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Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles review

Castlevania finally sucks PSP's blood


  • Vibrant visuals pop on the PSP
  • A classic finally makes it stateside
  • Three games for the price of one


  • Two of the games need to be unlocked
  • Old school difficulty can be brutal
  • Unforgiving saves/checkpoints

Oct 26, 2007

After years of delivering the goth-gaming goods to Nintendo's GBA and DS, Konami is finally putting the sharpened stake in the hands of PSP players with Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. The drac-slaying series makes its Sony portable debut with a re-mastered version of 1993's previously Japan-only Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.

For faithful fans, this alone is enough to hammer the must-buy nail into the coffin. But add to this un-lockable versions of the original pixel-perfect Rondo and the PS1 favorite, Symphony of the Night, and you've got a deal rivaling The Orange Box's recent goodwill. Sadly, only hardcore vampire hunters will truly appreciate this title due to its punishing difficulty - we're talking NES Ghosts 'n Goblins difficult, here.

Don't misunderstand, we love a good challenge; just ask our blistered thumbs after an all-night Ninja Gaiden marathon. What we don't appreciate is a challenge falsely padded with unforgiving save and checkpoint systems. Can't complete a level in four lives? Plan on replaying the entire stage until you can. Most gamers, after traversing the same creepy castle multiple times only to be sent packing by a brutal boss battle, will have about as much fun as a vampire that's had his mouthwash secretly swapped with holy water. If that wasn't painful enough, the title's best bonus - Symphony - can only be played after completing Rondo in a very specific way.

With that said, if you're a serious Castlevania fan, or just yearn for the days of trial-and-error gaming, then there's lots to love here. The gameplay is classic Castlevania; as a whip-wielding Belmont you'll take on the expected macabre menaces - Mermen, Fleamen, bone-tossing skeletons, those annoying-as-hell floating Medusa heads and, of course, amazing bosses. When you're not whipping the bejesus out of baddies - and heart-revealing candles - you'll equip the sub-weapon staples: holy water, bibles, daggers, axes and crosses.

More Info

DescriptionIf you're a Castlevania completist, or just a fan of old school gaming, then pick up this bloodsucker. Otherwise, we suggest driving your stake through the better, more forgiving DS entries.
Franchise nameCastlevania
UK franchise nameCastlevania
US censor ratingTeen
Release date23 October 2007 (US), (UK)
A full-time freelance writer based in Lizzie Borden's hometown, Matt Cabral has covered film, television, and video games for over a decade. You can follow him on Twitter @gamegoat, friend him on Facebook, or find him in the basement of an abandoned building hoarding all the canned goods, med-kits, and shotgun shells.