Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

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Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (originally released in Japan as Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo) was released for the PC-Engine Super CD-ROM-ROM in 1993. Initially, it was only released in Japan but was finally ported to the PlayStation Portable with Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, and subsequently to the Wii Virtual Console.

In 1792, the evil priest Shaft resurrects Dracula. In a rare flash of brilliance, Dracula immediately attacks the current Belmont's hometown and tries to kill him right off the bat. Richter Belmont was luckily out of town training. So, Dracula goes for plan B: kidnap Richter's fianceé Annette, a distant relative of the Belmont Clan named Maria, and two other villagers.

Rondo played similar to previous Castlevania entries, mostly linear. You could also find hidden exits to reach alternate paths through the stages to find different bosses. The ending depends on which girls you rescue, and you could play the game as Maria if you found her. You could enhance your subweapons into an Item Crash that usually fills the screen with large projectiles.

The PC-Engine used a CD-ROM, so Rondo of Blood had red book audio and the cut scenes had voice acting. This bump in production value led to Konami upping the values for their subsequent games.

A loose port was released for the Super Famicom titled Akumajō Dracula XX (as in "Double X") in 1995, which was released for the American Super NES as Castlevania: Dracula X and in Europe as Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss. While the basic plot and game system remained identical to the PC Engine, the stages were all-new and a lot more linear (with only two hidden stages) due to the lower memory capacity of the cartridge format, and unlike the PC-Engine version, only Richter was playable.

Tropes used in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood include:
  • Above the Ruins: Subverted in Richter's ending. He watches the castle from an isolated cliff like most Castlevania endings, but the castle will not crumble. Played straight in Maria's game, though.
    • But in the good ending of Dracula X Chronicles, the castle does fall whether you are Richter or Maria.
  • Bishonen Line: In Dracula X Chronicles, when you defeat both of Dracula's forms, he reverts back into his human shape, only to go into a third form, unique to Dracula X Chronicles, which is basically just his human form, with six bloodstained wings. The ensuing fight is much harder than either of his other forms.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Great Armor (Armor Lord) at the end of the alternate path of Stage 2. You also encounter two of them in the upper path of Stage 5.
    • In Stage 5, there's the Captain's Portrait, which takes a couple of hits to kill. If the portrait catches you (and your subweapon doesn't kill it fast enough), it will kill you in one hit.
  • Boss Rush: Stage 6, where Shaft resurrects the first four bosses from the NES Castlevania.
  • Bottomless Pits: Averted in some stages, notably Stage 3. Played straight if it's water.
  • Cherry Tapping: Somebody has actually defeated Dracula with the key.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: If you've been playing as Maria for a while and switch to Richter, there's a good chance you'll back-flip off a cliff or into an enemy at least once while attempting to double-jump.
    • If you started playing Richter in Symphony of the Night, he's going to seem a LOT slower and clumsier here.
  • Damsel in Distress: Iris, Terra, Annette, and Maria Renard, the last of whom later Took a Level in Badass as she becomes a playable hero after you rescue her.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Richter wears one, just to handle his whip.
  • Flawless Victory: If you defeat a boss with a full life bar, you receive an extra life. You can get hit during the level, so long as you find some food to refill your lifebar before the stage is over.
  • Flechette Storm: The Knife Item Crash.
  • Gratuitous German: The prologue in the original game is spoken entirely in German, with subtitles.
  • Hot-Blooded: Richter's attempts to Item Crash keys should count.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The aforementioned keys. Which are among the most powerful weapons in the game.
  • Invulnerable Attack: Most Item Crashes give at least some invulnerability during their animations.
  • Japanese Sibling Terminology: Maria calls Annette "onee-chan" (big sis) and Richter "oni-chan" (big bro), despite not being directly related to either one. But since the SNES version turned Annette and Maria into actual siblings, it's easy to think otherwise.
  • Joke Item: The Key is the strongest subweapon in the game, but it is very hard to hit anything with it. Also, see Funny Moments in the YMMV tab and Cherry Tapping above.
  • Jump Physics: Your jumps aren't as clumsy as the NES trilogy, but aren't as controllable as Super Castlevania IV.
  • Kaizo Trap: Defeated bosses would perform one final attack upon defeat. It could not defeat you, but it could ruin your vitality score and deny you the extra life you'd normally get for finishing the level with full health.
    • Actually, Shaft's attack (Stage 6) COULD kill you in both the original and the remake (it was the only one that could).
    • Subverted with Carmilla; she coughs up a bunch of hearts instead, boosting your score.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Maria has a very small hit box, a Double Jump (one of the first, if not the first, characters with this), can abuse her slides and rolling, and has four subweapons she has constant access to.
    • Some fans will mock you if you clear the game with Maria.
    • Oh, Maria also has an insanely high-damage Invulnerable Attack Spell, although you need to know the input combination first.
      • This is an entirely different attack from the Item Crashes, which both characters have access to (though the Item Crash is different, depending on the subweapon - and Maria's subweapons are quite different from Richter's), and which are also generally Invulnerable Attack moves which do high damage.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Key's item crash costs no hearts to use, but it's still an Invulnerable Attack.
  • Lighter and Softer: When the player switches to Maria.
  • Magic Pants: Totally averted with the Werewolf, who is completely naked after transforming back (I can see the peeeeenis). These same sprites would go on to be reused in several other Castlevania games.
    • Dracula X Chronicles played this straight by adding a little black loincloth in both the 2D and 3D versions.
      • It also appears in the North American Virtual Console version.
  • Magic Skirt: Averted. Maria is clearly holding her skirt down with her hands when she jumps (though the skirt is ankle-length anyway).
    • In Dracula X Chronicles, she's wearing pants, so this trope doesn't even come up.
  • Mana Burn: During the Carmilla Boss Fight, her assistant Laura will grab you and drain your Hearts. For Richter, this attack looks like a Kiss of Death, but on the shorter Maria, it looks more like Marshmallow Hell.
  • Motionless Chin: Appears in the animated cutscenes; most prominent in Richter's ending.
  • Multiple Endings: How the story ends depends on whether you save any or all of the Distressed Damsels from the evil clutches of Dracula.
    • In Dracula X Chronicles, you need to save both Iris and Terra in order to save Annette! If you do not save all of them, sorry, Shoot the Shaggy Dog. If you do, Everyone Lives Happily Ever After before Symphony of the Night comes -- at least those who survived the events. Maria is not required to get a good ending. If you don't save her, she won't appear in the ending shot.
  • Nerf: In Dracula X Chronicles, subweapons and item crashes do much less damage.
  • Nintendo Hard: Unlike Super Castlevania IV, Richter lacks the multi-directional whipping, and many of the enemies are a lot faster and more aggressive than you'd expect. Even the typical bone skeleton throws bones almost all the time.
  • No Flow in CGI: Probably why Maria wears pants instead of a dress and has her hair tied back in Dracula X Chronicles.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Stage 1 is the Town of Veros from Simon's Quest, combined with a portion of Stage 1 of Dracula's Curse.
    • Stage 2, as usual, is the Castle Entrance Corridor from the original NES game.
    • Stage 4 is mostly taken from Stage 5 of the original game, though fortunately without the horrifying Axe Armour/Medusa Heads corridor, and without Death at the end.
    • Stage 6 is a Boss Rush against four of the bosses from the original NES game. In the PC Engine version, the stage's background music is a remixed version of the NES game's boss theme titled "Poison Mind".
    • Stage 7 is a redesigned version of the first game's Clock Tower final stage, updated to feature more of the design aspects that had later become associated with Clock Tower levels (moving gears, Medusa heads). Except for the final room, which is instead a shout-out to the final room in the Dracula Clock Tower in Castlevania III.
    • The secret area in Dracula's keep, accessed by jumping onto an invisible staircase, is a reference to a bug in the Famicom Disk version of Akumajō Dracula, where the player could keep walking up the stairs to the keep, into the open air after the stairs themselves had stopped, through the ceiling, and into a mire of glitched graphics.
    • The Clock Tower and Castle Keep were brought back in Symphony of the Night, with a few new rooms added.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Maria's dress.
  • Rain of Blood: Richter's death animation is this. Also, in the Dracula X Chronicles, one of True Dracula's attacks is a blood storm.
  • Reformulated Game: The SNES version, Castlevania: Dracula X. Since the SNES version was made on a 16-Megabit (2-Megabyte) cartridge, while the PC Engine version was a CD-ROM game (540-Megabyte), a straight port was pretty much impossible, so the stages were replaced completely to fit into the smaller ROM size. The plot is pretty much the same, except that Maria and Annette were now sisters, the other two girls are missing, and Shaft is nowhere to be seen. Maria is no longer a playable character; when she is rescued, she simply wishes Richter luck.
  • Secret Level: Stage 5, which is only accessed after beating the game at least once (in the PC-Engine CD version), or by defeating Death in Stage 5 (in The Dracula X Chronicles).
  • Shout-Out: The Dogether boss is named in reference to Bastard!!'s Suzuki Dogezaemon, and naturally the original Beholder.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: It starts at the serious end with Richter, but when you play as Maria it shifts to the silly side.
  • Spooky Painting: The aforementioned Captain's Portrait in Stage 5.
  • Stealth Pun: Dracula X was literally the tenth Dracula game released by Konami. Before this, there were the three NES games (3), Vampire Killer for the MSX2 (4), the arcade game Haunted Castle (5), the two Game Boy games (7), Super Castlevania IV for the SNES (8), and the X68000 version of the original Dracula (9).
  • Title Drop: While the furigana in the game's subtitle reads Chi no Rondo for "Rondo of Blood", the literal reading is Chi no Rinne, meaning "Metempsychosis of Blood". The latter is the title of the game's final stage (although the English version of the PSP port simply renders it "Bloodlines" to tie in with Symphony of the Night doing the same, dropping a different title entirely).
  • Unique Enemy: The man-eating plant/stone rose only appears once in a corridor in the village. Going in that direction is entirely pointless though, as it's a dead end. It's much more common in other games though.
  • Updated Rerelease: Dracula X Chronicles, which doubles as a Compilation Rerelease, because it also includes the original version of the game, a slightly improved version of Symphony of the Night, and even the joke mini-game Akumajo Dracula Peke.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: The introduction to the game, where a group of cultists, led by Shaft, sacrifices a woman to revive Dracula.
  • Wasted Song: Arguably the Dracula X Chronicles' remix of Poison Mind, since unlike the original it is only used for the final stage (and not Stage 6 bosses before Shaft), which is just a hop, skip, and jump to Dracula.
    • However, the fact that you can use any unlocked song from the game in any level averts this.