Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: February 15, 2019
Castlevania Requiem is a HD Collection of two retro games from the side scrolling action adventure platformer series available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. The Castlevania franchise has came a long way and utilised many gameplay mechanics within varying genres on every generation of gaming since the original Castlevania made its debut on the NES in 1986 with over 30 Castlevania games having been released. Can Castlevania Requiem deliver the best port of retro classics Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night?
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is set in 1792 as Richter Belmont of the Belmont vampire hunting clan makes his way to Dracula’s castle to confront him after his lover named Annette is kidnapped by Dracula’s servant named Shaft. Meanwhile, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is set four years after Castlevania: Rondo of Blood’s ending as Alucard is the new lead character as he has awoken following Richter Belmont’s disappearance and the reappearance of Dracula’s castle.
Castlevania Requiem is a digitally released collection comprising of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It is quite easy to exit out of one game and start the other through clearly defined navigation on the main menu of the collection and within each of the two games. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood originally released in Japan in 1993 for the PC Engine before receiving a staggered global release in the form of an enhanced port titled Castlevania: Dracula X for SNES between July 1995 and February 1996, while a 2.5D remake released on PSP including ports of the original versions of Rondo of Blood and its sequel as unlockable content in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles in 2007. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the direct sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood that released in 1997 on PS1 before being ported to SEGA Saturn in Japan in 1998.
Character design in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is excellent as Richter Belmont and Alucard respectively looks heroic throughout both stories, especially whilst overcoming such dangerous enemies. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood’s enemy design is pretty good as your character encounters bats, skeletons and giant bosses. However, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s enemy design is more diverse as Alucard will battle bats, knights, skeletons with armour and a sword or no armour and throwing their own bones, underwater lizards, werewolves, zombies and more besides including other various supernatural creatures.
Environment design is as it always is in the Castlevania franchise; rather imaginative as the player essentially gets to explore Dracula’s castle with huge rooms full of statues, ancient décor and elegant design that really brings a sense of presence to the environments in both games.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night implements RPG gameplay mechanics that were not previously involved in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. Alucard’s combat efficiency gradually improves by defeating all manner of enemies to gain XP and level up as levelling up increases the quality of attributes such as attack and defence, alongside intelligence in how quickly magic points are gathered and luck for the increased regularity of items being dropped by enemies. Meanwhile, a wide range of weaponry is steadily collected such as swords, potions and more, alongside varying qualities of armour.
Given that Castlevania has been synonymous with portable gaming since Castlevania: The Adventure on Game Boy in 1989 as well as numerous Castlevania games on Game Boy, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance, DS and 3DS, alongside Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles that released on PSP in 2007; it is disappointing to not see a Vita native Castlevania game or collection, although there is digital backwards compatibility for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the PS1 Classics range and the PSP release of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles on Vita and PlayStation TV. Castlevania Requiem’s remote play performance is pretty good for both games as the graphics, audio and general performance maintains the quality of the PS4 version. Castlevania Requiem’s controls are the same as the DualShock 4 controller resulting in a very playable remote play experience for Castlevania fans.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood’s and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s controls have been partially modernised within their HD remasters. Both games have similar control schemes with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night consisting of pressing square to perform melee attacks from your character’s right hand; pressing O to use a shield or perform a melee attack from your character’s left hand; pressing X to jump; pressing triangle to perform a special move or evade an enemy; pressing the left or right shoulder button or simultaneously pressing them to perform a special attack; changing the direction of the left analogue stick or pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to move your character; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to not only display the pause menu, but also view your character’s statistics, equip items, view spells and relics and more. However, the player can also customise the majority of the control scheme by moving each button to the left or right for each action. Tapping the touch pad displays the map, while vibration occurs when an enemy hits your character or landing after a jump, although there is no light bar support that could have produced a colour representing your character’s health.
Graphically, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are essentially the original games, albeit with enhanced emulation including upscaled 1080p resolution on PS4 or upscaled 4K resolution on PS4 Pro. There are borders on the left and right of the screen with an optional border at the top and bottom of the screen as the screen can be expanded by choosing the full display size instead of the normal display size, although the borders to the left and right of the screen remain for a retro styled 4:3 aspect ratio. Meanwhile, the player also has a choice of optional scanlines, interlacing that seemingly provides a flickering for the lighting and shadow effects, smoothing to reduce pixelation and half a dozen wallpaper designs related to the subject matter as the backdrop for the gameplay area.
Castlevania Requiem’s presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, game selection menu, options menu and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Menu backgrounds focus on golden ornamental pieces that sit around each menu and option, while the shadow of the golden ornamental pieces can be seen behind the menu options as a flame lit torch is positioned to the left of the chosen menu option.
English and Japanese voice-overs are available to choose from, although fans of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on PS1 should know that the voice-overs and dialogue are actually from the PSP version found within Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles instead of there being any option to choose from the voice-overs and dialogue from the PS1 or PSP version. Meanwhile, sound effects include performing melee attacks on enemies, enemies attacking your character, jumping and ambience; complimented by climactic instrumental music in various genres such as classical, rock, jazz and more with over 30 songs alone on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s soundtrack including arrangements of music from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. The DualShock 4 speaker produces sound effects when collecting items or performing certain fighting moves on enemies.
Castlevania Requiem has a single trophy list containing trophies for both Castlevania games including 44 trophies with 28 bronze trophies, 12 silver trophies, 3 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Castlevania Requiem is one of the tougher platinum trophy lists as almost every trophy is quite hard such as the Vampire Killer bronze trophy for completing any stage with a no damage bonus in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood; The Full Belmonty gold trophy for completing 100% of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood; the Vampire’s Greatest Hits silver trophy for obtaining all of the transformation relics and associated upgrades in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night; and the Map Legend gold trophy for obtaining 200.6% map completion in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 50 to 75 hours to platinum the trophy list.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night do not have any difficulty levels, although they are both very hard due to the quantity of enemies that the player has to defeat and how a fair few enemies can regularly be in close proximity to your character, alongside the fact that your character is not at his best or most powerful at the beginning of both games.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night does not have any multiplayer or online functionality; despite the Xbox Live Arcade port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night actually featuring online leaderboards throughout various areas of the castle. It would have been nice to see some local multiplayer functionality introduced into both games as Castlevania: Harmony of Despair showcased how local co-operative multiplayer could be implemented into more Castlevania games, while local competitive multiplayer would be possible by the second player controlling the enemies to prevent the progression of the hero during exploration of Dracula’s castle.
Castlevania Requiem’s replayability originates from the inclusion of two classic retro Castlevania games including Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night with enhanced emulation options and some unlockables such as Maria Renard as a playable character and multiple endings depending on the quantity of exploration the player attempts that will collectively bring Castlevania fans back for more classic Castlevania gameplay for many hours. However, the 2.5D remake of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood from Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles collection on PSP is not featured, while the online leaderboards from the Xbox Live Arcade version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are also not included that would have increased the quantity of replay value a bit further, but does not particularly detract from what Castlevania fans will want from the collection, although extras such as unlockable concept artwork and interviews with the original creators, development talent, voice-over artists and music composers would have elevated the quality and been more of interest for long time Castlevania fans.
• Title: Castlevania Requiem
• Developer: Konami
• Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
• System: PS4
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1
• Hard Drive Space Required: 1.33GB