For as long as the Castlevania series has continued to run, it is still regarded as the premier side-scrolling action/adventure franchise. While the series' attempt to dress itself up in 3D didn't turn out as spectacularly as planned, the two-dimensional incarnations continued to rise on the GameBoy Advance. Of course, with the vast shortage of Symphony of the Night copies, a lot of Castlevania fans never got a chance to play what may very well have been the finest in the series. But there are also quite a number of ‘Vania titles that we've never seen on the North American shores, altogether – Rondo of Blood would be one of them. Until now.
Konami plans to introduce Castlevania: Rondo of Blood by releasing a special three-in-one package called Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. The main game featured will be a reworked Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (originally released in Japan for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx). Additionally, the much lauded Castlevania: Symphony of the Night will find its way into the package, as well as the original PC Engine version of Dracula X: Rondo of Blood.
The reworked Rondo of Blood will feature upgraded visuals that'll sport three-dimensions, but the game will remain set on a two-dimensional, side-scrolling plane. If you've ever played the original Klonoa for the PlayStation, or even Tomba, you'll know what to expect from Rondo of Blood for the PSP. The game demonstrates the original bosses and monsters from the game rendered completely in polygons. Likewise, our hero Richter Belmont is also suited with polygons and sports some terrific texture detail. Aesthetically, the environments will present you with a fantastic color palette and a good deal of impressive texture work. Surprisingly, Konami isn't skimping out on the visuals – as instead of just releasing a quick update, they seem to be adding quite a bit to Rondo of Blood's appearance.
Rondo of Blood stars yet another member of the Belmont family: Richter Belmont. The year is 1788 and Dracula has been resurrected once more. Dracula seeks the death of Richter, so he kidnaps his girlfriend Annet. Now it's Richter's duty to rescue her and send Dracula back to where he came from. The game consists of 7 main levels, with 5 secret ones. Whether or not Konami will remix the game to fuse the secret levels into the core game isn't known yet, but you can rest assured that all 12 levels will be featured. Throughout the game, you will be able to rescue various other kidnapped victims – and the more victims you save, the better your ending will be. Lastly, one of the victims that you save, Maria, will also become a playable character in the game.
There's a good reason why this package is subtitled with the word 'Chronicles', and that's because Symphony of the Night is the direct sequel to Rondo of Blood. Clearly, perhaps the main attraction to a lot of PSP owners out there will be the inclusion of the original SotN game that was released nearly a decade ago on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It's soon to see a downloadable release on the Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360, but now PSP owners will be treated to the game, as well.
We're incredibly excited to see this Castlevania package being brought over to the PSP. Konami hasn't given us a proper release date quite yet, but have mentioned they're looking to release the game in the fourth-quarter of 2007; so look for it around the holiday season. We'll make sure to keep you up to date on the latest happenings. Until then, enjoy the screenshots and any further content we get on the game.