TURN TO CHANNEL 3: New blood (and console) makes ‘Castlevania: Bloodlines’ worth hunting down
As a devoted Nintendo consumer through most of my youth (with the exception of the Nintendo 64 (which caused me to jump ship to the Sony PlayStation for several years), I was always puzzled to see franchises that were firmly established on Nintendo consoles take a dip in the Sega waters. They normally seemed so incredibly out of place to me, but there is one franchise that I have to say is nearly immune to most console jumps. Today, we are covering its entry into the Sega Genesis world after fans of the console were seemingly waiting forever for their “Castlevania” fix.
“Castlevania: Bloodlines” (Sega Genesis)
One of my main criticisms of the Sega Genesis as a whole is that 99.9 percent of the time, at least to my ears, the audio sounds like it is coming from a tin can. It just doesn’t sound as clear and crisp to me. However, I also feel that, a lot of the time, Genesis audio pays a bit more attention to the little details of a soundtrack, and this is where that .1 percent comes in with “Bloodlines.”
This soundtrack both creates new, lasting songs while paying homage to other “Castlevania” franchise favorites; hell, even the “Theme of Simon” from “Super Castlevania IV” is on here! I will say, from top to bottom, along with some stellar sound effects, this may be one of if not the most complete Castlevania soundtrack I have ever heard. Castlevania games are all about atmosphere, and “Bloodlines” has a soundtrack that sets the stage.
While not super clear and crisp in some spots, for a Genesis game in 1994, with things like reflections off water, bigger scale enemies, and even larger, more detailed bosses, there’s not much to find fault with. I do feel that, with everything going on in the level as well as the great designs in the foreground, a lot of the backgrounds are a little boring by comparison. Your playable characters look great, albeit a little faceless and, in a way, “Bloodlines” feels like a remastered look at the prior “Castlevania” games.
“Castlevania: Bloodlines” has some great pacing, with levels that are broken up well with mini boss and final boss fights, and the addition of two different playable characters with the traditional whip or a trident is a pretty cool option for gamers.
While staircases still feel troublesome in the game, I found that my only true gripe was that some bosses (or mini bosses) were far too easy and I, like many who have followed the “Castlevania” games, was expecting a stiffer challenge in those moments. The game is a great length, has a nice backstory, and the controls are pretty responsive, minus some tricky spots on the stairs.
“Bloodlines” may be the closest thing to a pure action platformer you can get on the Genesis, and that’s saying something with a deep roster of them. “Castlevania,” as documented, has undergone various changes to the established formula over the years, with varying results, but “Castlevania: Bloodlines” doesn’t stray too far from that while establishing new features like power-ups and a second character to choose from in completing your quest which, in turn, adds to the replay value of the game.
I have some customers at my shop who swear that this is the definitive “Castlevania” game, the very best in the entire franchise and, while that is debatable, what isn’t is that “Bloodlines” could very well be the turning point in the franchise, the moment that would lead to more new and exciting ventures within the franchise, and that’s a pretty great thing.
I hope you enjoyed this review. We will be finishing up the month with another game that is definitely held in high regard with “Castlevania” fans – “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night!”
Until then, stay warm, curl up to a nice classic game, and game on!