Review – Castlevania Anniversary Collection

Released in honor of Konami’s 50th anniversary, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection collects the first four mainline Castlevania games, the two Game Boy titles, and the Genesis exclusive Bloodlines. Each game comes with a variety of resolution options, a quick save system, and an included eBook that chronicles the making and legacy of each game.

61215295_1047447242127981_6707682362987118592_o

For newcomers to the franchise who watched the Netflix adaptation, Dracula’s Curse is the game to start with. Don’t worry, it’s not at all considered the hardest in the series.

The obvious highlight of this collection are the first four Castlevania games being made available on all platforms for the first time. The haunting soundtracks, the tight platforming and combat, the gothic level design, it all looks and feels just as good as it did thirty years ago. The legendary difficulty is also retained, but the quick save system greatly alleviates this. Each game is a port of the best version of it, like for example Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest having the FDS version of its music from the Famicom instead of the NES tracks.

61344543_1047447248794647_4830191251250741248_o

The Clocktower remains one of my favorite Castlevania levels and themes.

The other included games are pretty hit and miss, and are hardly must-plays of the franchise. The Game Boy games, confusingly titled Castlevania I and II, are extremely watered down versions of the mainline games, although they do feature some great music tracks. Kid Dracula trades in the series’ ultra serious gothic tone for a much lighter humorous one, which you’ll either love or hate. The gameplay is solid, however. The power-up abilities are fun and unique, and the music is different from what you’d expect from a Castlevania game, but still catchy nonetheless.

61541978_1047447218794650_7192194076005892096_o

Isn’t it beautiful?

Castlevania: Bloodlines is the most solid title outside the main four, and honestly gives them a run for their money. Originally a Sega Genesis exclusive title, this is the first time it’s ever been re-released. The gameplay is standard Castlevania, but the more modern setting, the ability to play as one of two protagonists, and advanced graphical effects set it apart favorably.

Every game played just as well, if not better, than it did on its original platform. No slowdowns or crashes, no new bugs or glitches introduced to make things exciting: it’s a very faithful and well done collection. I wish Square Enix was half as careful with its own classic ports as Konami has been so far with their Anniversary releases. The included ebook Book of the Crescent Moon is surprisingly interesting as well. There’s plenty of classic art and development secrets that are always interesting to see, as well as a spoiler-free gameplay guide for each game.

61287475_1047447212127984_6666055909321474048_o

There’s actually a decent amount of stuff included and well wort ha look for any fan of the franchise.

Even without its most famous entries, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a must buy. Castlevania 1-4 more then pass the test of time, the Game Boy Castlevania I and II are fun distractions, and this is the first time that Kid Dracula and Castlevania: Bloodlines have been released outside the consoles they were originally released on. Whether you’re looking for a nostalgia fix, a new Castlevania experience, or are a newcomer to the franchise, this collection gets the job done.

Graphics: 5.0

It’s the same way the games looked when they came out, for better or worse. Some hold up better than others.

Gameplay: 7.5

The classic action adventure gameplay of Castlevania 1-4 is timeless. Your mileage will vary with the other games.

Sound: 9.0

Vampire Killer, Bloody Tears, these are iconic video game soundtracks in their original glory. Even the GB games pull their weight in this department.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Even after all these years, the first Castlevania games remain must plays and the collection is more then worth it for them alone. Bloodlines and the strangely fun Kid Dracula are a bonus.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Castlevania Anniversary Collection is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Castlevania Anniversary Collection was provided by the publisher.

Advertisements