Castlevania Requiem is a perfect package for fans of the series to play through two of the old school games that assisted in making the franchise so iconic. Rondo of the Blood and Symphony of the Night are included in Castlevania Requiem but do these two games stand up to the test of time?
Rondo of the Blood is the earlier title of the two included in Requiem, with Symphony of the Night being its direct sequel. As such, players would be advised to play through the former in order to appreciate the latter’s vast difference in gameplay. Rondo of the Blood is also a title that many gamers would have missed out in the golden age of NES games since it remained a Japan only exclusive for well over a decade.
In Rondo of the Blood, players will play as Richter Belmont, vampire hunter extraordinaire as he travels to Dracula’s castle to face off against the dark lord himself. Rondo of the Blood features 8 main stages with 4 hidden stages that require quite a bit of effort to unlock. Each stage can take anything from 10 to 20 minutes to defeat but given the intense difficulty of the game, expect to spend hours on end trying to get through these levels. If gaming hasn’t taught you patience over the years, Castlevania Rondo of the Blood certainly will. Those that get easily frustrated or annoyed best avoid this game because it’s extremely challenging and not for the faint of heart.
The controls are fairly simple but given the old-school mechanics, players can only attack directly in front of themselves using Richter’s whip. You are able to crouch and attack as well as jump and attack but there aren’t diagonal attacks here unless you make use of a special weapon which can do such. The enemies in Rondo of the Blood are varied and the sprites are rather crisp. Konami have done a great job in bringing such an old game back to life for the modern era.
The soundtrack used in Rondo of the Blood is also exceptionally good with background music tracks being extremely memorable. Sound effects are also on point and overall Rondo of the Blood is definitely worthy of its claim to fame as an iconic Castlevania game. Additionally, players will be able to play as Maria Renard should they be able to rescue her early on in the game from the secret dungeon room she’s trapped in.
Symphony of the Night is likely the true shining star of the Castlevania Requiem package though since Western gamers are far more familiar with this game. Dracula’s son Alucard awakens from his slumber and will have to traverse the dark lord’s castle in search of Richter Belmont, who has since gone missing on his quest to defeat Dracula. Players will have to explore every inch of the castle to unearth the mystery contained within and save Richter.
Symphony of the Night is slightly less forgiving than Rondo of the Blood since a lot of improvements to the core game mechanics have been made. Players will have access to a range of RPG-esque elements such as being able to level up, equip various weapons, etc. The quality of life improvements Symphony of the Night brought to the table effectively cemented itself into gaming history and fans of this retro title will definitely feel right at home playing it in Castlevania Requiem.
Konami have added the ability to play the games in full-screen, with scanlines or with interlacing and have thankfully included a quicksave option in Rondo of the Blood which lets you drop right back into the action without starting a level over. Symphony of the Night might steal the show once you start playing it though, so gamers are advised to complete Rondo of the Blood before moving onto its successor.
Both games are tough as nails with Rondo of the Blood being extremely challenging and Symphony of the Night being a masterpiece of 2D side scrolling adventuring. Konami could have included a range of optional extras to the Requiem package such as concept artwork or some developer diaries or commentary but overall, given the price point and what you’re getting, PS4 gamers should be pleased with the title. Two of the greatest 2D side scrolling adventures have been brought back for the modern era and speed-runners, retro game fans and those that love challenges will find themselves enjoying both these games for hours on end.