Alucard is Dracula backwards.
Retrospective collections are all the rage right now, aren’t they? Only this year, Capcom have treated us to morsels featuring Mega Man, Street Fighter and their classic Beat Em Up’s, Sega are always coming up with some sort of collection and recently even SNK have gotten in on the action. These collections tend to run the gamut of being either stuffed full of games, jam packed with additional content (production art, trailers, sketches and the like) or a bit of both, and the percieved value of these collections often depends on your affinity for the games in question. It’s into this that Konami have dolloped PS4 exclusive, Castlevania Requiem, a double game collection featuring the classic ‘Vania titles Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night.
Both of these games are undeniable classics and represent two different periods in the life of the series. Rondo is a traditional Castlevania sidescroller, split into levels with linear progression and presented here in its Turbografx CD version, full of high res graphics, digitised audio and high quality music. It’s a gorgeous game to look at with chunky pixel graphics and all number of paralax effects which still impress today, and the controls are tight if slightly dated leading to a great overall experience.
Symphony should need no introduction – arguably the game that coined the “Metroidvania” term, Symphony follows up the story from Rondo of Blood but ditches the linear progression in favour of a more free flowing open world akin to Nintendo’s adventures of Samus Aran. Taking on the role of Alucard, players have to explore a vast castle, gathering loot and abilities through an RPG lite mechanic. It still holds up fantastically here with crisp visuals (being a PS1 game it supplemented 2D graphics with the odd 3D effect, here upressed to 1080p) and well worth a play.
So, two classic games in one pack… it’s a shame that the whole thing feels somewhat underwhelming then! Okay, so the collection is releasing at a budget price, but it’s hard to not feel like there could have been a bit more effort put in. Where’s the production art? The developer notes? The gallery of promotional material? If you want the games on your PS4 then, yeah, this is the collection for you, but for those who have played Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night to death, there’s no real incentive to double or perhaps even triple dip here. Even the overall package is a little lackluster, with boring menus and a handfull of screen filter options available.
In the end, this is the only way to get these versions of the game on PS4. Symphony is available on XBox 360 back compatibility for XBox One, Rondo of Blood can be played on Vita as an unlockable in its PSP remake, Dracula X Chronicles, a version that came with fully voiced cutscenes and would have made an interesting addition to this collection. As it is, Castlevania Requiem feels like a missed opportunity to celebrate these titles in style.