Unranked: Castlevania Chronicles

Castlevania Chronicles
Sony Playstation

I only had the vaguest knowledge about Castlevania Chronicles until recent times. I knew about a Japanese version of Castlevania, but did not know a version had been put out on the PS1 in 2001. I somehow completely missed this until it was mentioned on an episode of Back In My Play a few years ago. Castlevania Chronicles is a fine game that offers some cool homages to other games in the series, but also can stand on its own as a great game in that same series.

The first really noticeable difference with this game is that Simon looks a lot different from usual. He has 1990s teenage goth purple hair and is ripped like The Ultimate Warrior. It is a really different look from other Castlevania games. Perhaps Dracula could have done some drug testing on entrants to his castle? Simon looks seriously roided up for some reason. He definitely sells attacks better than The Warrior though. I hope Simon is not as homophobic as him.

There is a lot of cool stuff going on generally in this game, with a few hiccups along the way. I love how things move around in the background as you advance through the game. This is also seen in Super Castlevania and Symphony of the Night, but is still a nice touch throughout the game.

In general, the stages are fairly interesting and bring back some interesting aspects of the original Castlevania game in a bit of a “remixed” format. I wish more game series did something like this. Castlevania games are filled with these kinds of homages in games like Super Castlevania, a game we will be doing a podcast about later this year.

The rise of games like Super Mario Maker, some of the bonus content on the Mega Man Legacy Collection, and even the 8 bit version of Breath of the Wild that Nintendo produced show there is an audience for this kind of game.

What about a Castlevania Maker? How cool would that be? I would love to be able to create NES era Castlevania levels on, say, The Switch.

For this playthough, which as I said is my first ever go at this game, I played it on my PS3. There was a sale over the holidays which meant I could get the game very cheaply. In general, this is a solid Castlevania game that offers some great homages to the classic NES game with some modern, well at the time at least, takes on it. It is so interesting to play a new, to me, Castlevania game in 2018. For that alone, I found this game worthwhile of playing.

Much like Dracula X, hit detection in this game is not superb. This is especially true on spikes, where getting anywhere near them will result in losing health. Maybe it was just my big screen television, but the pixelated graphics in the game also hide spikes in a few stages. I kept running into spikes that I did not see unless I looked very, very, closely on the screen. I have poor eyesight, but it’s not THAT bad.

Stage nine is a great example of this. There are two different sets of spikes that can greatly hinder progress because they are pixelated in a way that makes them difficult to see as you progress through the stage. It took me a long time to get through that stage because I kept hitting spikes that, graphically, I was nowhere near, but detected me as hitting them. In general, this stage is a pain and I was constantly frustrated. I hate getting to the end of a stage and feeling angry about it instead of triumphant. That is insufferable.

Stage 15 is another level that is pretty unfair. The eyeballs in it are very hard to see, at least on my television, and the climb through the level gets tedious after a bunch of tries. This is a game that begs for modern save states for sure.

There are some great tributes to various Castlevania games both in game play and soundtrack as the game nears it end. Castlevania Chronicles is generally worth checking out and spending some time with. Because you can save after each level, I was able to pick it up for 20-30 minutes every so often, finish a level or two, and eventually beat the game. The game is available on the PS3’s store, since it is a PS1 game, and worth the few dollars it will cost.


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