> Castlevania: Bloodlines is basically a typical side scrolling
platform game but with a dark theme. Like in previous Castlevania
games the main characters hunt down vampires and the undead that follow
them. The game has two selectable characters. You can play the role of
either John Morris, who uses a whip, or Eric Lecarde who uses a spear.
John and Eric are two vampire hunters and close friends who embark on a
mission to stop Dracula from being resurrected. Bloodlines
is meant to be a side story to the more traditional Castlevania
games and was made exclusively for the Genesis. Obviously
this was a console that was too popular to ignore.
> Old games don't usually grab my attention unless they still have something
to offer modern gamers. I am of the opinion that many old games can still
be a great escape from it all because the gameplay doesn't necessarily
age, the art is timeless, and the themes are still relevant. Bloodlines
falls into this category in my opinion. If decade or more old MMORPGs are
still being played by millions of people then it should tell you something.
> There's actually far more lore to this series than meets the eye if you
are interested. So much so that it can become a hobby unto itself. Vampires
are people who feed on human blood in order to survive. They are such a
popular and pervasive myth that it forces you to wonder if there is any
truth to it. Castlevania is another great series that has
a cult following. If you delve more into this series you will quickly see
that it has a following for a reason.
> Castlevania: Bloodlines is called Vampire Killer
in Japan. A part of me actually prefers the Japanese name but the name
evokes images of the medieval era with knights and castles and evil that
never sleeps. The game doesn't revolve around a castle this time however,
as your hunt takes you to the ends of the Earth. Strangely enough, Eric
Lecarde is more feminine in the Japanese version. The PAL version, Castlevania:
The New Generation, also had some of the gorier elements cut. Thankfully
we can forget that version exists.
> Imagine vampires were real, and imagine you weren't ready to know the
truth. If vampires were all around us, could you ever let your guard down
again? If you are still prepared to walk down this path then heed my warning:
greater minds than yours have lost their minds when they learned the truth.
Suffice it to say, some things are best left buried.
> Graphically the game lacks color, but it's fast and fluid, and the art
style makes up for it. The sprites are small compared to many other Genesis
platformers (such as Sonic 3 for example), but there are
tons of enemies and objects on screen at the same time so I can't complain.
The lack of color would be inconsequential to modern gamers anyway because
the game is ancient by today's standards.
> Artistically this is one of the best games I have seen on the Genesis.
You fight what seems like every type of undead enemy there is from zombies
to skeletons raised from the dead to giant armored knights. The first sub
boss is a giant demonic hound who breathes fire. My favorite boss is the
huge towering undead knight who wields a giant ball and chain, but you
also fight Dracula himself who turns into an undead winged demon. These
enemies do the series proud.
> The second level has water that reflects the world above while moving
up and down as if the tides are coming in and going out. Someone clearly
knew how to build on the Genesis's strengths. The sun also
follows the player directly overhead which I found both novel and fitting.
The reason I find it fitting is because the sun has been used as a symbol
for certain ideologies that will never be allowed to win. I would describe
those ideologies as vampiric, which is ironic because vampires are afraid
of The Light. We will have to bring The Light to the darkness so there's
nowhere left for vampires to hide. Then we will end them all and bury their
vampiric sun forever.
> Like the graphics, the controls are fluid. It's important to note that
the two main characters have different strengths and weaknesses. John uses
a whip and can launch stronger more prolonged attacks with it if you hold
down the attack button, but he is limited to horizontal attacks with his
whip. Where he can aim his weapon is a bit limited in scope but he compensates
with sheer strength. He can also use his whip to strike down underneath
him when jumping, or similarly he can use his whip to swing across ceilings
above him. Both characters can jump attack as well as upgrade their weapons.
> I'd much rather wield a sword that cuts through the fabric of space and
time, but this will have to do for now. The whip John uses is known as
"Vampire Killer" and is an inseparable part of the Castlevania
series. It's a powerful weapon against vampires and their kin which makes
short work of enemies when in the right hands. In Bloodlines
the whip burns with blue fire when you imbue it with more power. John's
attacks need good timing because they can seem slow, but no one wants to
be on the receiving end of that kind of power. Such weapons are rare which
is why they are closely guarded and only given to vampire hunters who have
proven themselves to be trustworthy. Killing vampires is a tradition that
must be maintained, lest the darkness devours us all.
> Eric uses a spear that has a longer range than John's whip. Eric can
also attack in diagonal directions. This makes him far more flexible when
facing enemies that attack from above or when facing enemies that attempt
to surround him. Eric's spear burns with magical green fire when it's at
full power. The art direction in this game is awesome.
> I must say, John and Eric make a great team. They compensate for each
other's weaknesses. One day they will pay a visit to Silent Hill
in an APC tank and cut out the cancer before it can spread any further.
Into the darkness we descend. A world that forever scarred us both. Don't
die on me my closest friend.
> You can find special weapons (including a boomerang, axe and Holy Water)
that give you more range which are powered by gems you can find everywhere
(these weapons can be used vertically as well). Use these weapons wisely.
When you upgrade your weapon to full power, you will lose it if you lose
full health, so the game really rewards player skill here.
> The music is pacey. The soundtrack uses fast beats and synthesized keyboard
notes. I'm not sure what exactly the music is trying to capture. Nothing
really stands out to me other than the fact that it's fast paced most of
the time (which is fitting). Church organs would evoke thoughts of the
dead, for example. The boss music hastens the pace so you always know who
you are fighting. The sound effects are fitting but weak. Overall this
isn't the game's strongest area but it's adequate for the task of bringing
the game to life. Notice the deliberate irony there.
> Non-stop action awaits (pause is actually useful here). Enemies can become
overwhelming if you are not fast enough, so you can't let your guard down.
Boss attacks come from many different directions as well so you need to
be quick on your feet. There's also (and we always need more of this) platform
jumping. This is one thing gamers should practice more until it becomes
second nature because it tests your reflexes and sense of distance. The
game itself isn't that long but it can be quite difficult which is what
one would expect from this series. If you look up the true definition of
fun you will see yourself staring back at you. *You* decide what you want
from life. If the gameplay and theme interest you then it might be worth
> Personally I would play this game just for the bosses. They are evil
and imposing works of art. The bosses are very memorable and challenging
enough to test your skills. It all adds up to create a great action game.
This game actually makes me wish I could have played Symphony of
the Night on my Saturn (*sigh*).
> Castlevania: Bloodlines is another timeless classic that's
worth playing if you can enjoy games without modern graphics. This game
still has a lot to offer. For some reason the vampire theme always seems
to be popular. I think it's a case of art imitating life, and in this case,
art adding new dimensions to itself. The things we do to save the world.
Let's kill some vampires!
|Overall: 9.2 | Graphics:
9.4 | Control: 9.0 | Sound: 8.5 | Fun: 10
| Box Art
| Box Art
| Box Art
| Sega Magazine #002 February, 1994 - Ad
| GamePro Magazine #057 April, 1994 - Ad