have the inclusion of cutscenes. Due to the story elements, this is often considered to the be the definitive version of the Simon vs Dracula story.
Originality: This title harkens back to the earlier games in terms of design. Even the top-of-the-screen UI is a throwback. Aside from the new dialogue and visuals, there’s not much new here.
Soundtrack: CD quality audio and a lot of classic tunes from the series. But in my opinion, many of renditions are pretty poor. Overall, I was most really that impressed. But, I’ve heard worse.
Fun: It was really cool to see another flavor of the Simon story, but a lot of the fun was diminished by the high degree of difficulty. 🙁
Graphics: There are really two versions of this game. The original was released on an obscure computer system and the PSX version is technically a remake of that. The CD actually includes both versions, but I feel that the PSX version is by far superior. The graphics are much improved. I might even argue that they look better than SotN.
Playcontrol: No real issues here. I feel that game doesn’t control quite as smooth as some of the other 2D Castlevania titles released at the same time.
Overall rating (out of four stars): 3– This a decent title, but I just don’t feel very passionate about it for some reason. Perhaps because it was another rehash, I’m not sure. I just didn’t light me on fire. But I cannot deny it is a very good game in it’s own right.
Currently available on: Playstation Network
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