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Castlevania Chronicles Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 64%
Castlevania Chronicles
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  • B-
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was, quite literally, a game-changer. Taking the open map of Metroid and infusing swords, magic, and experience points, that gem created a whole new genre. It seemed at that point that the traditional linear gameplay of the 8- and 16-bit entries of the series was dead. That was kind-of true. While there were no new games using the old style, there were still a couple of old games that the Americans missed the first time around, one of which was Castlevania Chronicles.

Originally released on the Sharp X68000 computer, Castlevania Chronicles, like Super Castlevania 4 on the Super Nintendo, is a remake of the original game. Taking control of Simon Belmont, you introduce a whip to the faces of various monsters while on a mission to destroy Dracula. A few of the stages are graphically updated remakes of stages from the original game, most notably the first stage. However, there are new stages mixed in. While the level designs are okay, they are very basic with few exceptions. They lack the imagination that the Super Nintendo entry had.

Castlevania Chronicles (PlayStation)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The gameplay is as traditional as it gets. Gameplay is limited to jumping and attacking with your whip and heart-powered sub-weapons. The gameplay is as stiff and mechanical as the 8-bit trilogy. Whipping can only be done on a horizontal plane with whipping down while jumping as the only exception, a major step down from Castlevania 4 which let you whip in any direction. Playing in Original Mode gets as sadistically hard as the old entries in the series due to this. Fortunately, the game comes equipped with an Arranged Mode which has multiple difficulty settings and allows progress saves. Playing in Arranged Mode doesn't make the game much easier, but it does eliminate a lot of the frustration.

Castlevania Chronicles looks and sounds like a good 16-bit game. The visuals are clean and vibrant. The scaling and rotation effects are used sparingly; don't expect to see whole stages rotate like in Super Castlevania 4. However, backgrounds are impressively busy, especially the Clock Tower area. The soundtrack largely consists of remixes of tunes from the first three games which sound great as long as the orchestrations in Symphony of the Night didn't spoil you.

Castlevania Chronicles did two things. It effectively showed what worked about the older games in the franchise, and it regrettably showed how that style was outdated. Those who miss the unforgiving challenge of the original trilogy will definitely find it here. However, those who don't have that kind of nostalgia should just skip it. Simon did well; he's earned his retirement.
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