It was the marathon fight that he expected, but Justin and Richter finally took down Dracula in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. Your turn, Alucard.
What stood out about the Gamethrough?
- The boss fights almost broke me, but never felt unfair. Solving them felt as good as it ever has in Castlevania.
- I hate Shaft so much. He is my ultimate nemesis in this series, moreso than Dracula.
- The multiple paths to finish each level was subtle and unexpected addition. It makes the game feel much larger than say, Dracula's Curse, which had multiple paths but threw the map in front of you so often that the game felt a bit small.
- I hope to never have to cross a collapsing bridge while being chased by two-hit bats ever again.
- Bringing back the original bosses from the first Castlevania was both awesome and broke up the brutal final levels in a way that made me excited to finish the game.
- The Cross is the only sub-weapon you ever need.
- I wish I had known about the backflip from Stage 1. I would have finished the game in half the time.
- I hated them, but loved my marathon fights with Shaft (twice) and Dracula.
Playing through this version of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood after all of this time is one of the best gaming decisions I've made. I think I would have given up on it due to the difficulty of a few of the bosses had I not been focused on recording the entire playthrough. That helped me push through and it felt like an big accomplishment in the end. Because of that, I feel very confident in saying that Rondo of Blood is the best classic Castlevania and it trumps even my nostalgic favorite, Dracula's Curse. It won't be for everyone as the experience can be punishing and doesn't have the adventure that later Castlevania games adopted with Symphony of the Night. For me though, this is as good as Castlevania gets and Castlevania is an all-time series for me, so you can do the rest of the math.
Will I Play More?
It has crossed my mind that I want to go back and 100% this game or at least see all of the bosses. I feel a bit beat up now, but I may return this fall when I'm ready to whip some ass again.