When you hear the name Konami you will automatically think one of six different things; Metal Gear, 90’s Arcade Beat ‘Em Ups, Silent Hill, Contra, Castlevania or Sucks. Regardless of which camp you fall into you aren’t wrong. There was a time when Konami could do no wrong, their games were well polished, creative, at times boundary pushing and just all together a blast to play. I can still remember when my friend’s Dad bought Silent Hill and thought it’d be hilarious to let us play it first while he drank and the first thing that popped up was a message not to play if we were pregnant or had a heart condition. In that moment we knew shit was about to get real.
Now in 2018 those days are long and Konami can’t even put out their biggest franchises without screwing them up. The company was now just after a quick buck forgetting the joy it brought gamers over the last couple of decades in favor of asset flips, microtransactions and pachinko machines. Though when I heard that Castlevania would be getting a new bundle for the PS4 in October I was hopeful, maybe just maybe they had heard the cries of gamers everywhere and were getting back on track. So I picked up Castlevania: Requiem with excitement ready to lay the smackdown on Dracula’s legion of undead.
Castlevania: Requiem features two games, Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. Now admittedly I have a soft spot for both Castlevania and Metriodvania games so saying no this collection probably wasn’t going to happen. If you have never played a Castlevania game before the basic concept is grab your weapon (classically a whip) and nae nae all over Dracula’s Castle until he is defeated, it’s a simple concept yet has a tonne of lore behind it. Check out Netflix’s animated series if you are curious on that part.
Rondo of Blood was originally released in 1993 for the PC Engine in Japan not receiving a release outside of it until 2007, excluding the SNES Dracula X which is a rather different game. Symphony of the Night was released 4 years later in 1997 for the Playstation and pretty much proceeded to break everyone’s mind with what they managed to pull of and how they did it. Both titles have been released multiple times in multiple formats over the years but Requiem boasted it being an all new experience. This new experience is what I will really focus on for the review, both games still play fantastically, look amazeballs and have soundtracks that out do Bane’s theme in The Dark Knight Rises in getting you pumped for action.
Castlevania: Requiem, a brand new experience for a new audience… Well kind of anyway. Both versions of the game are simply upscaled ports from the PSP title Castlevania: Dracula Chronicles X which has the Dracula X game previously mentioned as it’s main title leaving Rondo and Symphony as unlockables. The biggest downside to this is that Chronicles X also featured a 2.5D remake of Rondo which was utterly brilliant and isn’t used. Requiem merely takes the two from there and gives them 4k and trophy support, allowing them to be played on a bigger screen in a higher quality. While the games are upscaled to 1080p and 4k they still bare a ratio of around 320x240. Filling in the gaps of the screen are some freshly made borders which are impressively bland.
The biggest point of contention is the voice acting in Symphony of the Night, originally it was hammy, cheesy engrish that possessed a certain charm that was endearing for a good 15 years until the change came for the PSP version of the game. In its wake we are left with serviceable voice over work that does the job but lacks that charm the original had. Over all it isn’t going to kill any enjoyment one may get from the game it is just one of those things purists will notice and find irksome.
What we are left with is an average collection of two very brilliant games. Is it worth the $30 odd dollars? In all honesty I am hesitant to say to tell anyone to go for it as I think any fan or just anyone curious on checking out a piece of gaming history has better options. If you own a PSP then Dracula Chronicles X is far and away your best option with many considering it the best collection/game in the franchise. On the other hand if you are looking to play it on something a little bit newer then you can find Symphony of the Night on PS3 and 360 at a much better price though it is the first version released on Playstation so it doesn’t contain the same polish.
Zombie reviewed a retail copy of Castlevania: Requiem.